Potential of miscanthus biochar to improve sandy soil health, in situ nickel immobilization in soil and nutritional quality of spinach

Waqas ud Din Khan, Pia Muhammad Adnan Ramzani, Shazia Anjum, Farhat Abbas, Muhammad Iqbal, Abdullah Yasar, Muhammad Zahid Ihsan, Muhammad Naveed Anwar, Mujtaba Baqar, Hafiz Muhammad Tauqeer, Zaheer Abbas Virk, Shahbaz Ali Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The complex interaction of biochar (BC) with soil health reflecting properties, the feedstock used to prepare BC and application rate of BC in sandy soil is still a question for the researchers. An incubation study was conducted where nine different sorts of BC, each prepared from the different feedstock, were applied at 2% rate to evaluate their relative suitability to improve sandy soil health. Results revealed that BC prepared from miscanthus (MIB) significantly increased soil medium and fine pores, available water content (AWC), electrical conductivity (EC), and cation exchange capacity (CEC) while decreased soil wide pores, pH, bulk density (BD) and particle density (PD) compared to the rest sorts of BC. Later, spinach was grown in pots containing same soil but spiked with 50 ppm nickel (Ni) and amended with 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5% rates of MIB. The results showed a significant increment in spinach biomass, reduction in the concentrations of Ni in spinach tissues and DTPA-extractable Ni with the increasing rate of MIB till 3% and later, no significant changes with 4 and 5% rates thereafter. However, significant improvement in the activities of antioxidant enzymes, chemical and biochemical attributes of spinach were observed at 5% MIB when compared to lower rates. Similarly, post-harvest soil physicochemical and enzymatic parameters were also significantly (P < 0.05) improved with increasing rates of MIB. This study implies that application of MIB at 5% rate can improve the nutritional quality of spinach, sandy soil health and can reduce Ni concentrations in spinach tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1156
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant
  • Biochar
  • Feedstock
  • Miscanthus
  • Nutritional quality
  • Spinach


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