Feedstock-induced changes in composition and stability of biochar derived from different agricultural wastes

  • Tayyba Kanwal Choudhary
  • Khalid Saifullah KhanEmail author
  • Qaiser Hussain
  • Munir Ahmad
  • Muhammad Ashfaq
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Implications of Biochar Application to Soil Environment under Arid Conditions


Biochar is a carbon-rich organic amendment often used to sequester carbon and sustain soil productivity. The characteristics and the potential benefits of biochars depend upon their feedstock type. Therefore, changes in stability and composition of biochars derived from different agricultural wastes viz. sugarcane filter cake (SF), farmyard manure (FM), and rice husk (RH) were investigated in this study. The feedstocks were pyrolyzed at 350 °C, and the resultant biochars (SF-BC, FM-BC, and RH-BC) were characterized for yield, proximate (moisture, volatile matter, fixed carbon, ash content) and ultimate (CEC & elemental composition) analyses, surface area (BET), surface morphology (SEM), structural and functional groups (FTIR), and thermal stability (TG-DTA). Results revealed that SF-BC exhibited the highest yield (42.18%), lower bulk density and particle density (0.131 g cm−3 and 0.583 g cm−3, respectively), and higher porosity (76.56%) while the FM-BC had highest contents of fixed carbon (46.83%). The pH was slightly neutral for SF-BC and RH-BC but alkaline for FM-BC. The electrical conductivity and TDS were considerably higher in FM-BC while the CEC was higher in RH-BC (28.24 cmol kg−1). The recalcitrance index (R50) showed that all the biochars were minimally degradable (0.7 ˃ R50 ≥ 0.5). The SF-BC exhibited highest stability with R50 value of 0.64 and also showed highest C sequestration potential (43.68%). Hence, it is concluded that thermal conversion of sugarcane filter cake waste into biochar might serve as a potential candidate to increase soil organic C pool if applied as soil amendment.


Biochar properties Carbon sequestration Feedstock types Persistence Soil productivity 



The authors are grateful to the Institute of Soil Science, PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan and the Soil Science Department, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia for providing research opportunities, analysis, and characterization of the biochar materials.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tayyba Kanwal Choudhary
    • 1
  • Khalid Saifullah Khan
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qaiser Hussain
    • 1
  • Munir Ahmad
    • 2
  • Muhammad Ashfaq
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Soil SciencePir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan
  2. 2.Soil Sciences Department, College of Food & Agricultural SciencesKing Saud UniversityRiyadhKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  3. 3.Department of Plant PathologyPir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture UniversityRawalpindiPakistan

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