Biochar soil amendment on alleviation of drought and salt stress in plants: a critical review

Abstract

Drought and salt stress negatively affect soil fertility and plant growth. Application of biochar, carbon-rich material developed from combustion of biomass under no or limited oxygen supply, ameliorates the negative effects of drought and salt stress on plants. The biochar application increased the plant growth, biomass, and yield under either drought and/or salt stress and also increased photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and modified gas exchange characteristics in drought and salt-stressed plants. Under drought stress, biochar increased the water holding capacity of soil and improved the physical and biological properties of soils. Under salt stress, biochar decreased Na+ uptake, while increased K+ uptake by plants. Biochar-mediated increase in salt tolerance of plants is primarily associated with improvement in soil properties, thus increasing plant water status, reduction of Na+ uptake, increasing uptake of minerals, and regulation of stomatal conductance and phytohormones. This review highlights both the potential of biochar in alleviating drought and salt stress in plants and future prospect of the role of biochar under drought and salt stress in plants.

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Acknowledgments

The financial support from Government College, University Faisalabad, Pakistan, is gratefully acknowledged. Yong Sik Ok’s work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) (NRF-2015R1A2A2A11001432, Contribution: 80%).

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Correspondence to Muhammad Rizwan.

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Ali, S., Rizwan, M., Qayyum, M.F. et al. Biochar soil amendment on alleviation of drought and salt stress in plants: a critical review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 12700–12712 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-017-8904-x

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Keywords

  • Abiotic stress
  • Soil reclamation
  • Soil salinity
  • Soil remediation
  • Black carbon
  • Charcoal
  • Slow pyrolysis