Conocarpus Biochar Induces Changes in Soil Nutrient Availability and Tomato Growth Under Saline Irrigation

Adel Rabie A. Usman, Mohammad I. Al-Wabel, Yong S. Ok, Abdulaziz Al-Harbi, Mahmoud Wahb-Allah, Ahmed Hamdy El-Naggar, Mahtab Ahmad, Abdulelah Al-Faraj, Abdulrasoul Al-Omran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to King Abdulazaiz City of Science and Technology (KACST) (grant no: AT-34 -392), Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for funding the study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Soil Science Society of China.


  • Drip irrigation
  • Organic farm residues
  • Organic matter content
  • Salt stress
  • Sandy soils
  • Soil amendment
  • Soil productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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