Biochar affects growth and biochemical activities of fenugreek (<i>Trigonella corniculata</i>) in cadmium polluted soil
Cadmium (Cd) has no defined biological role and may enter the food chain from polluted soils. Biochar has been proposed as an organic amendment to minimize the toxic effects of Cd for plants grown on contaminated soils. In this study, biometric and biochemical attributes of fenugreek (Trigonella corniculata) grown on artificially cadmium (Cd) contaminated soil (0, 25, 50, 75 and 100 mg Cd/kg soil) at three levels of cotton-sticks derived biochar (CSB; 0, 3 and 5 %) were studied. Data show significant decline in the growth, photosynthetic pigments (chlorophyll a, b and total, carotenoids, anthocyanin and lycopene), and physiological attributes (sub-stomatal CO2 concentrations, photosynthetic and transpiration rate) in the presence of high Cd concentrations (50 and 100 mg Cd/kg soil). However, the decline was reduced in the presence of CSB. A steady amplification in lipid peroxidation (assessed via Malondialdihyde (MDA)) and ascorbic-acid assembly was noted with increasing Cd. The concentration of Cd in the root and shoot also decreased with increasing CSB application rates from 3 % - 5 %.
Overall, the greater production of protein, amino acids and sugar contents in response to higher application rates of CSB seems to be due to alleviation in Cd toxicity. Thus, cotton-sticks can be safely utilized in the form of biochar as amendment with additional benefit of reducing Cd bioavailability and toxicity to crop plants.
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