Boosting Corn Health Against Toxic Metal Stress With Biochar and Growth Hormone

Greg Howard
17th March, 2024

Boosting Corn Health Against Toxic Metal Stress With Biochar and Growth Hormone

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Pakistan, biochar and gibberellic acid improved maize growth in cadmium-polluted soil
  • The treatment boosted plant health markers like germination, root/shoot length, and chlorophyll
  • It also increased defensive compounds, suggesting better stress tolerance in maize
Cadmium (Cd) contamination in soil is a significant environmental concern, particularly for crops like maize, which is a staple food in many regions. This toxic heavy metal can accumulate through various means, including industrial and agricultural activities, and pose health risks to both plants and consumers. A recent study from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur[1] has shed light on an innovative approach to combat this problem using biochar, a carbon-rich substance, and gibberellic acid (GA3), a plant growth regulator. Biochar is produced through the pyrolysis of organic matter, such as plant residues or manure, and has been recognized for its ability to improve soil health. It enhances soil structure, boosts nutrient retention, and supports beneficial microbial activity. Previous research has shown biochar's potential in immobilizing organic pollutants and reducing heavy metal toxicity in soils[2][3]. Moreover, GA3 is known to promote various plant growth processes, which could counteract the negative effects of Cd stress. The study at The Islamia University of Bahawalpur aimed to assess the combined effects of biochar and GA3 on maize plants grown in Cd-contaminated soil. Researchers applied 12 different treatment combinations to soil samples with varying levels of Cd contamination. They observed that the joint application of biochar and GA3 significantly improved several plant growth parameters, such as germination rate, root and shoot length, and chlorophyll content, even under conditions of Cd stress. Interestingly, the combined treatment also increased the levels of proteins and phenolics in the leaves, roots, and shoots of the maize plants. These biochemical compounds are indicative of the plant's defensive response to stress and suggest that the plants were better equipped to tolerate and mitigate the adverse effects of Cd. The findings are in line with previous studies that have highlighted the role of certain plant growth regulators in enhancing germination and growth under stress conditions[4]. Furthermore, the study noted an increase in malondialdehyde levels, a marker of oxidative stress, which could indicate that the plants were responding to the Cd contamination. However, the presence of biochar and GA3 seemed to provide a protective effect, allowing the plants to maintain better overall health compared to the control group. The research from The Islamia University of Bahawalpur aligns with prior findings that suggest biochar can play a crucial role in reducing the bioavailability of heavy metals like chromium in contaminated soils[5]. This study expands on those findings by demonstrating the combined benefits of biochar and GA3, offering a new perspective on how to enhance plant growth and resilience in polluted environments. In summary, the application of biochar and gibberellic acid emerges as a promising strategy to mitigate the detrimental effects of cadmium-induced stress in maize. This approach could pave the way for more sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring healthier crop yields and reducing the potential health risks associated with heavy metal contamination in our food supply.

BiochemPlant ScienceAgriculture


Main Study

1) Mitigation of cadmium-induced stress in maize via synergistic application of biochar and gibberellic acid to enhance morpho-physiological and biochemical traits.

Published 15th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Deashed Wheat-Straw Biochar as a Potential Superabsorbent for Pesticides.

3) Cadmium toxicity in plants: Impacts and remediation strategies.

4) Effects of various seed priming on morphological, physiological, and biochemical traits of rice under chilling stress.

5) Biochar Mediated-Alleviation of Chromium Stress and Growth Improvement of Different Maize Cultivars in Tannery Polluted Soils.

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