Mitigating the Harmful Effect of Salinity on Maize Plants Using Fish Waste-Derived Biochar

Heba Sallam *

Botany and Microbiology Department, Faculty of Science, South Valley University, Qena, Egypt.

Mervat Abdel Nasser

Students of Professional Diploma in Plant Clinic and Phytosanitary Tecnologies, Egypt.

Hager Mohamed

Students of Professional Diploma in Plant Clinic and Phytosanitary Tecnologies, Egypt.

Marwa Bahy

Students of Professional Diploma in Plant Clinic and Phytosanitary Tecnologies, Egypt.

Hager Khalil

Students of Professional Diploma in Plant Clinic and Phytosanitary Tecnologies, Egypt.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


Aim: This study was conducted to determine if applying biochar made from fish waste to the soil can alleviate the adverse impacts of salinity stress on maize (Zea mays L.) seedling growth.

Materials and Methods: Maize plants were cultivated in two groups of pots; the first group had the soil without any additions, and the second group had the soil mixed with biochar (1% w/w). Each group was irrigated with saline water (0, 50 and 150 mM NaCl).

Results: According to the findings, Zea mays exposed to salt stress showed a significant decrease in growth traits such as shoot and root length, fresh weight, and dry weight of shoot and root, compared to untreated control. The addition of biochar significantly enhanced these attributes. As salinity levels increased, the value of photosynthetic pigments gradually declined. Applying biochar to the soil significantly increased the amounts of Chl a, Chl b, and carotenoid. Salt-stressed seedlings treated with biochar have lower levels of soluble sugars, soluble proteins, and total free amino acids at 150 mM NaCl + FWB of the shoot. The findings demonstrate that applying biochar to salt-stressed seedlings caused their proline content to increase noticeably at the highest salinity level (150 mM NaCl). The contents of Na+ and Cl- were positively affected by increasing salt stress. Increasing salt stress had a deleterious impact on K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ levels. On the other hand, applying FWB raised the content of K+, Ca2+, and Mg2+ while decreasing the amounts of Na+ and Cl-.

Conclusion: Biochar made from fish waste has the potential to reduce salinity stress significantly.

Keywords: Saline water, biochar, photosynthesis, plant growth, maize seedlings

How to Cite

Sallam , Heba, Mervat Abdel Nasser, Hager Mohamed, Marwa Bahy, and Hager Khalil. 2023. “Mitigating the Harmful Effect of Salinity on Maize Plants Using Fish Waste-Derived Biochar”. Asian Journal of Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 15 (3):20-31.


Download data is not yet available.


Al-Fredan MA. Effect of treated municipal waste water and Rhizobia strains on growth and nodulation of faba bean (Vicia faba L. cv. Hassawi). Pak. J. Biol. Sci. 2008;9:1960-1964.

Shrivastava P, Kumar R. Soil salinity: A serious environmental issue and plant growth promoting bacteria as one of the tools for its alleviation. Saudi J. Biol. Sci. 2015;22:123–131.

Kim HS, Kim KR, Yang JE, Ok YS, Owens G, Nehls T, Wessolek G, Kim KH. Effect of biochar on reclaimed tidal land soil properties and maize (Zea mays L.) response. Chemosphere. 2016;142:153–159.

Panuccio M, Jacobsen SE, Akhtar SS, Muscolo A. Effect of saline water on seed germination and early seedling growth of the halophyte quinoa. AoB Plants .2014;6. DOI: 10.1093/ aobpla/plu047

Zörb C, Geilfus CM, Dietz KJ. Salinity and crop yield. Plant Biol. 2019;21:31-38.

Zohry1 A, Ouda S, Noreldin T. Solutions for maize production-consumption gap in egypt. Fourth African regional conference. 2016;13.

Inoue M. Salinization status and salt removal techniques. Geotech. Eng. 2012;60:12–15.

Shams M, Ekinci M, Ors S, Turan M, Agar G, Kul R, Yildirim E. Nitric oxide mitigates salt stress effects of pepper seedlings by altering nutrient uptake, Enzyme activity and osmolyte accumulation. Physiol Mol Biol Plants. 2019;25(5):1149–1161. DOI: 10.1007/s12298-019-00692-2

Meena MD, Yadav RK, Narjary B, Yadav G, Jat H, Sheoran P, Meena MK, Antil R, Meena B, Singh H. Municipal solid waste (MSW): Strategies to improve salt affected soil sustainability: A review. 2019;38-53.

