Biochar Ameliorate Drought and Salt Stress in Plants

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Biochar is a charcoal-like material obtained by heating any organic waste (crop residue, vegetable/ animal waste etc.) at high temperature through process of pyrolysis. It is produced with an intention to improve soil fertility, enhance crop productivity and mitigate greenhouse gas emission. Drought and salinity are the two most crucial abiotic stresses that limit crops production worldwide. In this PhD project, it was hypothesized that biochar could be used to effectively mitigate drought and salinity stresses in crop plants due to its putative physiochemical properties.

The overall objectives of the present PhD project were to reveal the mechanisms by which biochar addition mitigates negative effect of drought and salinity stress on plants and to test the efficacy of biochar when applied in combination with already existing drought (like DI and PRD) and salt management (inoculation of plant with halophytic plant growth promoting bacteria) approaches.

The results showed that:
- Biochar mitigated drought stress in plants by enhancing soil moisture availability due to its high porosity and large surface area

- Biochar ameliorated salinity stress in plant by a high transient Na+ binding due to its high adsorption capacity; decreasing osmotic stress by enhancing soil moisture content; and releasing mineral nutrients (particularly K+, Ca++, Mg++) into the soil solution

- Growth, physiology and yield of plants were positively affected by biochar due to its ability to increase soil moisture content, improve nutrient acquisition and reduce Na+ uptake under drought and salinity stress, respectively

- Biochar had long-term positive residual effect on plant growth and performance under salinity stress

- Positive responses of biochar on plants could be further enhanced by adopting integrated drought (i.e., DI and PRD) and salt (i.e., inoculating plant with PGPB) management approaches.

It is concluded that incorporation of biochar could be successfully used to ameliorate drought and salt stress in plants. However, further research is warranted under drought prone and salt affected field conditions to confirm our findings.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDepartment of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen
Number of pages179
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ID: 141207039