Effects of Biochar Derived from Maize Stover and Rice Straw on the Germination of their Seeds
American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry
Volume 2, Issue 6, November 2014, Pages: 246-249
Received: Jun. 19, 2014; Accepted: Jul. 8, 2014; Published: Oct. 30, 2014
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Authors
Alie Kamara, Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture, Njala Campus, Njala University, Sierra Leone
Abibatu Kamara, Extension Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone
Mary Mankutu Mansaray, Extension Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Sierra Leone
Patrick Andrew Sawyerr, Soil Science Department, School of Agriculture, Njala Campus, Njala University, Sierra Leone
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Abstract
Although there has been an increased focus on the use of biochar for improving soil fertility and mitigating climate change, some biochars have been reported to contain substances that affect germination and seedling growth negatively. It is therefore necessary to evaluate any biochar material for its effect on seed germination before large scale applications. This study was therefore undertaken to assess the effects of (i) biochar derived from maize stover on maize seed germination and (ii) biochar derived from rice straw on rice seed germination. Seeds of maize (Zea maize L.) and rice (Oryza sativa) were sown separately to soils treated with increasing levels of biochar derived from maize and rice residues respectively. The experiment was conducted using a completely randomized design involving five biochar treatments: 0 g (control), 1.25g, 2.50g, 3.75g and 5.00g each mixed with 300g of a fine sandy loam soil in Sierra Leone. Results of the germination test showed that most of the maize seeds (>80%) germinated by day3 and there was no significant difference in the number of maize seeds germinated on day 7. On the other hand, few rice seeds germinated on day3 (35%) and was significantly greater than the number of the rice seeds (>90%) germinated on day 7. However, even though the number of maize or rice seeds germinated on biochar treated soils was higher than the control, the difference was not significant. Also, no significant differences in root lengths were observed between the control and biochar treatments at day 7 for both plants. However, maize shoot length differed significantly from the control whereas rice shoot length did not. The results showed that sowing seeds of maize and rice on soils treated with biochar derived from their crop residues had no adverse effect on germination. These findings hold great potential for improved and sustainable maize and rice cultivation in Sierra Leone.
Keywords
Biochar, Rice Straw, Maize Stover, Germination
To cite this article
Alie Kamara, Abibatu Kamara, Mary Mankutu Mansaray, Patrick Andrew Sawyerr, Effects of Biochar Derived from Maize Stover and Rice Straw on the Germination of their Seeds, American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. Vol. 2, No. 6, 2014, pp. 246-249. doi: 10.11648/j.ajaf.20140206.12
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