Pyrolysis of attapulgite clay blended with yak dung enhances pasture growth and soil health: Characterization and initial field trials

Rafiq, Muhammad Khalid, Joseph, Stephen D., Li, Fei, Bai, Yanfu, Shang, Zhanhuan, Rawal, Aditya, Hook, James M., Munroe, Paul R., Donne, Scott, Taherymoosavi, Sara, Mitchell, David R. G., Pace, Ben, Mohammed, Mohanad, Horvat, Joseph, Marjo, Christopher E., Wagner, Avital, Wang, Yanlong, Ye, Jun and Long, Rui-Jun (2017) Pyrolysis of attapulgite clay blended with yak dung enhances pasture growth and soil health: Characterization and initial field trials. Science of the Total Environment, 607-608 184-194. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.186

Author Rafiq, Muhammad Khalid
Joseph, Stephen D.
Li, Fei
Bai, Yanfu
Shang, Zhanhuan
Rawal, Aditya
Hook, James M.
Munroe, Paul R.
Donne, Scott
Taherymoosavi, Sara
Mitchell, David R. G.
Pace, Ben
Mohammed, Mohanad
Horvat, Joseph
Marjo, Christopher E.
Wagner, Avital
Wang, Yanlong
Ye, Jun
Long, Rui-Jun
Title Pyrolysis of attapulgite clay blended with yak dung enhances pasture growth and soil health: Characterization and initial field trials
Journal name Science of the Total Environment   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1879-1026
Publication date 2017-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.06.186
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 607-608
Start page 184
End page 194
Total pages 11
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 2305 Environmental Engineering
2304 Environmental Chemistry
2311 Waste Management and Disposal
2310 Pollution
Abstract Recent studies have shown that the pyrolysis of biomass combined with clay can result in both lower cost and increase in plant yields. One of the major sources of nutrients for pasture growth, as well as fuel and building materials in Tibet is yak dung. This paper reports on the initial field testing in a pasture setting in Tibet using yak dung, biochar, and attapulgite clay/yak dung biochars produced at ratios of 10/90 and 50/50 clay to dung. We found that the treatment with attapulgite clay/yak dung (50/50) biochar resulted in the highest pasture yields and grass nutrition quality. We also measured the properties and yields of mixtures of clay/yak dung biochar used in the field trials produced at 400 °C and 500 °C to help determine a possible optimum final pyrolysis temperature and dung/clay ratio. It was observed that increasing clay content increased carbon stability, overall biochar yield, pore size, carboxyl and ketone/aldehyde functional groups, hematite and ferrous/ferric sulphate/thiosulphate concentration, surface area and magnetic moment. Decreasing clay content resulted in higher pH, CEC, N content and an enhanced ability to accept and donate electrons. The resulting properties were a complex function of both processing temperature and the percentage of clay for the biochars processed at both 400 °C and 500 °C. It is possible that the increase in yield and nutrient uptake in the field trial is related to the higher concentration of C/O functional groups, higher surface area and pore volume and higher content of Fe/O/S nanoparticles of multiple oxidation state in the 50/50 clay/dung. These properties have been found to significantly increase the abundance of beneficial microorganisms and hence improve the nutrient cycling and availability in soil. Further field trials are required to determine the optimum pyrolysis production conditions and application rate on the abundance of beneficial microorganisms, yields and nutrient quality.
Keyword Attapulgite clay
Enhanced biochar
Pasture growth
Soil health
Yak dung
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Australian Centre for Ecogenomics
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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