Pedosphere 26(1): 27--38, 2016
ISSN 1002-0160/CN 32-1315/P
©2016 Soil Science Society of China
Published by Elsevier B.V. and Science Press
Conocarpus biochar induces changes in soil nutrient availability and tomato growth under saline irrigation
A. R. A. USMAN1,2, M. I. AL-WABEL1, Y. S. OK3, A. AL-HARBI4, M. WAHB-ALLAH4,5, A. H. EL-NAGGAR1,6, M. AHMAD1, A. Al-FARAJ7 and A. AL-OMRAN1
1Soil Sciences Department, College of Food & Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451 (Saudi Arabia)
2Department of Soils and Water, Faculty of Agriculture, Assiut University, Assiut 71526 (Egypt)
3Korea Biochar Research Center, Kangwon National University, Chunehon 200-701 (Korea)
4 Plant Production Department, College of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451 (Saudi Arabia)
5Vegetable Crops Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Alexandria 21321 (Egypt)
6 Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, 68 HadayekShobra, P.O. Box 11241, Cairo 11241 (Egypt)
7Agricultral Engineering Department, College of Food & Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2460, Riyadh 11451 (Saudi Arabia)
ABSTRACT
      Thermally modified organic materials commonly known as biochar have gained popularity of being used as a soil amendment. Little information, however, is available on the role of biochar in alleviating the negative impacts of saline water on soil productivity and plant growth. This study, therefore, was conducted to investigate the effects of Conocarpus biochar (BC) and organic farm residues (FR) at different application rates of 0.0% (control), 4.0% and 8.0% (weight/weight) on yield and quality of tomatoes grown on a sandy soil under drip irrigation with saline or non-saline water. The availability of P, K, Fe, Mn, Zn and Cu to plants was also investigated. The results demonstrated clearly that addition of BC or FR increased the vegetative growth, yield and quality parameters in all irrigation treatments. It was found that salt stress adversely affected soil productivity, as indicated by the lower vegetative growth and yield components of tomato plants. However, this suppressing effect on the vegetative growth and yield tended to decline with application of FR or BC, especially at the high application rate and in the presence of biochar. Under saline irrigation system, for instance, the total tomato yield increased over the control by 14.0%--43.3% with BC and by 3.9%--35.6% with FR. These could be attributed to enhancement effects of FR or BC on soil properties, as indicated by increases in soil organic matter content and nutrient availability. Therefore, biochar may be effectively used as a soil amendment for enhancing the productivity of salt-affected sandy soils under arid conditions.
Key Words:  drip irrigation, organic farm residues, organic matter content, salt stress, sandy soils, soil amendment, soil productivity, tomato
Citation: Usman, R. A., Al-wabel, M. I., Ok, Y. S., Al-harbi, A., Wahb-allah, M., El-naggar, A. H., Ahmad, M., Al-faraj, A. and Al-omran, A. 2016. Conocarpus biochar induces changes in soil nutrient availability and tomato growth under saline irrigation. Pedosphere. 26(1): 27-38.
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