Carbon Coating gives Biochar its Garden-Greening Power

Now, an international team of researchers, with key contributions by Colorado State University experts, has illuminated unprecedented detail and mechanistic understanding of biochar’s seemingly miraculous properties. The Nature Communications study, led by Germany’s University of Tuebingen and published Oct. 20, demonstrated how composting of biochar creates a very thin organic coating that significantly improves the biochar’s fertilizing capabilities. A combination of advanced analytical techniques confirmed that the coating strengthens the biochar’s interactions with water and its ability to store soil nitrates and other nutrients.

This improved understanding of biochar’s properties could trigger more widespread commercialization of biochar fertilizers. Such a change could reduce global dependence on inorganic nitrogen fertilizers that have served as modern food-production workhorses for more than a century.

Illustration Photo: Biochar (credits: Simon Dooley / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0))

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Ag Sustainability And Innovation
Ag Sustainability And Innovation