Role of woody biochar and fungal-bacterial co-inoculation on enzyme activity and metal immobilization in serpentine soil

Tharanga Bandara, Indika Herath, Prasanna Kumarathilaka, Mihiri Seneviratne, Gamini Seneviratne, Nishanta Rajakaruna, Meththika Vithanage, Yong Sik Ok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: In this study, we investigated the effect of biochar (BC) and fungal bacterial co-inoculation (FB) on soil enzymatic activity and immobilization of heavy metals in serpentine soil in Sri Lanka. Materials and methods: A pot experiment was conducted with tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) at 1, 2.5, and 5 % (w/w) BC ratios. Polyphenol oxidase, catalase and dehydrogenase activities were determined by idometric, potassium permanganate oxidisable, and spectrophotometric methods, respectively. Heavy metal concentrations were assessed by 0.01 M CaCl2 and sequential extraction methods. Results and discussion: An increase in BC application reduced polyphenol oxidase, dehydrogenase, and catalase activity. The application of FB increased soil dehydrogenase activity, with the maximum activity found in 1 % BC700 + FB treatment. Moreover, the CaCl2 extractable metals (Ni, Mn, and Cr) in 5 % BC700 amended soil decreased by 92, 94, and 100 %, respectively, compared to the control. Sequential extraction showed that the exchangeable concentrations of Ni, Mn, and Cr decreased by 55, 70, and 80 % in 5 % BC700, respectively. Conclusions: Results suggest that the addition of BC to serpentine soil immobilizes heavy metals and decreases soil enzymatic activities. The addition of FB to serpentine soil improves plant growth by mitigating heavy metal toxicity and enhancing soil enzymatic activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-673
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Biochar production and characterization of this research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program, through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (project number: 2012R1A1B3001409) (100 %).

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


  • Biochar
  • Bioremediation
  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Phytotoxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Stratigraphy


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