Corn Cob and Corn Husk Biochars Enhance the Growth of Corn (Zea mays L.) in Fertilized Clay Loam Soil
Arsenio D. Bulfa, Jr., Gina Villegas-Pangga, and Amparo M. Wagan
Received: April 29, 2022/ Revised: March 14, 2023/ Accepted: March 22, 2023
Biochar is a carbon (C) rich material that improves soil quality, increases crop yield, and is produced from biomass pyrolysis under a limited oxygen environment. An experiment laid out in a split-plot, a completely randomized design (CRD) and was conducted to investigate the growth responses of corn-to-corn cob biochar (CCB) (15 t ha-1), and corn husk biochar (CHB) (15 t ha-1) in a Lipa clay loam soil (Typic Eutrudepts) applied with organic fertilizer (OF) (10 t ha-1) and inorganic fertilizer [recommended rate (RR):120 N;60 P2O5-60; K2O per ha]. The results showed that CCB and CHB are rich in macro- and micro-essential elements. The Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis showed the high average surface area, high pore radius, and pore volume of biochars. The field emission-transmission electron microscopy (FE-TEM) and X-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) showed a very high concentration of C (88 – 90%) and other elements (Cu, Na, K, Cl, S, Si, P, Ca, O) for the biochar. The CCB and CHB applied with organic and inorganic fertilizers improved the pH, EC, and nutrient status of the clay loam soil. This was evident in the enhanced growth of the plants (corn ear biomass, root biomass, and plant height) and increased leaf chlorophyll concentration. The CCB and CHB with organic and inorganic fertilizer applications are recommended for clay loam soil as they improve both the soil health and the plant growth.