EFFECTS OF RICE HUSK BIOCHAR ON THE GROWTH CHARACTERISTICS, RHIZOSPHERIC MICROFLORA AND YIELD OF TOMATO PLANTS
Human activities have degenerated nearly 40% of the universe soil through excessive chemical inputs, tilling and industrial activities. Biochar can increase soil fecundity, agricultural producti- vity and protects soil-borne diseases. This study aimed to assess the efficacy of rice husk biochar on the growth and yield of tomato plants. Biochar was produced through feedstock (rice-husk) pyrolysis and used as soil amendments at different concentrations (20 t/ha and 40 t/ha) and an unamend soil served as control. Physicochemical properties of the soil, rice husk, biochar and biochar soil before and after planting were determined using standard methods. Rhizospheric microflora of the plants were isolated and identified based on morphological and biochemical characterizations. Agronomic parameters such as plant height, stem girth, leaf area, number of leaves, flowers, fruits and weight of fruits were determined. Results revealed that rice husk biochar (40 t/ha) had the highest physical and chemical parameters while the unamend soil had the lowest constituents. Predominant bacterium and fungus are Bacillus subtilis and Aspergillus niger. Agronomic parameters: plant heights, stem girths, leaf areas, number of leaves, flowers, fruits and weight of fruits were higher in all the amended soil than the control at the various growth stages. The unamend soil yielded no fruit at 10th week while the amended soil yielded an average fruit weight of 34.95g ± 8.76 and 21.53g ± 5.16 at 20 t/ha and 40 t/ha respectively. This study revealed that biochar produced from rice husk could be used to improve growth and yield of tomato plants.
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