Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 2230–2248 | Cite as

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
Review Article


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.


Abiotic stress Biochar Immobilization pH Plants Tolerance 

Supplementary material

11356_2015_5697_MOESM1_ESM.pptx (331 kb)
ESM 1(PPTX 331 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Muhammad Rizwan
    • 1
  • Shafaqat Ali
    • 1
  • Muhammad Farooq Qayyum
    • 2
  • Muhammad Ibrahim
    • 1
  • Muhammad Zia-ur-Rehman
    • 3
  • Tahir Abbas
    • 1
  • Yong Sik Ok
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringGovernment College UniversityFaisalabadPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and TechnologyBahauddin Zakariya UniversityMultanPakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Soil and Environmental SciencesUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  4. 4.Korea Biochar Research Centre and Department of Biological EnvironmentKangwon National UniversityChuncheonSouth Korea

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