BMC Plant Biol. 2023 Jan 17;23(1):38. doi: 10.1186/s12870-023-04058-5.
Applying Biochar (BC) or biofertilizers (BF) are potential approaches to reduce the nitrogen input and mitigate soil degradation in the maize soybean relay strip intercropping system (IS). In 2019 and 2020, a two-factor experiment was carried out to examine the effects of BC and BF on soil productivity and yield production in IS. 4 N input levels (8.4, 22.5, 45 kg, and 67.5 kg ha – 1) referred to as N0, N1, N2, and N3 were paired with various organic treatments, including BC (150 kg ha – 1), BF (300 kg ha – 1), and without organic amendments (CK). The results demonstrated that, despite BF decreasing the biomass and N distribution into grains, BF performed better on improved soybean yield (5.2-8.5%) by increasing the accumulation of soybean biomass (7.2 ~ 11.6%) and N (7.7%). Even though BC and BF have a detrimental effect on soybean nitrogen fixation by reducing nodule number and weight, the values of soybean nitrogenase activity and nitrogen fixation potential in BF were higher than those in BC. Additionally, BF performs better at boosting the soil’s nitrogen content and nitrate reductase and urease activity. BF increased the concentration of total N, soil organic matter, Olsen-phosphorus, and alkaline hydrolyzable N in the soil by 13.0, 17.1, 22.0, and 7.4%, respectively, compared to CK. Above all, applying BF combination with N2 (45 kg ha – 1 N) is a feasible strategy to raise crop grain output and keep soil productivity over the long term in IS.