Significance of pyrolytic temperature, application rate and incubation period of biochar in improving hydro-physical properties of calcareous sandy loam soil

Sci Rep. 2024 Mar 25;14(1):7012. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-57755-y.


Biochar is increasingly recognized for its ability to enhance hydro-physical properties of soil, offering promising solutions for improving soil structure, water retention, and overall agricultural productivity. In this study, sandy loam soil was amended at different rates (0, 15, 30, and 60 t ha-1) of biochar produced from olive pomace (Jift) at different pyrolysis temperatures (300, 400, 500, and 600 °C), and incubated for 30, 60, and 90 days. The biochar-amended soils were collected for analysis after each incubation period for infiltration rate, aggregate stability, soil water retention, water repellency, and penetration resistance. At 300 °C, aggregate stability increased with biochar amendments; the highest value (65%) was after 60 days of incubation. At other pyrolysis temperatures, aggregate stability decreased, or no effect of temperature was observed. Also, at 300 °C, the infiltration rate was decreased with biochar application and the lowest value of (0.14 ml/min) was at 90 days of incubation. At other pyrolysis temperatures, the infiltration rate was increased with increased biochar application rate. Water retention was increased with biochar application at 300 °C; however, biochar application did not affect water retention at other pyrolysis temperatures. These results strongly suggest the improvement of soil physical and hydraulic properties following the addition of biochar amendment. Overall, biochar had positive effects on hydro-physical properties. The biochar produced at 300 °C pyrolysis temperature was the most beneficial to agriculturally relevant hydraulic conditions. However, field assessments are necessary to evaluate the long-term effects of biochar on hydro-physical properties.

Keywords: Incubation; Olive pomace biochar; Soil amendment; Soil hydraulic properties; Soil structure.

MeSH terms

  • Charcoal / chemistry
  • Pyrolysis
  • Sand*
  • Soil* / chemistry
  • Temperature
  • Water


  • Soil
  • Sand
  • biochar
  • Charcoal
  • Water