Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Biochar versus hydrochar as growth media constituents for ornamental plant cultivation

Fornes, FernandoM. Belda, Rosa

ABSTRACT Biochar and hydrochar have been proposed as novel materials for providing soilless growth media. However, much more knowledge is required before reliable advice can be given on the use of these materials for this purpose. Depending on the material and the technology applied (pyrolysis or hydrothermal carbonization), phytotoxicity and greenhouse gas emissions have been found for certain chars. In this study, our aim was to assess the feasibility of three chars as substrate constituents. We compared two biochars, one from forest waste and the other from olive mill waste, and a hydrochar from forest waste. We studied how chars affected substrate characteristics, plant performance, water economy and respiratory CO2 emission. Substrates containing biochar from forest waste showed the best characteristics, with good air/water relationships and adequate electrical conductivity. Those with biochar from olive mill waste were highly saline and, consequently, low quality. The substrates with hydrochar retained too much water and were poorly aerated, presenting high CO2 concentrations due to high respiratory activity. Plants performed well only when grown in substrates containing a maximum of 25 % biochar from forest waste or hydrochar. After analyzing the char characteristics, we concluded that biochar from forest waste could be safely used as a substrate constituent and is environmentally friendly when applied due to its low salinity and low CO2 emission. However, biochar from olive mill waste and hydrochar need to be improved before they can be used as substrate constituents.

Texto completo