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Cattle manure compost and biochar supplementation improve growth of Onobrychis viciifolia in coal-mined spoils under water stress conditions

Roy, R., Núñez-Delgado, A., Wang, J., Kader, M.A., Sarker, T., Hasan, A.K. and Dindaroglu, T. (2021) Cattle manure compost and biochar supplementation improve growth of Onobrychis viciifolia in coal-mined spoils under water stress conditions. Environmental Research, 205 . Art. 112440.

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Surface mining is a critical anthropogenic activity that significantly alters the ecosystem, while the use of appropriate revegetation techniques can be considered an important and feasible strategy in the way to improve the ecosystem services of degraded land. In the present study, we carried out a pot experiment to investigate the effects of three different variables on morpho-physiological and biochemical parameters of Onobrychis viciifolia to assess the capability of this species to be used for restoration purposes. Specifically, the variables studied were: (a) water (W) regime, working at five values as regards field capacity (FC) (i.e., 80% FC = highest, 72% FC = high, 60% FC = moderate, 48% FC = low, and 40% FC = very-low dose); and (b) rates of cattle manure compost (CMC) and wood biochar (BC) (weight/weight ratio), working at five rates (i.e., 4.0% = highest, 3.2% = high, 2.0% = moderate, 0.8% = low, and 0% = either no-CMC or no-BC dose). In addition, soil physical-chemical properties and enzyme activities were also investigated at the end of the experimental period. It was found that morphological growth attributes such as plant height, maximum root length, and dry biomass significantly increased with W, CMC and BC applications. Compared to control, moderate-to-high W, CMC and BC doses (W80CMC2BC2) increased net photosynthesis rate (by 42%), stomatal conductance (by 50%), transpiration rate (by 29%), water use efficiency (by 10%), chlorophyll contents (by 73%), carotenoid content (by 81%), leaf relative water content (by 33%) and leaf membrane stability index (by 30%). Under low-W content, the application of CMC and BC enhanced osmotic adjustments by increasing the content of soluble sugar and the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase, peroxidase and ascorbate peroxidase, decreasing the oxidative stress, as verified by low levels of hydrogen peroxide, superoxide anion, malondialdehyde and proline contents in leaf tissues. Moreover, application of W, CMC and BC significantly improved soil water holding capacity, available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, urease and catalase activities, which facilitate plant growth. These results would aid in designing an appropriate strategy for achieving a successful revegetation of O. viciifolia, providing optimum doses of W (64% field capacity), CMC (2.4%) and BC (1.7%), with the final aim of reaching ecological restoration in arid degraded lands.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier Inc.
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