The potential value of biochar in the mitigation of gaseous emission of nitrogen

Ramya Thangarajan, Nanthi S. Bolan, Anitha Kunhikrishnan, Hasintha Wijesekara, Yilu Xu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Hocheol Song, Yong Sik Ok, Deyi Hou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Nitrogen (N) losses through gaseous emission of ammonia (NH3) and nitrous oxide (N2O) can contribute to both economic loss and environmental degradation. This study examined the effect of biochar and a chemical nitrification inhibitor, dicyandiamide (DCD), on N transformation and N losses via gaseous emission of NH3and N2O from agricultural soils treated with a range of organic and inorganic N sources. The addition of DCD reduced N2O emission from both organic and inorganic N sources treated soils by 75%, but increased ammonium (NH4+) concentration and subsequently induced high NH3emission from the soils. In contrast, the addition of biochar reduced both N2O and NH3emissions from organic and inorganic N sources treated soils by 23% and 43%, respectively. The effectiveness of biochar and DCD in reducing NH3volatilization and N2O emission depends on the nature of the N sources and their initial mineral N concentration. The study demonstrated that biochar can be used to mitigate N losses resulting from NH3volatilization and N2O emission.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-268
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018


  • Biochar
  • Gaseous emission
  • Nitrification inhibitors
  • Nitrogen transformations
  • Soil organic amendments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

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