Barley Straw Biochar and Compost Affect Heavy Metal Transport in Soil and Uptake by Potatoes Grown under Wastewater Irrigation

Ali Mawof, Shiv O. Prasher, Stéphane Bayen, Emma C. Anderson, Christopher Nzediegwu, Ramanbhai Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Wastewater can supplement freshwater in agriculture; however, it contains toxic heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium, and lead that are hazardous to humans and the environment. We investigated the effects of barley straw biochar, green and table waste compost, and their mix on heavy metal transport in soil and uptake by potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) irrigated with synthetic wastewater for two years. In both years, amending soil with compost significantly reduced (p ≤ 0.05) cadmium uptake in potato flesh, skin, roots, and stems; zinc uptake in potato skin and roots; and copper uptake in potato flesh due to increased soil cation-exchange capacity, dissolved organic carbon, and soil pH. Co-amending the soil with compost and 3% biochar significantly reduced (p ≤ 0.05) the bioavailability of cadmium, copper, and zinc in the contaminated soil. Relative to the non-amended soils, soil amendment with biochar, compost, and their mix affected neither the transport of chromium, iron, and lead in the soils nor their uptake by potatoes. It was concluded that amending soil with barley straw biochar and/or compost produced from city green table waste could be used to improve the safety of wastewater irrigated potatoes, depending on the biochar application rate and heavy metal type.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5665
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • heavy metals
  • plant uptake
  • potatoes
  • sandy soil
  • soil amendments
  • wastewater irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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