Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 665–673 | Cite as

Role of woody biochar and fungal-bacterial co-inoculation on enzyme activity and metal immobilization in serpentine soil

  • Tharanga Bandara
  • Indika Herath
  • Prasanna Kumarathilaka
  • Mihiri Seneviratne
  • Gamini Seneviratne
  • Nishanta Rajakaruna
  • Meththika Vithanage
  • Yong Sik Ok
Biochar for a Sustainable Environment



In this study, we investigated the effect of biochar (BC) and fungal bacterial co-inoculation (FB) on soil enzymatic activity and immobilization of heavy metals in serpentine soil in Sri Lanka.

Materials and methods

A pot experiment was conducted with tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) at 1, 2.5, and 5 % (w/w) BC ratios. Polyphenol oxidase, catalase and dehydrogenase activities were determined by idometric, potassium permanganate oxidisable, and spectrophotometric methods, respectively. Heavy metal concentrations were assessed by 0.01 M CaCl2 and sequential extraction methods.

Results and discussion

An increase in BC application reduced polyphenol oxidase, dehydrogenase, and catalase activity. The application of FB increased soil dehydrogenase activity, with the maximum activity found in 1 % BC700 + FB treatment. Moreover, the CaCl2 extractable metals (Ni, Mn, and Cr) in 5 % BC700 amended soil decreased by 92, 94, and 100 %, respectively, compared to the control. Sequential extraction showed that the exchangeable concentrations of Ni, Mn, and Cr decreased by 55, 70, and 80 % in 5 % BC700, respectively.


Results suggest that the addition of BC to serpentine soil immobilizes heavy metals and decreases soil enzymatic activities. The addition of FB to serpentine soil improves plant growth by mitigating heavy metal toxicity and enhancing soil enzymatic activities.


Biochar Bioremediation Black carbon Charcoal Phytotoxicity 



Biochar production and characterization of this research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program, through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (project number: 2012R1A1B3001409) (100 %).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tharanga Bandara
    • 1
  • Indika Herath
    • 1
  • Prasanna Kumarathilaka
    • 1
  • Mihiri Seneviratne
    • 2
  • Gamini Seneviratne
    • 2
  • Nishanta Rajakaruna
    • 3
    • 4
  • Meththika Vithanage
    • 1
  • Yong Sik Ok
    • 5
  1. 1.Chemical and Environmental Systems Modeling Research GroupNational Institute of Fundamental StudiesKandySri Lanka
  2. 2.Microbial Biotechnology UnitNational Institute of Fundamental StudiesKandySri Lanka
  3. 3.College of the AtlanticBar HarborUSA
  4. 4.Unit for Environmental Sciences and ManagementNorth-West UniversityPotchefstroomSouth Africa
  5. 5.Korea Biochar Research Center and Department of Biological EnvironmentKangwon National UniversityChuncheonKorea

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