Effects of biochar and zeolite on the growth of maize in clay soil

Siti Wardah Zaidun, (2016) Effects of biochar and zeolite on the growth of maize in clay soil. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

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Abstract

Tropical soil is usually characterised as acidic, strongly weathered and low in nutrient reserves. Biochar and zeolite are soil amendments that could be used to maintain soil fertility. The objectives of this research were to evaluate the effects of EFB-POME biochar and clinoptilolite zeolite on soil nitrogen retention, soil chemical properties and maize growth and yield in a tropical soil. The study was divided into three experiments namely; laboratory leaching experiment, preliminary pot experiment and field trial. The soil used was clay loam Typic Paleudults. Thai Super Sweet maize was used as test crop in the preliminary pot and field trial. A leaching experiment was conducted using a factorial completely randomised design (CRD) experiment with three factors; biochar (0,0.05, and 0.1%) zeolite (0, 0.05, and 0.1%) and nitrogen (0.05, and 0.1%), percentage based on weight of soil. Biochar decreased NH4+ concentration in the leachates by 50% but NO₅⁻ concentration was increased. It was concluded that biochar had the ability to retain NH4+ but inherent NO₅⁻ was released from the biochar, thus concealing any N03- release or retention effects of the biochar. A preliminary pot experiment was also conducted using a factorial CRD experiment with three factors; biochar; 0, 10 and 20 t ha⁻¹, zeolite; 0, 2.5 and 5 t ha⁻¹, nitrogen; 60 and 120 kg ha-1• Generally, the biochar and zeolite amendments resulted in better soil properties and plant growth compared to unamended soil. However, the combination treatment of 5 t ha-1 zeolite and 120 kg ha-1 N resulted in negative effects on the maize plant thus this combination treatment was removed during the field trial. A field trial was conducted using randomised complete block design (RCBD) experiment with three factors namely, blochar; 0, 10 and 20 t ha⁻¹, zeolite; 0, 1.25 and 2.5 t ha⁻¹and nitrogen; 60 and 120 kg ha⁻¹. The field trial was carried out for two cropping cycles. For the first crop, 20 t ha⁻¹biochar applied at higher rates of N resulted in highest soil total N (0.78%) and highest maize grain yield (3.03 t ha-1). Biochar main treatments Significantly increased soil NH4 + by 49% and leaf N by 20% (p<0.05). For the second crop, only biochar main treatments resulted In significant increase (p<0.05) in soil total N (by 9%), soil NH4+ (by 33%), leaf N (by 13%) and maize grain yield (by 55%) compared to untreated soil. Higher soil CEC, soil available P, K and Mg, leaf nutrient concentration (P, K and Mg), plant height and dry matter were also observed in biochar main treatments for both crops. It was established that biochar is able to improve soil N retention, increase soil chemical properties and maize yield in a tropical clay soil. As the effects of zeolite were not so pronounced in a more natural setting (during the field trial), it was also concluded that EFB-POME biochar was more suitable to be used as soil amendment in tropical soil (clay loam Typic Paleudults) compared to clinoptilolite zeolite.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords: EFB-POME biochar, clinoptilolite zeolite, soil nitrogen, chemical properties, maize growth, yield, tropical soil
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: FACULTY > Faculty of Sustainable Agriculture
Depositing User: Munira
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2017 03:38
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2017 03:38
URI: http://eprints.ums.edu.my/id/eprint/10855

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