Elucidating the Impacts of Biochar Applications on Nitrogen Cycling Microbial Communities

N. Hagemann, J. Harter, S. Behrens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

42 Scopus citations


Biochar has been shown to improve soil function through increased cation and anion exchange capacity, soil water retention, increased soil buffer capacity, and enhanced microbial growth. Proposed mechanisms by which biochar will increase microbial activity include provision of labile carbon, increased nutrient retention, facilitated electron transfer (shuttling) to microorganisms, and increased microbial habitat space given the high specific surface area and micropore volume of biochar. Furthermore, some studies have shown that it reduces N2O emissions during denitrification in soils. Here we discuss the impact of biochar amendment on soil microbial nitrogen cycling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiochar Application
Subtitle of host publicationEssential Soil Microbial Ecology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages36
ISBN (Electronic)9780128034361
ISBN (Print)9780128034330
StatePublished - May 25 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Ammonification
  • Denitrification
  • Immobilization
  • Leaching
  • Mineralization
  • Nitrification
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Nitrous oxide
  • Redox cycling
  • Water-filled pore space


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