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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Promising pepper production

Biochar potential in intensive cultivation of Capsicum anuum L. (sweet pepper): Crop yield and plant protection

Authors


Abhay Kumar, Yigal Elad, Ludmila Tsechansky, Vikas Abrol, Beni Lew, Rivka Offenbach, Ellen R. Graber

Abstract




BACKGROUND

The influence of various biochars on crop yield and disease resistance of Capsicum anuumL. (sweet pepper) under modern, high-input, intensive net house cultivation was tested over the course of 2011 to 2014 in the Arava desert region of Israel. A pot experiment with Lactuca sativa L. (lettuce) grown in the absence of fertilizer employed the 3-year old field trial soils to determine if biochar treatments contributed to soil intrinsic fertility.

RESULTS

Biochar amendments resulted in a significant increase in number and weight of pepper fruits over three years. Concomitant to the increased yield, biochar significantly decreased the severity of powdery mildew (Leveillula taurica) disease and broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) pest infestation. Biochar additions resulted in increased soil organic matter but did not influence the pH, electrical conductivity, or soil or plant mineral nutrients. Intrinsic fertility experiments with lettuce showed that 2 of the 4 biochar-treated field soils had significant positive impacts on lettuce fresh weight, and total chlorophyll, carotenoids and anthocyanins content.

CONCLUSION

Biochar-based soil management can enhance functioning of intensive, commercial, net house production of peppers under the tested conditions, resulting in increased crop yield and plant resistance to disease over several years.

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