Biochar Application

Biochar Application

Essential Soil Microbial Ecology

1st Edition - May 7, 2016

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  • Authors: Theresia Ralebitso-Senior, Caroline Orr
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128034330
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128034361

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Biochar Application: Essential Soil Microbial Ecology outlines the cutting-edge research on the interactions of complex microbial populations and their functional, structural, and compositional dynamics, as well as the microbial ecology of biochar application to soil, the use of different phyto-chemical analyses, possibilities for future research, and recommendations for climate change policy. Biochar, or charcoal produced from plant matter and applied to soil, has become increasingly recognized as having the potential to address multiple contemporary concerns, such as agricultural productivity and contaminated ecosystem amelioration, primarily by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and improving soil functions. Biochar Application is the first reference to offer a complete assessment of the various impacts of biochar on soil and ecosystems, and includes chapters analyzing all aspects of biochar technology and application to soil, from ecogenomic analyses and application ratios to nutrient cycling and next generation sequencing. Written by a team of international authors with interdisciplinary knowledge of biochar, this reference will provide a platform where collaborating teams can find a common resource to establish outcomes and identify future research needs throughout the world.

Key Features

  • Includes multiple tables and figures per chapter to aid in analysis and understanding
  • Includes a comprehensive table of the methods used within the contents, ecosystems, contaminants, future research, and application opportunities explored in the book
  • Includes knowledge gaps and directions of future research to stimulate further discussion in the field and in climate change policy
  • Outlines the latest research on the interactions of complex microbial populations and their functional, structural, and compositional dynamics
  • Offers an assessment of the impacts of biochar on soil and ecosystems


Microbial ecologists, soil scientists, biotechnology practitioners and researchers, upper-level undergraduate and graduate students in soil science

Table of Contents

    • Dedication
    • Foreword
    • Acknowledgments
    • Chapter 1. Microbial Ecology Analysis of Biochar-Augmented Soils: Setting the Scene
      • Overview
      • Biochar
      • Biochar and Its Applications
      • Biochar as Habitat for Soil Organisms
      • Soil Biota Response to Biochar
      • Policy Guidelines and Requirements for Biochar Application
      • Summary
    • Chapter 2. Feedstock and Production Parameters: Effects on Biochar Properties and Microbial Communities
      • Biochar Characteristics and Key Determining Parameters
      • Influence of Biochar on Microbial Communities
      • Conclusions and Outlook
    • Chapter 3. Biochar Effects on Ecosystems: Insights From Lipid-Based Analysis
      • Background
      • Extracting Lipids and Production of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters
      • Making Sense of PLFA: Analytical Approach and Interpretation of PLFA Data
      • Compositional and Structural Insights From PLFA
      • Biochar as Habitat
      • Linking Who to What: Functional Insights From PLFA
      • Misuse of PLFA
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 4. DGGE-Profiling of Culturable Biochar-Enriched Microbial Communities
      • Introduction
      • The Case Study
      • Chapter Conclusions and Future Recommendations
    • Chapter 5. Next-Generation Sequencing to Elucidate Biochar-Effected Microbial Community Dynamics
      • Introduction
      • Anthropogenic Biochar
      • Biochar and Soil Properties
      • The Microbial Diversity in Biochar
      • Biochar and the Amazonian Dark Earth: A Case Study
      • Future Research
    • Chapter 6. Examining Biochar Impacts on Soil Abiotic and Biotic Processes and Exploring the Potential for Pyrosequencing Analysis
      • Introduction
      • Abiotic Processes
      • Biotic Processes
      • Metagenomic Sequencing Technologies
      • Conclusions
    • Chapter 7. Elucidating the Impacts of Biochar Applications on Nitrogen Cycling Microbial Communities
      • Introduction
      • The Microbial Nitrogen Cycle
      • Biochar’s Physicochemical Properties Affecting Soil Microbial Nitrogen Transformations
      • Biochar Effects on Soil Microbial Nitrogen Cycling
      • Knowledge Gaps and Future Research
      • Global Impact of Biochar on Soil Nitrogen Cycling
    • Chapter 8. Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere and Its Response to Biochar Augmentation
      • Introduction
      • An Illustrative Study
      • Conclusion
    • Chapter 9. Potential Application of Biochar for Bioremediation of Contaminated Systems
      • Introduction
      • Environmental Application of Biochar in Heavy Metal-Contaminated Systems
      • Environmental Application of Biochar in Systems Impacted by Organic Pollutants
      • Environmental Application of Biochar to Groundwater Systems
      • Recommendations for Further Research
    • Chapter 10. Interactions of Biochar and Biological Degradation of Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Contaminated Soil
      • Introduction
      • PAH Degradation
      • Biochar and Atrazine Interactions
      • Conclusions, Outlook, and Future Research Needs
    • Chapter 11. A Critical Analysis of Meso- and Macrofauna Effects Following Biochar Supplementation
      • Role of Fauna in Soil Ecosystem Structure and Function
      • Fauna Effects on Biochar: Bioturbation and Persistence
      • Biochar Effects on Soil Fauna
      • Interactions Between Biochar and Fauna
    • Chapter 12. Summation of the Microbial Ecology of Biochar Application
      • Book Rationale
      • Methodological State of the Art
      • Book/Knowledge Paucities and Recommendations for Future Work
      • Summary
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 344
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Elsevier 2016
  • Published: May 7, 2016
  • Imprint: Elsevier
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780128034330
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128034361

About the Authors

Theresia Ralebitso-Senior

T. Komang Ralebitso-Senior is a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science in the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. She has studied at the City University of New York, the University of Natal (South Africa), and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She held post-doctoral positions at the BioMEMS Laboratory of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Oxford. Komang is a STEM Ambassador and member of the Society for Applied Microbiology and the International Society for Microbial Ecology.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK.

Caroline Orr

Caroline H. Orr is Senior Lecturer in Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Teesside University, UK. She received the Avecia Prize for Biotechnology while studying at Northumbria University, where she received her PhD in Molecular Biology. She held postdoctoral positions at Northumbria and Newcastle Universities. Alongside teaching Caroline is active in research and collaborates with Northumbria and Newcastle University as well as local industrial partners. Caroline has published in peer reviewed journals of international quality and is a member of the Society for General Microbiology.

Affiliations and Expertise

Senior Lecturer, Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Teesside University, UK

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