Parkash V, Singh S. Potential of biochar application to mitigate salinity stress in eggplant. HortScience. 2020;1:1–10. DOI: 10.21273/ HORTSCI15398-20.

Qayyum MF, Abid M, Danish S, Saeed MK, Ali MA. Effects of various biochars on seed germination and carbon mineralization in an alkaline soil. Pak. J. Agric. Sci. 2015;51:977–982.

Mazac R. Assessing the use of food waste biochar as a biodynamic plant fertilizer. Departmental Honors Projects. 2016;43.

Akhtar SS, Andersen MN, Liu F. Biochar mitigates salinity stress in potato. J Agron Crop Sci. 2015;201:368–378.

DOI: 10.1111/jac.12132

Laird D, Fleming P, Wang B, Horton R, Karlen D. Biochar impact on nutrient leaching from a midwestern agricultural soil. Geoderma. 2010;158(3–4):436–442.

DOI: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2010.05.012

Lu W, Ding W, Zhang J, Zhang H, Luo J, Bolan N. Nitrogen amendment stimulated decomposition of maize straw-derived biochar in a sandy loam soil: A short-term study. Plos One. 2015;1–16. DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0133131

Sparks DL, Page AL, Helmke PA, Loeppert RH, Soltanpour PN, Tabatabai MA, Johnston CT, Sumner ME. Methods of soil analysis. Part 3 - chemical methods. Soil Science Society of America Inc; 1996.

Burt R. Soil survey laboratory methods manual; Soil survey investigations report, No. 42, Version 4.0; Natural resources conservation service, United States Department of Agriculture: Washington, DC, USA; 2004.

Parkinson JA, Allen SE. A wet oxidation procedure suitable for the determination of nitrogen and mineral nutrients in biological materials. Commun. Soil Sci. Plan. 1975;6:1–11.

Metzner H, Rau H, Senger H. To synchronsiser bakeeit investigations of individual pigment deficiency mutants of chlorella. Planta. 1965;65:186-194.

Badour SSA. Analytical-chemical investigation of potassium deficiency in Chlorella in comparison with other deficiencies. Ph.D. Dissertation, Göttingen University, Göttingen, Germany; 1959.

Bradford MM. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein binding. Anal. Biochem. 1976;72:248–254.

Lee YP, Takahashi T. An improved colorimetric determination of amino acids with the use of ninhydrin. Anal. Biochem. 1966;14:71–77.

Bates LS, Wladren PR, Tear DT. Rapid determination of free proline for water-stress studies. Plant and Soil. 1973;39:205–207.

Williams V, Twine S. Flame photometric method for sodium, potassium and calcium, In : Modern Methods of Plant Analysis. Eds. K. Peach and M. V. Tracey. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 1960;3–5.

Bower CA, Hatcher JT. Characterization of salt-affected soils with respect to sodium. Soil Science. 1962;93:275–280.

Cotlove E. Determination of Cl-in biological material. In: Glick D, Ed. Methods of Biochemical Analysis. Interscience Pub New York. 1965;277-392.

Kaya C, Akram NA, Ashraf M, Sonmez O. Exogenous application of humic acid mitigates salinity stress in maize (Zea mays L.) plants by improving some key physico-biochemical attributes. Cereal Res. Commun. 2018;46(1):67-78.

Ashraf MA, Akbar A, Askari SH, Iqbal M, Rasheed R, Hussain I. Recent advances in abiotic stress tolerance of plants through chemical priming: An overview. In: Advances in Seed Priming. 2018;51-79.

Akladious SA, Hanafy RS. Alleviation of oxidative effects of salt stress in white lupine (Lupinus termis L.) plants by foliar treatment with L- arginine. J. Anim. Plant Sci. 2018;28(1):165-176.

Akhtar SS, Andersen MN, Liu F. Residual effects of biochar on improving growth, physiology and yield of wheat under salt stress. Agric. Water Manag. 2015;158:61-68.

Abiven S, Hund A, Martinsen V, Cornelissen G. Biochar amendment increases maize root surface areas and branching: a shovelomics study in Zambia. Plant and Soil. 2015;395(1):45-55.

Hasan MM, Ali MA, Soliman MH, Alqarawi AA, Abd-Allah EF, Fang XW. Insights into 28- homobrassinolide (HBR)-mediated redox homeostasis, AsA–GSH cycle, and methyl glyoxal detoxification in soybean under drought-induced oxidative stress. J. Plant Interactions. 2020;15(1):371-385.

