Influence of biochar and microorganism co-application on stabilization of cadmium (Cd) and improved maize growth in Cd-contaminated soil

Fasih Ullah Haider, Muhammad Farooq, Muhammad Naveed, Sardar Alam Cheema, Noor ul Ain, Muhammad Arslan Salim, Cai Liqun*, Adnan Mustafa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Cadmium (Cd) is one the leading environmental contaminants. The Cd toxicity and its potential stabilization strategies have been investigated in the recent years. However, the combined effects of biochar and microorganisms on the adsorption of Cd and maize plant physiology, still remained unclear. Therefore, this experiment was conducted to evaluate the combined effects of biochar (BC) pyrolyzed from (maize-straw, cow-manure, and poultry-manure, and microorganisms [Trichoderma harzianum (fungus) and Bacillus subtilis (bacteria)], on plant nutrient uptake under various Cd-stress levels (0, 10, and 30 ppm). The highest level of Cd stress (30 ppm) caused the highest reduction in maize plant biomass, intercellular CO2, transpiration rate, water use efficiency, stomatal conductance, and photosynthesis rate as compared to control Cd0 (0 ppm). The sole application of BC and microorganisms significantly improved plant growth, intercellular CO2, transpiration rate, water use efficiency, stomatal conductance, and photosynthesis rate and caused a significant reduction in root and shoot Cd. However, the co-application of BC and microorganisms was more effective than the sole applications. In this regard, the highest improvement in plant growth and carbon assimilation, and highest reduction in root and shoot Cd was recorded from co-application of cow-manure and combined inoculation of Trichoderma harzianum (fungus) + Bacillus subtilis (bacteria) under Cd stress. However, due to the aging factor and biochar leaching alkalinity, the effectiveness of biochar in removing Cd may diminish over time, necessitating long-term experiments to improve understanding of biochar and microbial efficiency for specific bioremediation aims.

Original languageEnglish
Article number983830
Pages (from-to)983830
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - Sept 8 2022


  • biochar
  • cadmium toxicity
  • crop growth
  • plant physiology
  • soil pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

Cite this