Biochar effects on nutrients retention and release of hydroponics growth media

Haraz, Mohammed Taha and Bowtell, Les and Al-Juboori, Raed (2020) Biochar effects on nutrients retention and release of hydroponics growth media. Journal of Agricultural Science, 12 (7). ISSN 1916-9752

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Applying biochar (BC) to broad acre crops is an effective way to sequester carbon while improving soil fertility and reducing nutrient leaching. Adopting a similar approach in a hydroponic environment, BC may enhance nutrient availability and reduce natural fluctuations in the nutrient solution. This study monitored the effect of BC addition to peatmoss growth media with ratios of 0%, 5%, 25% and 50% on pH, electrical conductivity (EC) and macronutrient retention cycle over 15 days using hydroponic nutrient solution controls. Deionised water was used to measure nutrient releases in the closed loop hydroponic system, showing that biochar increased pH level in both retention and release stages. As expected, the pH increased by a maximum of 1.5 units with the highest biochar to growth media ratio due to the natural liming nature of the BC. The EC was also affected, as BC increased in the media EC reduced. With regards to retention of nutrients, BC recovered nitrate, phosphate, calcium and sulphate but did not affect magnesium. Potassium levels increased in solution with increasing BC ratio. In terms of outcomes relevant to global agriculture, the results show that the same level of production can nominally be obtained with the use of around half of the nutrients.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright for this article is retained by the author(s), with first publication rights granted to the journal. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Agricultural Engineering (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2021 05:56
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2021 01:25
Uncontrolled Keywords: biochar, hydroponics, macronutrients, release, retention
Fields of Research (2008): 05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050304 Soil Chemistry (excl. Carbon Sequestration Science)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050301 Carbon Sequestration Science
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050305 Soil Physics
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410604 Soil chemistry and soil carbon sequestration (excl. carbon sequestration science)
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410605 Soil physics
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