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

Jin ZHANG, Jianyun ZHANG, Minyan WANG, Shengchun WU, Hailong WANG, Nabeel Khan NIAZI, Yu Bon MAN, Peter CHRISTIE, Shengdao SHAN, Ming Hung WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: 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.
Conclusions: 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. Copyright © 2019 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.
JournalJournal of Soils and Sediments
Early online dateJan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2019


soil property
organic matter


Zhang, J., Zhang, J., Wang, M., Wu, S., Wang, H., Niazi, N. K., . . . Wong, M. H. (2019). Effect of tobacco stem-derived biochar on soil metal immobilization and the cultivation of tobacco plant. Journal of Soils and Sediments. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11368-018-02226-x


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