Preferences help
enabled [disable] Abstract
Number of results
2017 | 8 | 27-36
Article title

Biochar: Promoting Crop Yield, Improving Soil Fertility, Mitigating Climate Change and Restoring Polluted Soils

Title variants
Languages of publication
The agricultural and environmental sectors are plagued with challenges. In agriculture, soil infertility and the subsequent quagmire of poor crop yield, has always been a major problem that limits worldwide agricultural productivity. Major environmental concerns, including Climate Change and Soil Pollution, are receiving continual attention from key stakeholders. Efforts are hence being directed at curtailing or mitigating the devastative consequences of these man-made ‘monsters’. Recently, agricultural and environmental research reveals biochar to be a veritable technology that could be used to deal with some of these concerns. Biochar has the ability to have impact upon important soil properties, such as the raising of soil pH and water holding capacity, the attraction of beneficial fungi and microbes, improvement of cation exchange capacity (CEC), induce high carbon sequestration ability and nutrient retention capacity. Moreover, its large surface area makes it a potential remedy to several identified challenges. This review, therefore, critically highlights the importance of biochar, as well as the various ways of harnessing biochar technology towards global food security and environmental sustainability.
  • Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, Moist Forest Research Station, Benin City, Nigeria
  • [1] Krull, E. S., J. Lehmann, J. Skjemstad, and J. Baldock (2008). The global extent of black C in soils; is it everywhere? In: Hans G. Schroder (ed.), Grasslands; ecology, management and restoration. New York: Nova Science Publishers, Inc. p. 13-17
  • [2] Skjemstad, J. O., D. C. Reicosky, A. R. Wills, and J. A. McGowan (2002). Charcoal carbon in U.S. agricultural soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal 66, 1249-1255.
  • [3] O’Neill, B., J. Grossman, M. T. Tsai, J.E. Gomes, J. Lehmann, J. Peterson, E. Neves, and J.E. Thies (2009). Bacterial community composition in Brazilian Anthrosols and adjacent soils characterized using culturing and molecular identification. Microbial Ecology 58, 23-35.
  • [4] Lehmann, J., (2007). A handful of Carbon. Nature 447, 143-144
  • [5] Ketterings, Q. M., Wibowo, T. T., van Noordwijk, M. and Penot E. (1999). Farmers’ perspectives on slash-and-burn as a land clearing method for small-scale rubber producers in Sepunggur, Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Forest Ecology and Management 120, 157-169.
  • [6] Lehmann, J., da Silva Jr, J. P., Rondon, M., Cravo, M. S ., Greenwood, J., Nehls, T., Steiner, C. and Glaser, B. (2002). Slash-and-char – a feasible alternative for soil fertility management in the central Amazon?, Proceedings of the 17th World Congress of Soil Science, (pp. 1–12) Bangkok, Thailand. CD–ROM Paper no. 449.
  • [7] Lehmann, D. J. & Joseph, S. (2009). Biochar for Environmental Management: Science and Technology (Earthscan Books Ltd).
  • [8] Lehmann, J., Gaunt, J., Rondon, M. (2006). Bio-char sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems - A review. Mit. Adapt. Strat. Global Chang 11, 403-427.
  • [9] Glaser, B., J. Lehmann, and W. Zech. (2002). Ameliorating physical and chemical properties of highly weathered soils in the tropics with charcoal-a review. Biology and Fertility of Soils 35, 219-230.
  • [10] Lehmann, J. and M. Rondon (2006). Bio Char soil management on highly weathered soils in the humid tropics. In: N. Uphoff et al. (eds.), Biological approaches to sustainable soil systems. Florida: CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group. pp. 517-530.
  • [11] Warnock, D. D., J. Lehmann, T. W. Kuyper, and M. C. Rillig (2007). Mycorrhizal responses to biochar in soil—concepts and mechanisms. Plant Soil 300, 9-20.
  • [12] Walsh, M. E., Perlack, R. L., Turhollow, A., Ugarte, D. T., Becker, D. A., Graham, R. L., Slinksy, S. E. and Ray, D. E. (1999). Biomass Feedstock Availability in the United States: 1999 State Level. Analysis, Oak Ridge National laboratory: Oak Ridge, TN.
  • [13] Demirbas, A. (2004 a). Effects of temperature and particle size on bio-char yield from pyrolysis of agricultural residues. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 72, 243-248.
  • [14] Zheng W., B. K. Sharma; Nandakishore Rajagopalan (2010). Using Biochar as a Soil Amendment for Sustainable Agriculture. Sustainable Agriculture Grant Program, Illinois Department of Agriculture.
  • [15] McClellan, T., J. Deenik, G. Uehara, and M. Antal (2007). Effects of flashed carbonized macadamia nutshell charcoal on plant growth and soil chemical properties. ASA-CSSA-SSA International Annual Meetings, New Orleans, Louisiana. techprogram/P35834. HTM.
  • [16] Zeriouh, A., and Belbirl, L. (1995). Thermal decomposition of a Moroccan wood under a nitrogen atmosphere. Thermochim. Acta 258, 243-248.
