Dairy Effluent-Saturated Biochar Alters Microbial Communities and Enhances Bermudagrass Growth and Soil Fertility Academic Article uri icon


  • Recently, biochar has been proposed for various agronomic applications including improved plant growth and soil fertility. In this study, the effects of dairy effluent-saturated (SBC) and unsaturated wood-derived biochar (UBC) on Bermudagrass (Cynodon spp.) growth, soil fertility and microbial communities were investigated in a greenhouse pot study. SBC and UBC were mixed with sandy loam soil at various loading rates (0, 1, 2, 4, and 8%) to grow Bermudagrass for 10 weeks. Soil physicochemical properties and plant growth measurements were taken, followed by 16S rRNA (V3-V4) amplicon sequencing of soil bacterial communities. Amendment of SBC to soil altered the soil physicochemical properties and increased the concentrations of N and P in the soil at 2 to 8% loading rates compared to UBC treated soil. The addition of SBC to soil also increased the overall plant biomass compared to UBC with more effects on aboveground biomass. Differential abundance analysis of taxa showed enrichment of Proteobacteria in UBC-amended soil, whereas Firmicutes and Nitrospirae were abundant in SBC-amended soil. Interestingly, enrichment of photosynthetic and N-fixing bacteria was observed in both SBC and UBC-amended soils after 10 weeks of treatments. However, oxidative phosphorylation and biotin metabolisms were found to be more abundant in SBC-amended soil compared to UBC-amended soil. Overall, our study suggested that amendment of SBC to soil resulted in enhanced soil nutrients, microbial capacity and Bermudagrass growth than that of UBC. Therefore, application of SBC to soil in field trials would be merited to identify sustainable and effective practices for enhancing plant growth, soil fertility and soil bacterial community.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Niraula, S., Choi, Y., Payne, K., Muir, J. P., Kan, E., & Chang, W.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Niraula, Sarbjeet||Choi, Yong-Keun||Payne, Kristen||Muir, James P||Kan, Eunsung||Chang, Woo-Suk

publication date

  • September 2021