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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.02423

Soil amendment with different maize biochars improves chickpea growth under different moisture levels by improving symbiotic performance with Mesorhizobium ciceri and soil biochemical properties to varying degrees

 Dilfuza Egamberdieva1*,  Li Li2,  Hua Ma3,  Stephan J. Wirth3 and Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura3
  • 1Institute for Landscape Biogeochemistry, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany
  • 2Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (CAS), China
  • 3Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Germany

Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important legume originating in the Mediterranean and the Middle East and is now cultivated in several varieties throughout the world due to its high protein and fibre content as well as its potential health benefits. However, production is drastically affected by prevalent water stress in most soybean-growing regions. This study investigates the potential of biochar to affect chickpea-rhizobium symbiotic performance and soil biological activity in a pot experiment. Two different biochar types were produced from maize using different pyrolysis techniques, i.e., by heating at 600°C (MBC) and by batch-wise hydrothermal carbonization at 210°C (HTC), and used as soil amendments.
The plant biomass, plant nutrient concentration, nodule numbers, leghaemoglobin (Lb) content, soil enzyme activities, and nutrient contents of the grown chickpeas were examined. Our results indicated that plant root and shoot biomass, the acquisition of N, P, K and Mg, soil nutrient contents, soil alkaline and acid phosphomonoesterases, and proteases were significantly increased by HTC char application in comparison to MBC char under both irrigated and drought conditions. Furthermore, the application of both biochar types caused an increase in nodule number by 52% in irrigated and drought conditions by improving the symbiotic performance of chickpea with Mesorhizobium ciceri. Rhizobial inoculation combined with HTC char showed a positive effect on soil FDA activity, proteases and alkaline phosphomonoesterases under irrigated and drought conditions compared to the control or MBC char-amended soils. This concept, whereby the type of producing biochar plays a central role in the effect of the biochar, conforms to the fact that there is a link between biochar chemical and physical properties and enhanced plant nutrient acquisition, symbiotic performance and stress tolerance.

Keywords: Maize biochar, chickpea, Rhizobia, nutrient acquisition, Soil enzyme

Received: 05 Mar 2019; Accepted: 07 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Egamberdieva, Li, Ma, Wirth and Bellingrath-Kimura. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Dilfuza Egamberdieva, Leibniz Center for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Institute for Landscape Biogeochemistry, Müncheberg, 15374, Germany,