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Soil Fertility Increase


Soil Fertility Increase by the Improvement of Structural Aggregates under the Application of Biochar and Fertilizers in Vegetable and Grain Crop Rotation

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-OTH/Other/Biotechnology
  • AGR-OTH/Other/Agriculture

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Institute of Soil Science, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • Kazakh Institute of potato and vegetable growing LLC, Kazakstan, Almaty reg., Karasay\nKazakh National University / Combustion Problems Institute, Kazakstan, Almaty\nScientific and Analytical Center Biomedpreparat LLC, Kazakstan, Stepnogorsk


  • US Department of Agriculture / Agricultural Research Center / National Rsource Conservation Center, USA, GA, Watkinsville

Project summary

To study the role of biochar and fertilizers in the formation of soil stable structural aggregates, under vegetable–grain crop rotation for the increase and preservation of dark chestnut soil fertility at Transili Alatau piedmonts is the aim of the researches.

1.6 mln ha of 33.7.mln.ha of arable land is affected by erosion processes, 1.3 mln.ha (80.8%) of which is, basically, presented by low eroded soils that require simple antierosion measures. Moderately eroded soils make up 303.1 th.ha (17.8%) in arable lands and they require intensive antideflation and antierosion ameliorative measures. Strongly eroded soils make up 13.3 th.ha. (0.8 %), 10.0 th.ha. of which is located in Akmolinsk oblast. These soils require complex antierosion measures; therefore it is advisable to remove them from the composition of arable lands with further perennial herbs grassing. The condition and use of 59.6 mln.ha of lands in the regions of ecological disaster (Prearalye) are of special alarm. Salt dust currents, emerging in the region, according to the satellite survey data, are spread over 150-300 km, maximum 500 km. The area of dust spreading and sedimentation constitutes about 25 mln.ha. Great changes have happened as a result of the Aral Sea shrinkage in the modern delta of the Syrdarya River and on the dried bottom of the Aral Sea. 185 th.ha of disturbed lands caused by mining excavations is determined in the Republic. If we take into account the territories, disturbed by military-industrial test sites or activities under the development of cosmic space, the area if the disturbed lands will constitute more than 20 mln.ha. The researches on soil fertility increase by formation and improvement of structural aggregates under the use of biochar and fertilizers at piedmonts with intensive processes of water erosion, accounting disturbing ecological conditions of soil cover in the Republic, decrease of arable land fertility, provided by degradation processes as a result of wind, water erosion, disturbance, contamination and desertification are very urgent. Piedmont soils are more and more involved into irrigational agriculture, they are subjected to leveling. Upper fertile horizons of soils are cut and then mixed with subsoil horizons or deeply buried.

The project provides for the improvement of physical, water-physical, chemical, physico-chemical, biological properties, and nutrition regime of soil for the provision of Almaty (big mega city) with ecologically pure vegetable crops. The solution of the stated above problem will allow increasing of soil bioproductivity, improvement of social-economic and ecological conditions of the population in the big megacity of Kazakhstan.

The project executers possess experience in the work. Earlier they carried out researches on the study of dark-chestnut soil ecosystem at the piedmonts of Transili Alatau, they studied the problems of irrigational erosion development, measures of its prevention and soil fertility conservation in the condition of vegetable crops cultivation. There are publications, recommendation and the patent “Transformation of water-physical properties of dark-chestnut soils under the effect of fertilizers”, (2001). The project executers have wide experience in obtaining of biochar of different origin and application of it in different branches of national economy as an active sorbent. Thus, the application of biochar in biology and ecology deserves special attention. There are publications: Enterosorbent on the Basis of Nanocarbon Composite Materials. 24-26 May 2005, Symposium “Carbon for a Greener Planet”, State College, Penn, USA. “Carbon-Containing Sorbents Immobilized by Yeast and Bacteria Cells. 24-26 May 2005. Symposium “Carbon for a Greener Planet”, State College, Penn, USA. “Obtaining of immobilized biodestructors on the basis of carbonized nanosorbents”, 2007; “Development of immobilized microbial preparations on the basis of new nanomaterials”, (2007).

The application of different phytocoenoses in crop rotation and ameliorants will allow getting the most effective method for the improvement of soil structural aggregates, their water stability for the increase and preservation of soil fertility. The results of the researches can be used for the restoration of soil fertility at agro landscapes, eroded, degraded, anthropogenically disturbed and contaminated lands under the conditions of their extensive agricultural use, irrigation, grazing, mining development and etc.

Weapon specialists participate in the project implementation but the project is aimed to solve scientific problems in the peace purposes, it complies with ISTC goals. Scientists from other participant-organizations take part in the project; they will be involved in the world scientific community due to their participation and presentation of information on the project at international conferences and workshops.

Field trials provide for incorporation of biochar into soil. Biochar will be produced at different temperature pyrolysis. The mentioned above authors indicate that high temperature biochar is more resistant to chemical oxidation and microbial decomposition, but it has a more prolonged life in environment than organic substances, it reduces carbon sequestration into atmosphere. Biochar pyrolysis under low temperatures (400-500 degrees) is more preferable. So, fertile properties are quickly changed in soil, the biochar provides the decrease of carbon emission into atmosphere, it positively influences on microbiological processes. Baldock and Smenik (2002) have determined the correlation between t0 of biochar pyrolysis and resistance to soil microbial decomposition. Incorporation of biochar (produced from rice husk) as an ameliorant for the improvement of dark chestnut soil fertility will be used under its plow down at 10-20 cm root layer.


  1. Control for rotating crop, irrigation, tillage
  2. Fertilizer incorporation (NPK)
  3. Application of carbonized biochar (produced from rice husk) under 3000C pyrolysis
  4. Application of carbonized biochar (produced from rice husk) under 4000C pyrolysis
  5. Application of carbonized biochar (produced from rice husk) under 5000C pyrolysis
  6. Biochar (3000C) + NPK
  7. Biochar (4000C) + NPK
  8. Biochar (5000C) + NPK

Earlier prospective foreign partners from the Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center (South Carolina, USA) participated in the development of the given proposal, in compiling and specification of some issues on ameliorants namely biochar. The partners presented materials of laboratory researches with comments and interpretation on transformation of some soil properties under biochar application in dependence on incubation period and biochar concentration. The materials of the researches on laboratory experiments are of special value for the development of the proposed project. Because of their busyness at the Center the scientists from the Coastal Plains Soil, Water, and Plant Research Center (South Carolina, USA) will not be able to be our partners. The scientists Harry H.Schomberg and Dinku Endale from USDA-Agricultural Research Service.ARS Watkinsville agreed to be our partners.

The following research methods will be used in the course of the project implementation: expedition-field, experimental-field, and comparative, stationary, laboratory-analytical. The application of biochar, obtained from cheap raw material (rice husk), as an ameliorant with application of fertilizers (NPK) in vegetable-grain crop rotation in dark-chestnut soil of piedmonts is a scientific approach peculiarity for the improvement of soil aggregates.