ORIGINAL RESEARCH
Fabrication of Biochar from Organic Wastes and its Effect on Wheat Growth and Soil Microflora
Sadia Aziz 1  
,  
Laiba Yaseen 1  
,  
Asif Jamal 1  
,  
Uzma Farooq 2  
,  
Zahid Qureshi 3  
,  
 
 
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1
Department of Microbiology, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
2
Department of Plant Sciences, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan
3
Government College University, La-hore, Pakistan
4
Department of Microbiology, Hazara University Pakistan
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Muhammad Ishtiaq Ali   

Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Department of Microbiology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, 45320 Islamabad, Pakistan
Online publish date: 2019-10-07
Submission date: 2018-10-02
Final revision date: 2018-11-04
Acceptance date: 2018-11-18
 
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ABSTRACT
In modern agricultural practices, applying biochar to improve soil fertility, plant growth and agricultural output is gaining a great deal of attention. Our current study highlights the preparation of biochar from fruit and vegetable waste and nutshell waste and its application as biofertilizer. The prepared biochar from both resources was characterized via Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), x-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Both types of biochar and their mixture were tested in a short-term lab-scale pot experiment at two different rates (0.5%, 1% w/w) in order to evaluate their relative efficacy in soil fertility and wheat yield. Soil parameters like pH, electrical conductivity, total carbon, total nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium were analysed before and after plant growth by standard procedures. At the end of the experiment plant growth and dry biomass was calculated. Analytical characterization of biochar depicts its crystalline nature with the presence of carbon nanotubes and circular pores. Wheat growth effects varied with biochar type, but overall positive growth results were observed for both biochar and their mixture. Results proved that wheat growth and biomass production was highest with maximum concentration of biochar mixture, while the highest microbial count was observed with 1% nutshell biochar. Promising wheat growth and a shift in relative abundance of the microbial community could have resulted from improvement in soil parameters such as highest soil EC of 190 us/cm. Phosphorous and potassium concentrations of 12 mg/kg and 210 mg/kg were observed at 1% mixture of biochar. In 1% fruit and vegetable waste biochar highest TC of 0.459% was observed in soil. Furthermore, the highest TN of 0.0325% was examined at 0.5% mixture of biochar. Our results conclude that the biochar amendment in soil at optimum level improves soil physiochemical properties and enhances soil microflora, which in turn cast a positive influence on soil productivity and crop growth.
eISSN:2083-5906
ISSN:1230-1485