Boosting Pea Plant Growth with Biochar in Salty Soil

Jenn Hoskins
14th May, 2024

Boosting Pea Plant Growth with Biochar in Salty Soil

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, found that salinity stress significantly reduces growth and productivity in pea plants
  • Biochar amendment in soil reduced oxidative damage in pea plants under salinity stress by decreasing harmful compounds like hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde
  • Biochar also enhanced the activity of antioxidant enzymes and increased beneficial ion uptake, improving overall plant health and growth under saline conditions
Pea plants, essential legumes of the Leguminosae family, play a crucial role in global food security. However, their production is significantly hampered by abiotic stressors, particularly salinity stress. This stress leads to a marked decline in growth and productivity. Recent research from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, has explored the potential of biochar amendment in soil to alleviate the oxidative damage caused by salinity stress on pea plants[1]. Salinity stress is known to adversely affect various morphological parameters in plants. In the study, pea varieties Meteor and Green Grass were subjected to 80 mM salinity stress, resulting in substantial reductions in shoot and root lengths (29% and 47%), fresh and dry weights (85% and 63% for fresh weight; 49% and 68% for dry weight), and leaf area (71%). Photosynthetic pigments, including chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and carotenoids, also decreased significantly under salinity stress (41%, 63%, 55%, and 76%, respectively). Additionally, salinity stress increased oxidative damage, as evidenced by elevated hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde content (79% and 89%). Biochar, a carbon-rich material derived from the thermal decomposition of organic matter, has shown promise in mitigating these adverse effects. The study evaluated biochar applications at two concentrations: 8 g/kg soil (56 g) and 16 g/kg soil (112 g). Results indicated that biochar amendment effectively reduced oxidative damage by decreasing hydrogen peroxide and malondialdehyde activities by 56% and 59%, respectively. The activities of key antioxidant enzymes, such as catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD), were significantly enhanced by biochar applications under salinity stress (49%, 59%, and 86%, respectively). Non-enzymatic antioxidants, including anthocyanin and flavonoids, also improved by 112% and 67%. Furthermore, organic osmolytes like total soluble proteins, sugars, and glycine betaine increased by 57%, 83%, and 140%, respectively, due to biochar amendment. In terms of mineral ion uptake, salinity-stressed plants showed greater Na+ uptake in shoots and roots (144% and 73%). However, biochar-treated plants exhibited increased uptake of beneficial ions such as Ca2+ and K+ in both shoots and roots (175% and 119% for Ca2+; 77% and 146% for K+). The findings revealed that the higher concentration of biochar (16 g/kg soil) was particularly effective in reducing salinity toxicity. This was achieved by lowering reactive oxygen species and Na+ ion uptake in roots and shoots, thereby improving growth, physiological, and antioxidative activities in pea plants. These results align with previous studies that have explored various strategies to combat salinity stress in crops. For instance, the combined application of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and salicylic acid (SA) has been shown to alleviate salinity stress in maize by enhancing growth and physiological attributes[2]. Similarly, foliar spray of fullerol in wheat improved growth and physio-biochemical responses under salinity stress[3]. Seed priming with phytohormones has also emerged as a viable technique to enhance crop resilience against abiotic stresses[4]. Overall, the study from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, demonstrates that biochar amendment in soil is a promising strategy to mitigate the adverse effects of salinity stress on pea plants. By enhancing antioxidant activities, improving osmolyte accumulation, and optimizing ion compartmentalization, biochar can significantly improve the growth and productivity of pea plants under saline conditions. This research contributes valuable insights into sustainable agricultural practices aimed at enhancing crop resilience to abiotic stresses.

AgricultureEnvironmentPlant Science


Main Study

1) Investigating the growth promotion potential of  biochar on pea (Pisum sativum) plants under saline conditions.

Published 13th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Synergistic Effects of Rhizobacteria and Salicylic Acid on Maize Salt-Stress Tolerance.

3) Foliar applied fullerol differentially improves salt tolerance in wheat through ion compartmentalization, osmotic adjustments and regulation of enzymatic antioxidants.

4) Seed Priming with Phytohormones: An Effective Approach for the Mitigation of Abiotic Stress.

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