Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1751–1760 | Cite as

The effect of biochars application on reducing the toxic effects of nickel and growth indices of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) in a calcareous soil

  • Hamid Reza BoostaniEmail author
  • Mahdi Najafi-Ghiri
  • Abbas Mirsoleimani
Research Article


Nowadays, production of biochar from agricultural wastes and its use for the amelioration of contaminated soils with heavy metals is increasing to reduce their negative effects on the growth of various plants. A factorial greenhouse experiment as a completely randomized design with three replications was performed to study the effect of different biochars on the spinach growth in a calcareous soil with different levels of nickel (Ni). The first factor consisted of biochars (control (CL), licorice root pulp (LRB), and rice husk (RHB) prepared at two pyrolysis temperatures (350 °C and 550 °C), each at 2.5% (w/w)), and the second factor included Ni application levels (0 (N0), 150 (N1), and 300 (N2) mg kg−1 soil). Shoot dry weight (15.0%), photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a (46.5%), b (39.5%), carotenoids (52.0%)), and micronutrients uptake (iron (51.8%), manganese (66.4%), copper (62.9%), and zinc (47.1%)) were decreased by increasing the Ni levels from N0 to N2. The activity of antioxidant enzymes (catalase (36.3%) and guaiacol peroxidase (29.3%)) and Ni uptake were increased by the Ni application levels. The biochar treatments (RHB350, RHB550, and LRB550) increased shoot dry weight of spinach through the reduction of Ni uptake, activity of antioxidant enzymes and enhancement of the micronutrients absorption. In general, the effect of the biochars produced at 550 °C on the reduction of Ni uptake and the increase in plant growth were better than the biochars produced at 350 °C. Finally, it could be concluded that the RHB550 is more suitable for reducing the Ni toxicity and improving the growth indices of the spinach.


Antioxidant enzymes Micronutrients uptake Photosynthesis pigments Pyrolysis temperature 



This work was supported by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Darab, Shiraz University, Darab, Iran.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hamid Reza Boostani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mahdi Najafi-Ghiri
    • 1
  • Abbas Mirsoleimani
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Range and Watershed Management, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of DarabShiraz UniversityDarabIran
  2. 2.Department of Plant Production, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources of DarabShiraz UniversityDarabIran

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