Arabian Journal of Geosciences

, 12:563 | Cite as

Comparative effect of mesquite biochar, farmyard manure, and chemical fertilizers on soil fertility and growth of onion (Allium cepa L.)

  • Mumtaz Khan
  • Kaneez Fatima
  • Rehan Ahmad
  • Rafia Younas
  • Muhammad Rizwan
  • Muhammad Azam
  • Zain ul Abadin
  • Shafaqat AliEmail author
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Implications of Biochar Application to Soil Environment under Arid Conditions


Mesquite (Prosopis juliflora L.), a noxious weed, needs control and effective utilization for agronomical purposes. A field experiment was conducted to compare the effects of mesquite biochar (MB, 10 tons ha−1), farmyard manure (FYM, 10 tons ha−1), and NPK fertilizers (120:80:80 kg ha−1) on physicochemical attributes of soil and onion traits. Characterization analysis revealed that MB has greater pH (8.6) and EC (0.45 dS/m−1) than FYM (8.1 and 0.24 dS/m−1). Further, pyrolysis produced irregularly shaped mesquite biochar particles embedded with micropores of variant sizes. Soil analysis showed that MB had greater EC (1.47 dS/m−1) than FYM (1.42 dS/m−1) and NPK fertilizers (1.41 dS/m−1). Similarly, MB significantly improved water holding capacity of the soil and contributed more organic matter (0.58%) and NO3–N (2.02 mg kg−1) than other treatments. However, no significant effect of MB treatment was observed on soil Olsen-P. Further, maximum bulb weight (6.13 kg plot−1), leaf length (32.38 cm), total onion yield (268.55 kg ha−1), and total N and K contents in onion bulb were also observed in the plots treated with MB as compared with FYM and NPK fertilizers. In conclusion, MB is a suitable organic amendment to improve soil fertility and plant growth, and may be included in fertilization programs to improve crops yield.


Soil fertility Organic amendment Crop yield Fertilizers 


Funding information

This study was funded by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mumtaz Khan
    • 1
  • Kaneez Fatima
    • 2
  • Rehan Ahmad
    • 1
  • Rafia Younas
    • 1
  • Muhammad Rizwan
    • 3
  • Muhammad Azam
    • 4
  • Zain ul Abadin
    • 5
  • Shafaqat Ali
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Environmental ScienceGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Soil ScienceGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Sciences and EngineeringGovernment College UniversityFaisalabadPakistan
  4. 4.Institute of Horticultural SciencesUniversity of AgricultureFaisalabadPakistan
  5. 5.Department of HorticultureGomal UniversityDera Ismail KhanPakistan

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