Plant uptake of nitrogen adsorbed to biochars made from dairy manure

Leilah Krounbi, Akio Enders, John Gaunt, Margaret Ball, Johannes Lehmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The conversion of dairy waste with high moisture contents to dry fertilizers may reduce environmental degradation while lowering crop production costs. We converted the solid portion of screw-pressed dairy manure into a sorbent for volatile ammonia (NH3) in the liquid fraction using pyrolysis and pre-treatment with carbon dioxide (CO2). The extractable N in manure biochar exposed to NH3 following CO2 pre-treatment reached 3.36 g N kg−1, 1260-fold greater extractable N than in untreated manure biochar. Ammonia exposure was 142-times more effective in increasing extractable N than immersing manure biochar in the liquid fraction containing dissolved ammonium. Radish and tomato grown in horticultural media with manure biochar treated with CO2 + NH3 promoted up to 35% greater plant growth (dry weight) and 36–83% greater N uptake compared to manure biochar alone. Uptake of N was similar between plants grown with wood biochar exposed to CO2 + NH3, compared to N-equivalent treatments. The available N in dairy waste in New York (NY) state, if pyrolyzed and treated with NH3 + CO2, is equivalent to 11,732–42,232 Mg N year−1, valued at 6–21.5 million USD year−1. Separated dairy manure treated with CO2 + NH3 can offset 23–82% of N fertilizer needs of NY State, while stabilizing both the solid and liquid fraction of manure for reduced environmental pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15001
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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