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Biochar for delivery of agri-inputs: current status and future perspectives
journal contributionposted on 2020-02-10, 00:00 authored by P Sashidhar, M Kochar, B Singh, M Gupta, David CahillDavid Cahill, A Adholeya, M Dubey
Biochar, a carbonaceous porous material produced from the pyrolysis of agricultural residues and solid wastes has been widely used as a soil amendment. Recent publications on biochar are primarily focussed with its application in climatic aspects, contaminant immobilization, soil amendment strategies, nutrient recovery, engineered material production and waste-water treatment. Numerous studies have reported the positive attribute of biochar's nutrient value that helps in improving plant growth and fertilizer use efficiency. The renewability, low-cost, high porosity, high surface area and customizable surface chemistry of biochar offers ample prospect in several engineering applications, some of which needs significant attention. This review aims at systematically assessing the uses of biochar as a potential carrier material for delivery of agrochemicals and microbes. The key parameters of biochar that are crucial to assess the potential of any material to be used for delivery purposes are discussed. The parameters such as the physicochemical properties of biochar, the mechanistic aspects of adsorption and release of agrochemicals and microbes from biochar, comparative assessment of biochar over other carrier materials, long-term effects of biochar and the economic and environmental benefits of biochar are discussed in detail. At the end, a brief perspective has also been laid out to discuss how nano-interventions could further be helpful to tailor biochar properties useful for delivery applications.