Mechanisms of biochar-mediated alleviation of toxicity of trace elements in plants: a critical review

Muhammad Rizwan, Shafaqat Ali, Muhammad Farooq Qayyum, Muhammad Ibrahim, Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman, Tahir Abbas, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

377 Citations (Scopus)


Trace elements (TEs) contamination is one of the main abiotic stresses which limit plant growth and deteriorate the food quality by their entry into food chain. In recent, biochar (BC) soil amendment has been widely reported for the reduction of TE(s) uptake and toxicity in plants. This review summarizes the role of BC in enhancing TE(s) tolerance in plants. Under TE(s) stress, BC application increased plant growth, biomass, photosynthetic pigments, grain yield, and quality. The key mechanisms evoked are immobilization of TE(s) in the soil, increase in soil pH, alteration of TE(s) redox state in the soil, and improvement in soil physical and biological properties under TE(s) stress. However, these mechanisms vary with plant species, genotypes, growth conditions, duration of stress imposed, BC type, and preparation methods. This review highlights the potential for improving plant resistance to TE(s) stress by BC application and provides a theoretical basis for application of BC in TE(s) contaminated soils worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2230-2248
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support from the Government College University, Faisalabad and HEC (Higher Education Commission) of Pakistan is gratefully acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


  • Abiotic stress
  • Biochar
  • Immobilization
  • Plants
  • Tolerance
  • pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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