Nov. 10, 2011 - Scientists at the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) have been investigating the possible beneficial
properties of using biochar (the resulting biomass created from plant
material, wood and manure) in agriculture.
In an article published in the USDA's Agricultural Research, the findings show that adding biochar to agricultural soils could help increase nutrient content and water retention, as well as aid in the removal of environmental contaminants. Scientists also discovered that the biochar can “sequester” carbon underground,
where it slowly decomposes, and only minimally contributes to the release of carbon dioxide.
Given their results, the team believes that agricultural producers could
someday select feedstocks and pyrolysis processes to make "designer"
biochars with characteristics that target specific deficiencies in soil
Results from this study were published in Annals of Environmental Science and in the Journal of Environmental Quality.