Biochar Application Enhanced Post-Heading Radiation Use Efficiency in Field-Grown Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Biochar may be a beneficial soil amendment for crop production, and it is well-documented that biochar application can improve nitrogen (N) uptake and/or utilization in rice (Oryza sativa L.). However, limited information is available on the effects of altered plant N status induced by applying biochar on physiological aspects in rice. In this study, field experiments were conducted in 2015 and 2016 to test the hypothesis that biochar application may enhance radiation use efficiency (RUE) in rice by improving the plant N status. The results showed that biochar application (20 t ha–1) had no significant or consistent effects on pre-heading N uptake (NUpre), leaf area index (LAI) and specific leaf weight (SLW) at heading, ratios of LAI/NUpre and SLW/Nupre, and pre-heading RUE. However, biochar application significantly increased post-heading N uptake (NUpost), ratios of NUpost/LAI and NUpost/SLW, and post-heading RUE. These results indicate that biochar application can improve the plant N status and RUE in field-grown rice during the post-heading period, supporting our hypothesis.
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