Biochar offers several benefits as a soil amendment, including increased soil fertility, carbon sequestration, and water-holding capacity in nutrient-poor soils. In this study, soil samples with and without biochar additives were collected for two consecutive years from an experimental field plot to examine its effect on the microbial community structure and functions in sandy soils under peach-trees (Prunus persica).
The four treatments evaluated consisted of two different rates of biochar incorporated into the soil, one “dynamic” surface application of biochar, and a 0% biochar control. Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) analysis was used to assess the microbial community structure, and enzyme activities involved in C, N, P, and S nutrient cycling were used as a means of assessing soil functionality. Total FAME and bacterial indicators increased by 18% and 12%, respectively, in the 10% incorporated and 5% surface applied treatments. Biochar applications increased glucosaminidase and arylsulfatase activities, 5–30% and 12–46%, respectively.
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