The glasshouse experiment was conducted to assess the efficiency of adding a combination of LaBC and a wood-based biochar to field soils differing in fertility. The experimental design consisted of two factors: soil amendments (4 treatments) and soil (from 3 locations) in a completely randomised block with three replicates (n = 3). The textures of the three soils (Soils 1, 2 and 3) were a sand, a sandy loam and a clayey soil respectively. The soil amendments were (i) LaBC; (ii) Biochar; (iii) LaBC + Biochar, and (iv) an unamended control. Soil and plant samples were collected 8 weeks after sowing.

Plastic pots (115 mm in diameter, 1 L) were lined with polythene bags and filled with 1 kg of soil packed to the respective bulk density of each soil. Dry amendments were added to soil according to treatments and mixed through the soil in each pot prior to sowing. Deionised water was added to each pot to establish 60% field capacity and maintained throughout the experiment. The soil was conditioned for 7 days to accommodate temporal changes in microbial community structure and increased biological activity that occurs when soil is disturbed during sample collection and preparation79. Four germinated subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) seeds were sown per pot and thinned to two per pot after seedling emergence. Pots were harvested 8 weeks after sowing.

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