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1. chinaXiv:201605.00515 [pdf]

Impacts of willow and miscanthus bioenergy buffers on biogeochemical N removal processes along the soil–groundwater continuum

Andrea Ferrarini; Flavio Fornasier; Paolo Serra; Federico Ferrari; Marco Trevisan; Stefano Amaducci
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Plant ecology, plant geography

In this article, the belowground and aboveground biomass production in bioenergy buffers and biogeochemical N removal processes along the soil–groundwater continuum was assessed. In a sandy loam soil with shallow groundwater, bioenergy buffers of miscanthus and willow (5 and 10?m wide) were planted along a ditch of an agricultural field (AF) located in the Po valley (Italy). Mineral N forms and dissolved organic C (DOC) were monitored monthly over an 18-month period in groundwater before and after the bioenergy buffers. Soil samples were measured for inorganic N, DOC, microbial biomass C (MBC) and N (MBN), and potential nitrate reductase activity (NRA). The results indicated that bioenergy buffers are able to efficiently remove from groundwater the incoming NO3-N (62% – 5?m and 80% – 10?m). NO3-N removal rate was higher when nitrate input from AF increased due to N fertilization. Willow performed better than miscanthus in terms of biomass production (17?Mg?DM?ha?1?yr?1), fine root biomass (5.3?Mg?ha?1) and N removal via harvesting (73?kg?N?ha?1). The negative nonlinear relationship found between NO3-N and DOC along the soil–groundwater continuum from AF to bioenergy buffers indicates that DOC:NO3-N ratio is an important controlling factor for promoting denitrification in bioenergy buffers. Bioenergy buffers promoted soil microbial functioning as they stimulated plant–microbial linkages by increasing the easily available C sources for microorganisms (as DOC). First, willow and miscanthus promoted high rates of biological removal of nitrate (NRA) along the soil profile. Second, rhizosphere processes activated the soil microbial community leading to significant increases in MBC and microbial N immobilization. Herbaceous and woody bioenergy crops have been confirmed as providing good environmental performances when cultivated as bioenergy buffers by mitigating the disservices of agricultural activities such as groundwater N pollution.

submitted time 2016-05-04 Hits1545Downloads811 Comment 0

2. chinaXiv:201605.00512 [pdf]

Biomass production and energy balance of herbaceous and woody crops on marginal soils in the Po Valley

Stefano Amaducci; Gianni Facciotto; Sara Bergante; Alessia Perego; Paolo Serra; Andrea Ferrarini; Carlo Chimento
Subjects: Biology >> Botany >> Plant ecology, plant geography

A wealth of data and information on the cultivation of perennial biomass crops has been collected, but direct comparisons between herbaceous and woody crops are rare. The main objective of this research was to compare the biomass yield, the energy balance and the biomass quality of six perennial bioenergy crops: Populus spp., Robinia pseudoacacia, Salix spp., Arundo donax, Miscanthus?×?giganteus, and Panicum virgatum, grown in two marginal environments. For giant reed and switchgrass, two levels of nitrogen fertilization were applied annually (0–100?kg?ha?1). Nitrogen fertilization did not affect biomass or energy production of giant reed; thus, it significantly reduced the energy return on investment (EROI) (from 73 to 27). In switchgrass, nitrogen fertilization significantly increased biomass production and the capacity of this crop to respond to water availability, making it a favorable option when only biomass production is a target. Net energy gain (NEG) was higher for herbaceous crops than for woody crops. In Casale, EROI calculated for poplar and willow (7, on average) was significantly lower than that of the other crops (14, on average). In Gariga, the highest EROI was calculated for miscanthus (98), followed by nonfertilized giant reed and switchgrass (82 and 73, respectively). Growing degree days10 during the cropping season had no effect on biomass production in any of the studied species, although water availability from May to August was a major factor affecting biomass yield in herbaceous crops. Overall, herbaceous crops had the highest ranking for bioenergy production due to their high biomass yield, high net energy gain (NEG), and biomass quality that renders them suitable to both biochemical and thermochemical conversion. Miscanthus in particular had the highest EROI in both locations (16 and 98, in Casale and Gariga), while giant reed had the highest NEG on the silty-loam soil of Gariga.

submitted time 2016-05-04 Hits1528Downloads837 Comment 0

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