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Use of Carbonized Fallen Leaves of Jatropha Curcas L. as a Soil Conditioner for Acidic and Undernourished Soil

1
United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8553, Japan
2
Faculty of Agriculture, Kagoshima University, Kagoshima 890-8580, Japan
3
Department of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Private Bag 0033 Gaborone, Botswana
4
Faculty of Agriculture, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
5
Arid Land Research Center, Tottori University, Tottori 680-0001, Japan
6
Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, Tottori 680-8553, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(5), 236; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9050236
Received: 24 April 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract

Jatropha (Jatropha curcas L.) represents a renewable bioenergy source in arid regions, where it is used to produce not only biodiesel from the seed oil, but also various non-oil biomass products, such as fertilizer, from the seed cake following oil extraction from the seeds. Jatropha plants also generate large amounts of fallen leaves during the cold or drought season, but few studies have examined the utilization of this litter biomass. Therefore, in this study, we produced biochar from the fallen leaves of jatropha using a simple and economical carbonizer that was constructed from a standard 200 L oil drum, which would be suitable for use in rural communities, and evaluated the use of the generated biochar as a soil conditioner for the cultivation of Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. cicla “Fordhook Giant”) as a model vegetable in an acidic and undernourished soil in Botswana. Biochar application improved several growth parameters of Swiss chard, such as the total leaf area. In addition, the dry weights of the harvested shoots were 1.57, 1.88, and 2.32 fold higher in plants grown in soils containing 3%, 5%, and 10% biochar, respectively, compared with non-applied soil, suggesting that the amount of biochar applied to the soil was positively correlated with yield. Together, these observations suggest that jatropha fallen leaf biochar could function as a soil conditioner to enhance crop productivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: jatropha; biochar; arid region; acidic undernourished soil; fallen leaves jatropha; biochar; arid region; acidic undernourished soil; fallen leaves
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Konaka, T.; Yabuta, S.; Mazereku, C.; Kawamitsu, Y.; Tsujimoto, H.; Ueno, M.; Akashi, K. Use of Carbonized Fallen Leaves of Jatropha Curcas L. as a Soil Conditioner for Acidic and Undernourished Soil. Agronomy 2019, 9, 236.

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