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Influence of bioenergy crop Jatropha curcas amendment on soil biogeochemistry in a tropical vertisol


  • Bharati Kollah
  • Garima Dubey
  • Peter Dunfield
  • Santosh Mohanty



Experiments were carried out to determine how the incorporation of biomass from the bioenergy crop Jatropha curcas into a tropical vertisol affects the biogeochemical processes important for greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes, specifically methane (CH 4 ) production, carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) production, and CH 4 consumption. Leaf biomass of J. curcas was incorporated at 0.1, 0.5, and 1 % (w/w) into soil maintained under 60 % of moisture-holding capacity (MHC). Biomass addition significantly stimulated potential CH 4 and CO 2 production while inhibiting potential CH 4 consumption. When 1 % of J. curcas biomass was added to soil, potential CH 4 production increased nearly 50-fold over 60 days, from 2.45 μg CH 4 g −1 soil day −1 in unamended soil to 115 μg g −1 day −1 in soil containing leaf biomass. Soil CO 2 production also doubled when the J. curcas biomass was added. The potential CH 4 consumption rate of soil was inhibited almost completely by 1 % of added biomass. The culturable methanotroph population was positively correlated with the CH 4 consumption rate (r = 0.961, p > 0.0001) and was inhibited 20-fold by 1 % of biomass addition. In contrast, the total population of aerobic heterotrophs culturable on a complex medium increased from 11 to 59 × 10 6 of colony-forming units (CFU) g −1 of soil after biomass addition. Significant positive correlation was observed between the total heterotroph population and both CH 4 production (r = 0.861, p = 0.0003) and CO 2 production (r = 0.863, p = 0.0002). Our study shows that biomass from the bioenergy crop J. curcas can affect soil biogeochemical processes that control GHG emissions. We propose that a high incorporation of J. curcas biomass could dramatically change the CH 4 flux in tropical soil by simultaneously increasing CH 4 production and decreasing CH 4 consumption, and we therefore recommend that biomass incorporation to soil be minimized (>0.1 %) as a strategy to mitigate GHG emission. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Bharati Kollah & Garima Dubey & Peter Dunfield & Santosh Mohanty, 2015. "Influence of bioenergy crop Jatropha curcas amendment on soil biogeochemistry in a tropical vertisol," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(8), pages 1459-1470, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:masfgc:v:20:y:2015:i:8:p:1459-1470
    DOI: 10.1007/s11027-014-9555-6

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