Biochar enhances the cadmium tolerance in spinach (Spinacia oleracea) through modification of Cd uptake and physiological and biochemical attributes

Uzma Younis, Saeed Ahmad Malik, Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Farooq Qayyum, Yong Sik Ok, Muhammad Hasnain Raza Shah, Rabia Abdur Rehman, Niaz Ahmad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) has no known role in plant biology and is toxic to plants and animals. The Cd mainly accumulated in agricultural soils through anthropogenic activities, such as sewage water irrigation and phosphorus fertilization. Biochar (BC) has been proposed as an amendment to reduce metal toxicity in plants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the role of BC (cotton stick at a rate of 0, 3, and 5 %) on Cd uptake and the photosynthetic, physiological, and biochemical responses of spinach (Spinacia oleracea) grown in Cd-spiked soil (0, 25, 50, 75, and 100 mg Cd kg−1 soil). The results showed that Cd toxicity decreased growth, photosynthetic pigments, gas exchange characteristics, and amino acid and protein contents in 52-day-old spinach seedlings. The Cd treatments increased the concentrations of Cd, sugar, ascorbic acid, and malondialdehyde (MDA) in plants. The application of BC ameliorated the harmful effects of Cd in spinach plants. Under Cd stress, BC application increased the growth, photosynthesis, and protein contents and decreased Cd concentrations and MDA contents in plants. The maximum BC-mediated increase in dry biomass was about 25 % with 5 % BC application in control plants. It is concluded that BC could ameliorate Cd toxic effects in spinach through changing the physiological and biochemical attributes under Cd stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21385-21394
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is part of a Ph.D. thesis of the first author. We acknowledge Higher Education Commission, Pakistan, for financial support. Moreover, we acknowledge the International Foundation for Science and The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the research funding under grant number C-5591.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Cotton sticks
  • Pyrolysis
  • Trace metals
  • Vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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