  • [17] Li, W., Yang, K., Peng, J., Zhang, L., Guo, S., Xia, H. (2008). Effects of carbonization temperatures on characteristics of porosity in coconut shell chars and activated carbons derived from carbonized coconut shell chars. Ind. Crops Pro. 28, 190-198.
  • [18] Kuhlbusch, T. A. J., (1995). Method for determining black carbon in residues of vegetation fires. Environ. Sci. Technol. 29, 2695-2702.
  • [19] Chun, Y., Sheng, G., Chiou, C. T., Xing, B. (2004). Compositions and sorptive properties of crop residue-derived chars. Environ. Sci. Technol. 38, 4649-4655.
  • [20] Chen, B., Zhou, D., Zhu, L. (2008). Transitional adsorption and partition of nonpolar and polar aromatic contaminants by biochars of pine needles with different pyrolytic temperature. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42. 5137-5143.
  • [21] Cornelissen, G., Gustafsson, Ö. (2005). Importance of unburned coal carbon, black carbon, and amorphous organic carbon to phenanthrene sorption in sediments. Environmental Science and Technology 39, 764-769.
  • [22] Lehmann, J. and Rondon, M. (2005). Bio-char soil management on highly-weathered soils in the humid tropics’, in N. Uphoff (ed.), Biological Approaches to Sustainable Soil Systems, Boca Raton, CRC Press, in press.
  • [23] Rondon, M. A., Lehmann, J., Ramírez, J. and Hurtado, M. (2007). Biological nitrogen fixation by common beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) increases with bio-char additions. Biology and Fertility of Soils 43(6), 699-708.
  • [24] Liang, B., J. Lehmann, D. Solomon, S. Sohi, J. E. Thies, J. O. Skjemstad, F. J. Luizao, M.H. Engelhard, E.G. Neves, and S. Wirick. (2008). Stability of biomass derived black carbon in soils. Geochimica et Cosmochimic Acta 72, 6096-6078.
  • [25] Woofl, D., Amonette, J. E., Street-Perrott, F. A., Lehmann, J., Joseph, S. (2010). Sustainable biochar to mitigate global climate change. Nature Comm. 1, 56-64.
  • [26] Rondon, M., Ramirez, J.A. and Lehmann, J. (2005). Charcoal additions reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, in Proceedings of the 3rd USDA Symposium on Greenhouse Gases and Carbon Sequestration, Baltimore, USA, March 21–24, p. 208.
  • [27] Oya, A. and Iu, W. G. (2002). Deodorization performance of charcoal particles loaded with orthophosphoric acid against ammonia and trimethylamine. Carbon 40, 1391-1399.
  • [28] Iyobe, T., Asada, T., Kawata, K. and Oikawa, K. (2004). Comparison of removal efficiencies for ammonia and amine gases between woody charcoal and activated carbon. J. Health Sci. 50, 148-153.
  • [29] Mizuta, K., Matsumoto, T., Hatate, Y., Nishihara, K. and Nakanishi T. (2004). Removal of nitrate nitrogen from drinking water using bamboo powder charcoal. Bioresource Technology 95, 255-257.
  • [30] Beaton, J. D., Peterson, H. B. and Bauer, N. (1960). Some aspects of phosphate adsorption by charcoal. Soil Science Society of America Proceedings 24, 340-346.
  • [31] Gustaffson, O., Haghseta, F., Chan, C., Macfarlane, J. and Gschwend, P. M. (1997). Quantification of the dilute sedimentary soot phase: Implications for the PAH speciation and bioavailability, Environmental Science and Technology 31, 20-209.
  • [32] Accardi-Dey, A. and Gschwend, P. M. (2002). Assessing the combined roles of natural organic matter and black carbon as sorbents in sediments. Environmental Science and Technology 36, 21-29.
  • [33] Laird, D. A., (2008). The charcoal vision: A win-win-win scenario for simultaneously producing bioenergy, permanently sequestering carbon, while improving soil and water quality. Agronomy Journal 100(1), 178-181.
  • [34] Yang, Y., Sheng, G., (2003a). Enhanced pesticide sorption by soils containing particulate matter from crop residue burns, Environ. Sci. Technol. 37, 3635-3639.
  • [35] Yang, Y., Sheng, G., (2003b). Pesticide adsorptivity of aged particulate matter arising from crop residue burns, J. Agric. Food Chem. 5, 5047-5051.
  • [36] Yu, X.-Y., Ying, G.-G., Kookana, R. S. (2009) Reduced plant uptake of pesticides with biochar additions to soil. Chemosphere 76, 665-671
  • [37] Younis U., Athar, M., Malik, S. A., Raza Shah, M. H., Mahmood, S. (2015). Biochar impact on physiological and biochemical attributes of spinach Spinacia oleracea (L.) in nickel contaminated soil. Global J. Environ. Sci. Manage. 1(3), 245-254.
  • [38] Spokas, K. A., Koskinen, W. C., Baker, J. M., Reicosky, D. C., (2009). Impacts of woodchip biochar additions on greenhouse gas production and sorption/degradation of two herbicides in a Minnesota soil. Chemosphere 77, 574-581.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.