Agronomic properties of wastewater sludge biochar and bioavailability of metals in production of cherry tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)

Mustafa K. Hossain, Vladimir Strezov*, K. Yin Chan, Peter F. Nelson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    320 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This work presents agronomic values of a biochar produced from wastewater sludge through pyrolysis at a temperature of 550 °C. In order to investigate and quantify effects of wastewater sludge biochar on soil quality, growth, yield and bioavailability of metals in cherry tomatoes, pot experiments were carried out in a temperature controlled environment and under four different treatments consisting of control soil, soil with biochar; soil with biochar and fertiliser, and soil with fertiliser only. The soil used was chromosol and the applied wastewater sludge biochar was 10 t ha -1. The results showed that the application of biochar improves the production of cherry tomatoes by 64% above the control soil conditions. The ability of biochar to increase the yield was attributed to the combined effect of increased nutrient availability (P and N) and improved soil chemical conditions upon amendment. The yield of cherry tomato production was found to be at its maximum when biochar was applied in combination with the fertiliser. Application of biochar was also found to significantly increase the soil electrical conductivity as well as phosphorus and nitrogen contents. Bioavailability of metals present in the biochar was found to be below the Australian maximum permitted concentrations for food.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1167-1171
    Number of pages5
    JournalChemosphere
    Volume78
    Issue number9
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

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