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Article

Chemical and Biological Enhancement Effects of Biochar on Wheat Growth and Yield under Arid Field Conditions

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Department of Agronomy, MNS-University of Agriculture, Multan 60000, Pakistan
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Crop Science, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
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Department of Plant Biotechnology, Atta-Ur-Rahman School of Applied Biosciences, National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad 44000, Pakistan
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Department of Soil Science, MNS-University of Agriculture, Multan 60000, Pakistan
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Biogeochemistry Research Centre, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, University of Plymouth, Plymouth PL4 8AA, UK
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Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture & Environment, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Punjab 63100, Pakistan
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Department of Agronomy, The University of Haripur, Haripur 22620, Pakistan
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Department of Geology and Pedology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University in Brno, Zemedelska1, 61300 Brno, Czech Republic
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Department of Biology, College of Science, Taif University, P.O. Box 11099, Taif 21944, Saudi Arabia
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Department of Agronomy, Faculty of Agriculture, Kafrelsheikh University, Kafrelsheikh 33156, Egypt
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Department of Soil Science, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Bahauddin Zakaria University, Multan 60800, Pakistan
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Marc A. Rosen, Ram Swaroop Meena, Sandeep Kumar and Manoj Kumar Jhariya
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 5890; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115890
Received: 12 March 2021 / Revised: 25 April 2021 / Accepted: 18 May 2021 / Published: 24 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Health Restoration and Environmental Management)
Nitrogen (N) losses are prevalent under South East Asia’s due to high N fertilizer inputs, but low N fertilizer use efficiency. This leaves a large quantity of reactive N at risk of loss to the environment. Biochar has been found to reduce N losses across a variety of soil types, however, there is limited data available for semi-arid climates, particularly at a field-scale. Herein we present an exploration of the biological and chemical enhancement effects observed of a cotton stalk-based biochar on wheat growth and yield under arid field conditions. The biochar was treated with urea-N and biofertilizer (bio-power) in different treatment setups. The six experimental treatments included; (i) a full N dose “recommended for wheat crops in the region” (104 kg N ha−1) as a positive control; (ii) a half N dose (52 kg N ha−1); (iii) a half N dose + biofertilizer (4.94 kg ha−1) as a soil mixture; (iv) a half N dose + biofertilizer as a seed inoculation; (v) a full N dose as broadcast + biochar (5 t ha−1) inoculated with biofertilizer; and (vi) a full N dose loaded on biochar + biofertilizer applied as a soil mixture. The half dose N application or biofertilizer addition as soil mix/seed inoculated/biochar inoculation with biofertilizer caused reduced wheat growth and yield compared to the control (conventional N fertilization). However, co-application of chemically enhanced biochar (loaded with a full N dose) and biofertilizer as soil mixture significantly increased the crop growth rate (CGR) and leaf area index (LAI). A significantly higher crop growth and canopy development led to a higher light interception and radiation use efficiency (RUE) for total dry matter (TDM) and grain yield (11% greater than control) production compared to the control. A greater grain yield, observed for the full N dose loaded on biochar + biofertilizer applied as a soil mixture, is attributed to prolonged N availability as indicated by greater plant and soil N content at harvest and different crop growth stages, respectively. The present study has improved our understanding of how the application of nitrogen loaded biochar and biofertilizer as soil mixtures can synergize to positively affect wheat growth and soil-nitrogen retention under arid environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: NO3-N; NH4-N; canopy growth; IPAR; RUE; pollution; wheat; food security NO3-N; NH4-N; canopy growth; IPAR; RUE; pollution; wheat; food security
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MDPI and ACS Style

Khan, Z.; Rahman, M.H.u.; Haider, G.; Amir, R.; Ikram, R.M.; Ahmad, S.; Schofield, H.K.; Riaz, B.; Iqbal, R.; Fahad, S.; Datta, R.; Baazeem, A.; Sabagh, A.E.; Danish, S. Chemical and Biological Enhancement Effects of Biochar on Wheat Growth and Yield under Arid Field Conditions. Sustainability 2021, 13, 5890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115890

AMA Style

Khan Z, Rahman MHu, Haider G, Amir R, Ikram RM, Ahmad S, Schofield HK, Riaz B, Iqbal R, Fahad S, Datta R, Baazeem A, Sabagh AE, Danish S. Chemical and Biological Enhancement Effects of Biochar on Wheat Growth and Yield under Arid Field Conditions. Sustainability. 2021; 13(11):5890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115890

Chicago/Turabian Style

Khan, Zarmeena, Muhammad H.u. Rahman, Ghulam Haider, Rabia Amir, Rao M. Ikram, Shakeel Ahmad, Hannah K. Schofield, Bilal Riaz, Rashid Iqbal, Shah Fahad, Rahul Datta, Alaa Baazeem, Ayman E. Sabagh, and Subhan Danish. 2021. "Chemical and Biological Enhancement Effects of Biochar on Wheat Growth and Yield under Arid Field Conditions" Sustainability 13, no. 11: 5890. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13115890

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