Effect of tobacco stem-derived biochar on soil metal immobilization and the cultivation of tobacco plant

  • Jin Zhang
  • Jianyun Zhang
  • Minyan WangEmail author
  • Shengchun Wu
  • Hailong Wang
  • Nabeel Khan Niazi
  • Yu Bon ManEmail author
  • Peter Christie
  • Shengdao Shan
  • Ming Hung Wong
Soils, Sec 3 • Remediation and Management of Contaminated or Degraded Lands • Research Article



Tobacco stems collected from tobacco cultivation fields were pyrolyzed to produce value-added biochar that was used to remediate metal-contaminated soil which was then used for tobacco cultivation. The feasibility of the scheme was evaluated.

Materials and methods

A pot experiment was carried out to assess the impacts of tobacco stem-derived biochar (TSB 0, 2, 4, and 8%) on tobacco growth and leaf yields, soil properties, the availability of soil Cr, Cu, and Pb, and the accumulation of the three metals in tobacco plants.

Results and discussion

Soil pH, organic matter content, and available phosphorus content increased with increasing application of TSB from 2 to 8% compared to the control (no biochar addition). In contrast, the acid-soluble and the reducible fractions of soil Cu and the reducible fraction of soil Pb and Cr decreased markedly, and the oxidizable fraction of the metals increased significantly with increasing application of TSB. This indicates that adding more TSB led to increasing immobilization of all three metals in the soil. Furthermore, both the number of tobacco leaves and the foliar biomass increased significantly with the addition of TSB to the soil. Based on our data, 4% is an economically suitable application rate of TSB for decreasing metal accumulation in plants and increasing tobacco leaf yields.


The results indicate that it is feasible to use biochar derived from tobacco stem waste to remediate metal-contaminated soils which can then be used for tobacco cultivation. This is very useful in the recycling of the waste biomass and for remediation of soil metal pollution.


Biochar Bioavailability Contaminated soils Potentially toxic metals Tobacco growth Tobacco stem waste 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (21777148, 21577131, 41501341), the Natural Science Foundation of Zhejiang Province (LQ17B070001, LY16D010011), the Key Science and Technology Special Project of Zhejiang Province (2015C02037, 2015C03019), the Techniques Research and Social Development Project of Zhejiang Province (2015C33050) and the Early Career Scheme Proposal, The Education University of Hong Kong (RG 38/2017-2018R).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zhejiang Province Key Laboratory of Recycling and Eco-treatment of Waste Biomass, School of Environment and Natural ResourcesZhejiang University of Science and TechnologyHangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Environmental and Resource SciencesZhejiang A&F UniversityHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Jiyang CollegeZhejiang A&F UniversityZhujiChina
  4. 4.Guangdong Province Biochar Engineering Technology Research Center, School of Environment and Chemical EngineeringFoshan UniversityFoshanChina
  5. 5.Institute of Soil and Environmental SciencesFaisalabad University of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  6. 6.Consortium on Health, Environment, Education and Research (CHEER), Department of Science and Environmental StudiesThe Education University of Hong KongTai PoChina

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