Soilless tomato grown under nutritional stress increases green biomass but not yield or quality in presence of biochar as growing medium
- 2 Downloads
Biochar has been reported to improve soil fertility and growing medium performance. However, the role that biochar plays in plant nutrition is not completely understood, especially in plants grown under nutritional stress. Recent research indicates that the addition of biochar increases produce yield of tomato grown under salinity stress and drought; however, little information is available about the effects of biochar on fruit quality parameters. The use of biochar as a growth substrate in an intensive greenhouse cropping system may have the capacity of replacing non-renewable and less sustainable growing media like peat and in addition being a strategy to optimize chemical fertilisation. This work aimed to investigate the effects of biochar, as a potential candidate to replace peat, on tomato growing in soilless conditions under nutritional stress. Plant biomass accumulation, leaf fluorescence and chlorophyll, fruit yield and fruit quality parameters were measured as performance indicators. Biochar increased the green biomass, but it did not significantly affect yield or most quality parameters, apart from potassium content in ripe fruits. These results suggest that biochar has great potential as a peat alternative material and plant growth promoter, but no ability to improve tomato yield, under nutritional stress.
KeywordsCrop sustainability Fruit quality Nutrient stress Peat replacement Polyphenols Substrate improvers
The authors thank Mr. Paolo Bini for his technical support managing greenhouse equipment.
Massa Daniele and Petruccelli Raffaella: design and conception of the experiment, part of laboratory analysis and greenhouse samplings, data collection, data analysis and elaboration, manuscript writing; Bonetti Alessandra and Cacini Sonia: fruit laboratory analyses; Faraloni Cecilia and Tuccio Lorenza: physiological analyses; Prisa Domenico: greenhouse sample collection, biometric and phenological measurements, destructive analysis; all authors: materials and methods writing and manuscript revision.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Awad YM, Lee SE, Ahmed MBM, Vu NT, Farooq M, Kim IS, Kim HS, Vithanage M, Usman ARA, Al-Wabel M, Meers E, Kwon EE, Ok YS (2017) Biochar, a potential hydroponic growth substrate, enhances the nutritional status and growth of leafy vegetables. J Clean Prod 156:581–588. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.04.070 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Ciaccheri L, Tuccio L, Mencaglia AA, Sikorska-Zimny K, Hallmann E, Kowalski A, Mignani AG, Kaniszewski S, Agati G (2018) Prediction models for assessing lycopene in open-field cultivated tomatoes by means of a portable reflectance sensor: cultivar and growing-season effects. J Agric Food Chem 66:4748–4757. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.8b01570 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- FAOSTAT (2019) Tomato world production. http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home. Accessed 10 Jan 2019
- Fascella G, Mammano MM, D’Angiolillo F, Rouphael Y (2018) Effects of conifer wood biochar as a substrate component on ornamental performance, photosynthetic activity, and mineral composition of potted Rosa rugosa. J Hortic Sci Biotechnol 93:519–528. https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2017.1407679 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Lao MT, Jiménez S (2004) Leaching of nutrients in greenhouse cultivation of tomato crop in the Mediterranean area under different fertirrigation managements. Food Agric Environ 2:370–375Google Scholar
- Marschner H (2011) Marschner’s mineral nutrition of higher plants. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Nzanza B, Marais D, Soundy P (2012) Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal inoculation and biochar amendment on growth and yield of tomato. Int J Agric Biol 14:965–969Google Scholar
- Olives Barba AI, Cámara Hurtado M, Sánchez Mata MC, Fernández Ruiz V, López Sáenz De Tejada M (2006) Application of a UV–Vis detection-HPLC method for a rapid determination of lycopene and β-carotene in vegetables. Food Chem 95:328–336. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.02.028 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Papadopoulos AP (1991) Growing greenhouse tomatoes in soil and in soilless media. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, OntarioGoogle Scholar
- Passam HC, Karapanos IC, Bebeli PJ, Savvas D (2007) A review of recent research on tomato nutrition, breeding and post-harvest technology with reference to fruit quality. Eur J Plant Sci Biotechnol 1:1–21Google Scholar
- Strasser BJ, Strasser RJ (1995) Measuring fast fluorescence transients to address environmental questions: the JIP-test. In: Mathis P (ed) Photosynthesis: from light to biosphere. Kluwer, The Netherlands, pp 977–980Google Scholar
- Tabatabaie SJ, Gregory PJ, Hadley P (2004) Uneven distribution of nutrients in the root zone affects the incidence of blossom end rot and concentration of calcium and potassium in fruits of tomato. Plant Soil 258:169–178. https://doi.org/10.1023/B:PLSO.0000016548.84566.62 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vaccari FP, Maienza A, Miglietta F, Baronti S, Di Lonardo S, Giagnoni L, Lagomarsino A, Pozzi A, Pusceddu E, Ranieri R, Valboa G, Genesio L (2015) Biochar stimulates plant growth but not fruit yield of processing tomato in a fertile soil. Agric Ecosyst Environ 207:163–170. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2015.04.015 CrossRefGoogle Scholar