Biochar application for the remediation of trace metals in contaminated soils: Implications for stress tolerance and crop production

Fasih Ullah Haider, Xiukang Wang*, Muhammad Farooq, Saddam Hussain, Sardar Alam Cheema, Noor ul Ain, Ahmad Latif Virk, Mukkaram Ejaz, Uulzhan Janyshova, Cai Liqun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


In modern agriculture and globalization, the release of trace metals from manufacturing effluents hinders crop productivity by polluting the atmosphere and degrading food quality. Sustaining food safety in polluted soils is critical to ensure global food demands. This review describes the negative effects of trace metals stress on plant growth, physiology, and yield. Furthermore, also explains the potential of biochar in the remediation of trace metal's contaminations in plants by adoption of various mechanisms such as reduction, ion exchange, electrostatic forces of attraction, precipitation, and complexation. Biochar application enhances the overall productivity, accumulation of biomass, and photosynthetic activity of plants through the regulation of various biochemical and physiological mechanisms of plants cultivated under trace metals contaminated soil. Moreover, biochar scavenges the formation of reactive oxygen species, by activating antioxidant enzyme production i.e., ascorbate peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase, peroxidase, etc. The application of biochar also improves the synthesis of stressed proteins and proline contents in plants thus maintaining the osmoprotectant and osmotic potential of the plant under contaminates stress. Integrated application of biochar with other amendments i.e., microorganisms and plant nutrients to improve trace metal remediation potential of biochar and improving crop production was also highlighted in this review. Moreover, future research needs regarding the application of biochar have also been addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113165
Pages (from-to)113165
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Biochar
  • Oxidative stress
  • Remediation
  • Toxicity
  • Trace metals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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