How Biochar Helps Tomatoes Grow in Drought and Salty Conditions

May 10, 2024 | 0 comments

In arid regions where water is scarce, farmers face the challenge of growing crops with limited resources. Saline water, often the only available water source, can be detrimental to plant growth. However, a new study from Kunming University of Science and Technology[1] has shed light on how the application of biochar, a form of charcoal used to improve soil properties, can help tomatoes thrive under these challenging conditions.

The study focused on the tomato plant, Solanum lycopersicum, a staple in diets worldwide. Researchers set out to understand how different levels of water stress, combined with saline conditions, affected tomato growth and yield. They experimented with varying irrigation levels and water quality, and the addition of biochar to the soil.

Findings from the study indicated that both drought and saline conditions negatively impacted the physical growth and physiological functions of tomato plants. Parameters such as plant height, leaf area, and the rate of photosynthesis were all compromised when the plants were irrigated with only 40% or 60% of the water they needed. Saline water further exacerbated these effects.

However, when biochar was added to the soil, the adverse effects of both drought and saline stress were mitigated. Biochar improved the water-use efficiency and overall health of the plants, leading to better growth and higher yields. Specifically, tomato yield increased by varying percentages across different levels of water stress when compared to the control group without biochar.

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