Biochar for sustainable agriculture: Nutrient dynamics, soil enzymes, and crop growth

Chathuri Peiris, Sameera R. Gunatilake, Jayani J. Wewalwela, Meththika Vithanage

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter is an attempt to bring together the knowledge centering the ubiquitous topic of sustainable agriculture and the impact biochar (BC) application has on the various attributes pertaining to it. With its growing fame as a soil amendment for cultivation purposes, BC is found to valorize soil nutrient and enzyme dynamics, bringing forth an enhancement in soil fertility. Biochar can act either as a direct or indirect nutrient source. Depending on the feedstock type and pyrolysis conditions employed, BC rich in bioavailable nutrients becomes a direct contributor to the soil nutrient pool. The indirect contribution, in contrast, includes altering the soil physiochemical properties such as pH, soil organic matter, water-holding capacity, water infiltration and soil aeration. Improved retention of micro and macro nutrients which minimizes the nutrient-leaching effect is also a discernible consequence of biochar utilization. Microorganisms, an intricate part of the soil ecosystem and a source of soil enzyme activity, are comprehensively studied to show what effects are posed as a sequel of BC implementation. The diverse means by which BC gets involved in elevating soil quality manages to procure the desired economic and environmental benefits anticipated of sustainable agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiochar from Biomass and Waste
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals and Applications
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780128117293
ISBN (Print)9780128117309
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes


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