NZ links in China research

Insight into the effects of biochar on manure composting: Evidence supporting the relationship between N2O emission and denitrifying community(Article)

  • aInstitute of Environmental Science and Technology, Zhejiang University, 866 Yuhangtang Road, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • bCallaghan Innovation Research Ltd, University of Canterbury, Private Bag 4800, Christchurch, 8140, New Zealand
  • cSchool of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang A and F University, Lin’an, Hangzhou 311300, China


Although nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from composting contribute to the accelerated greenhouse effect, it is difficult to implement practical methods to mitigate these emissions. In this study, the effects of biochar amendment during pig manure composting were investigated to evaluate the inter-relationships between N2O emission and the abundance of denitrifying bacteria. Analytical results from two pilot composting treatments with (PWSB, pig manure + wood chips + sawdust + biochar) or without (PWS, pig manure + wood chips + sawdust) biochar (3% w/w) demonstrated that biochar amendment not only lowered NO2 -N concentrations but also lowered the total N2O emissions from pig manure composting, especially during the later stages. Quantification of functional genes involved in denitrification and Spearman rank correlations matrix revealed that the N2O emission rates correlated with the abundance of nosZ, nirK, and nirS genes. Biochar-amended pig manure had a higher pH and a lower moisture content. Biochar amendment altered the abundance of denitrifying bacteria significantly; less N2O-producing and more N2O-consuming bacteria were present in the PWSB, and this significantly lowered N2O emissions in the maturation phase. Together, the results demonstrate that biochar amendment could be a novel greenhouse gas mitigation strategy during pig manure composting.

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