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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Biochar-plant interaction and detoxification strategies under abiotic stresses for achieving agricultural sustainability: A critical review

Hasnain, Maria; Munir, Neelma; Abideen, Zainul; Zulfiqar, Faisal; Koyro, Hans Werner; El-Naggar, Ali; Caçador, Isabel; Duarte, Bernardo; Rinklebe, Jörg; Yong, Jean W.H


The unpredictable climatic perturbations, the expanding industrial and mining sectors, excessive agrochemicals, greater reliance on wastewater usage in cultivation, and landfill leachates, are collectively causing land degradation and affecting cultivation, thereby reducing food production globally. Biochar can generally mitigate the unfavourable effects brought about by climatic perturbations (drought, waterlogging) and degraded soils to sustain crop production. It can also reduce the bioavailability and phytotoxicity of pollutants in contaminated soils via the immobilization of inorganic and/or organic contaminants, commonly through surface complexation, electrostatic attraction, ion exchange, adsorption, and co-precipitation. When biochar is applied to soil, it typically neutralizes soil acidity, enhances cation exchange capacity, water holding capacity, soil aeration, and microbial activity. Thus, biochar has been was widely used as an amendment to ameliorate crop abiotic/biotic stress. This review discusses the effects of biochar addition under certain unfavourable conditions (salinity, drought, flooding and heavy metal stress) to improve plant resilience undergoing these perturbations. Biochar applied with other stimulants like compost, humic acid, phytohormones, microbes and nanoparticles could be synergistic in some situation to enhance plant resilience and survivorship in especially saline, waterlogged and arid conditions. Overall, biochar can provide an effective and low-cost solution, especially in nutrient-poor and highly degraded soils to sustain plant cultivation.


Charcoal; Ecophysiology; Food security; Photosynthesis; Oxidative stress; Land degradation

Published in

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
2023, volume: 249, article number: 114408

Authors' information

Hasnain, Maria
Lahore College for Women University
Munir, Neelma
Lahore College for Women University
Abideen, Zainul
University of Karachi
Zulfiqar, Faisal
Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB)
Koyro, Hans Werner
Justus Liebig University Giessen
El-Naggar, Ali
Ain Shams University
Caçador, Isabel
University of Lisbon
Duarte, Bernardo
University of Lisbon
Rinklebe, Jörg
University of Wuppertal
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology

Associated SLU-program

SLU Network Plant Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG13 Climate action
SDG2 Zero hunger

UKÄ Subject classification

Soil Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)