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Characterization of bonechar as a soil amendment in tropical soils

Horticulture International Journal
Felipe M Pinheiro,1 Vimala D Nair2  

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Tropical soils usually lack phosphorus (P) availability due to the high P retention associated with these soils, limiting plant productivity. Brazil is the largest tropical country and worldwide exporter of beef, where overgrazing and frequent slash and burn practices resulted in large areas of degraded pastures. The scenario of land degradation and lack of P could potentially be solved using a byproduct of the livestock activities, bones, which have high P content. The present work intended to evaluate an industrial bonechar (the result of the process of pyrolysis in bones) in order to develop the potential of it as a soil amendment, in this way, the present study evaluated bonechar’s structure and chemical composition by using x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy and chemical analyses. The results showed: i) bonechar composed mainly of the mineral hydroxyapatite, described to bond with organic molecules of different sizes, which could increase the soil organic carbon stock, and ii) the plant available P in the bonechar being high, 2,800 mg kg-1. Although more studies are needed on bonechar, mainly on the field, the present work reinforces the production and agricultural use of it as a relevant soil amendment to recover degraded soils in tropical regions.


agronomy, agroecology, soil degradation, biochar, degraded pastures, preliminary experiences, fertilizer source, plant-soil system, chemical analyses, mitigation and adaptation, calcium phosphate, mineral hydroxyapatite, soil organic carbon stock