Effects of biochar on bacterial communities in a newly established landfill cover topsoil

James Tsz Fung WONG, Xunwen CHEN, Wenjing DENG, Yemao CHAI, Charles Wang Wai NG, Ming Hung WONG

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47 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies revealed the benefits of applying biochar in landfill final cover soil, such as adsorbing odorous compounds and promoting microbial methane oxidation. Most of these processes are related to the soil bacterial communities. However, the effects of biochar application on the overall bacterial community in newly established landfill cover soil are not yet understood, especially in field condition. The objective of the present field study is to investigate the effects of biochar on the diversity of soil bacterial community 3 months after incubation (short–term). Landfill final cover topsoil (0.6 m) was amended with 0 (control), 5, and 10% (w/w) of biochar derived from peanut–shell and wheat straw. Soil bacterial communities were analysed using the 16S rRNA–based T–RFLP approach. Biochar application significantly (p < 0.05) increased the diversity of soil bacterial communities. The Shannon diversity index of bacterial communities in soil amended with 5 and 10% of biochar was increased from 3.34 to 3.85 and 3.92, respectively. There were four bacterial phyla recorded found at both control and amended soils, namely Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria. In addition, Gemmatimonadetes was found only in soil amended with 10% biochar. The interactions between soil bacterial communities and measured soil parameters including moisture content, electrical conductivity, total organic matter, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were found to be statistically non-significant (p > 0.05), according to the canonical correspondence analysis (CCA). This may be due to the highly heterogeneous nature of landfill soil. Results from this study revealed that short-term biochar application already altered the soil physicochemical properties and increased the diversity of soil bacterial communities. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-673
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online dateFeb 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


Wong, J. T. F., Chen, X., Deng, W., Chai, Y., Ng, C. W. W., & Wong, M. H. (2019). Effects of biochar on bacterial communities in a newly established landfill cover topsoil. Journal of Environmental Management, 236, 667-673. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2019.02.010


  • Microorganisms
  • Landfill restoration
  • Soil amendment
  • Organic matter
  • Sanitary landfill
  • T-RFLP
  • PG student publication


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