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Front Microbiol. 2016 Feb 25;7:209. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00209. eCollection 2016.

Biochar Treatment Resulted in a Combined Effect on Soybean Growth Promotion and a Shift in Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria.

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Institute for Landscape Biogeochemistry, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research M√ľncheberg, Germany.
Plant Production Department, Faculty of Food and Agricultural Sciences, King Saud University Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Institute of Environmental Biotechnology, Graz University of Technology Graz, Austria.


The application of biochar to soil is considered to have the potential for long-term soil carbon sequestration, as well as for improving plant growth and suppressing soil pathogens. In our study we evaluated the effect of biochar on the plant growth of soybeans, as well as on the community composition of root-associated bacteria with plant growth promoting traits. Two types of biochar, namely, maize biochar (MBC), wood biochar (WBC), and hydrochar (HTC) were used for pot experiments to monitor plant growth. Soybean plants grown in soil amended with HTC char (2%) showed the best performance and were collected for isolation and further characterization of root-associated bacteria for multiple plant growth promoting traits. Only HTC char amendment resulted in a statistically significant increase in the root and shoot dry weight of soybeans. Interestingly, rhizosphere isolates from HTC char amended soil showed higher diversity than the rhizosphere isolates from the control soil. In addition, a higher proportion of isolates from HTC char amended soil compared with control soil was found to express plant growth promoting properties and showed antagonistic activity against one or more phytopathogenic fungi. Our study provided evidence that improved plant growth by biochar incorporation into soil results from the combination of a direct effect that is dependent on the type of char and a microbiome shift in root-associated beneficial bacteria.


biochar; plant growth promoting rhizobacteria; rhizosphere; soybean

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