Husen A, Iqbal M, Aref IM. Plant growth and foliar characteristics of faba bean (Vicia faba L.) as affected by indole-acetic acid under water-sufficient and water deficient conditions. J. Environ. Biol. 2017;38:179-186.

Abd_Allah EF, Hashem A, Alqarawi AA, Bahkali AH, Alwhibi MS. Enhancing growth performance and systemic acquired resistance of medicinal plant Sesbania sesban (L.) Merr using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi under salt stress. Saudi J. Biol. Sci. 2015;22:274–283.

Kundu P, Gill R, Ahlawat S, Anjum NA, Sharma KK, Ansari AA, Gill SS. Targeting the redox regulatory mechanisms for abiotic stress tolerance in crops. In: Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Avenues for Combating Abiotic Stress Tolerance in Plants. Wani S.H. (Ed.). Academic Press. 2018;151-220.

Tang X, Mu X, Shao H, Wang H, Brestic M. Global Plant- responding Mechanisms to Salt Stress: Physiological and Molecular Levels and Implications in Biotechnology. Crit. Rev. Biotechnol. 2015;35(4):425–437.

DOI: 10.3109/07388551.2014.889080

Kanwal S, Ilyas N, Shabir S, Saeed M, Gul R, Zahoor M, Batool N, Mazhar R. Application of biochar in mitigation of negative effects of salinity stress in wheat (Triticum Aestivum L.). Journal of Plant Nutrition. 2018;41(4):526–538. DOI: 10.1080/01904167.2017.1392568

Akhtar SS, Andersen MN, Liu F. Residual effects of biochar on improving growth, Physiology and yield of wheat under salt stress. Agric. Water Manag. 2015;158:61–68. DOI: 10.1016/j. agwat.2015.04.010

Karabay U, Toptas A, Yanik J, Aktas L. Does biochar alleviate salt stress impact on growth of salt-sensitive crop common bean. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 2021;52(5):456–469. DOI: 10.1080/00103624.2020.1862146

Farooq A, Bukhari SA, Akram NA, Ashraf M, Wijaya L, Alyemeni, MN, Ahmad P. Exogenously applied ascorbic acid-mediated changes in osmoprotection and oxidative defense system enhanced water stress tolerance in different cultivars of safflower (Carthamus tinctorious L.). Plants. 2020;9(1):104.

Kapoor K, Srivastava A. Assessment of salinity tolerance of Vigna mungo var.Pu-19 using ex vitro and in vitro methods. Asian J. Biotechnol. 2010;2(2):73-85.

Fahad S, Hussain S, Matloob A, Khan FA, Khaliq A, Saud S, Faiq M. Phytohormones and plant responses to salinity stress. Plant Growth Regulation. 2015;75(2):391-404.

Amirjani MR. Effect of salinity stress on growth, sugar content, pigments and enzyme activity of rice. Int. J. Botany. 2011;7(1):73-81.

Tekle AT, Alemu MA. Drought tolerance mechanisms in field crops. World J. Biol. Med. Sciences. 2016;3(2):15-39.

Desoky ESM, Elrys AS, Mansour E, Eid RS, Selem E, Rady MM, Ali EF, Mersal GA, Semida WM. Application of biostimulants promotes growth and productivity by fortifying the antioxidant machinery and suppressing oxidative stress in faba bean under various abiotic stresses. Sci. Hortic. 2021;288:110340.

Osman MEH, Awatif A Mohsen, Afaf A Nessem, Mohamed S El-sakkaand, Walaa A Mohamed. Evaluation of biochar as a soil amendment for alleviating the harmful effect of salinity on Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp. Egypt. J. Bot. 2019;59(3):617-631.

Kaur D, Grewal S, Kaur J, Singh S. Differential proline metabolism in vegetative and reproductive tissues determine drought tolerance in chickpea. Biol. Plant. 2017;61(2):359-366.

Iqbal N, Umar S, Khan NA. Nitrogen availability regulates proline and ethylene production and alleviates salinity stress in mustard (Brassica juncea). J. Plant Physiol. 2015;178:84-91.

Ali S, Rizwan M, Qayyum MF, Ok YS, Ibrahim M, Riaz M, Shahzad AN. Biochar soil amendment on alleviation of drought and salt stress in plants: a critical review. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 2017;1-13.

Naveed M, Sajid H, Mustafa A, Niamat B, Ahmad Z, Yaseen M, Chen JT. Alleviation of salinity-induced oxidative stress, improvement in growth, physiology and mineral nutrition of canola (Brassica napus L.) through calcium-fortified composted animal manure. Sustainability. 2020;12(3): 846.