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Temporal Effects of the Combined Use of Cricket Frass and Eucalyptus Biochar on the Yield and Tissue Nitrate Content in Chinese Kale

Somchai Butnan, Janista Duangpukdee and Pranee Sriraj

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 45, Issue 3, August 2022

DOI: https://doi.org/10.47836/pjtas.45.3.10

Keywords: Cricket faeces, Eucalyptus branch-derived charcoal, nitrification inhibition, nitrogen transformation, vegetable nitrate

Published on: 8 August 2022

A greenhouse experiment was conducted to estimate the influence of various application rates of eucalyptus-derived biochar combined with cricket frass on the soil properties and soil N transformation, and, in turn, affecting both shoot biomass yield and nitrate (NO3-) contents of Chinese kale (Brassica oleracea). Two consecutive kale crops were grown to investigate the temporal effect of the combined amendments of cricket frass and biochar. Six rates of biochar, 0%, 0.125%, 0.25%, 0.5%, 1%, and 2% w/w in combination with 0.55% w/w of cricket frass, were applied only once at the start of the experiment in sandy loam soil. Shoot biomass significantly increased under treatments of 0.125% to 0.5% w/w in the first kale crop and 0.125% to 0.25% w/w in the second crop compared to the cricket frass alone. However, the higher rates of 0.25% and 0.5% w/w within the first and second crops decreased shoot biomass relative to their lower rates in each crop. Tissue NO3- concentrations of the first kale crop significantly decreased under all biochar rates, whereas the opposite effect was observed in the second crop. These contrasting effects of biochar on tissue NO3- concentrations were attributed to nitrification inhibition in the first crop and nitrification stimulation in the second crop. The 0.125% w/w rate of eucalyptus-derived biochar was, therefore, recommended to be combined with cricket frass to improve yield and reduce tissue NO3- content in the production of Chinese kale.

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