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Wheat and maize-derived water-washed and unwashed biochar improved the nutrients phytoavailability and the grain and straw yield of rice and wheat: A field trial for sustainable management of paddy soils, Korai, Punhoon Khan, Sial Tanveer Ali, Pan Genxing, Abdelrahman Hamada, Sikdar Ashim, Kumbhar Farhana, Channa Siraj Ahmed, Ali Esmat F., Zhang Jianguo, Rinklebe Jörg, et al. , Journal of Environmental Management, 2021, Volume 297, p.113250, (2021) AbstractWebsite

A field experiment was carried out to evaluate the effects of different biochars on grain yield and phytoavailability and uptake of macro- and micro-nutrients by rice and wheat grown in a paddy soil in a rotation. Soil was treated with i) maize raw (un-washed) biochar (MRB), ii) maize water-washed biochar (MWB), iii) wheat raw biochar (WRB) or iv) wheat water-washed biochar (WWB) and untreated soil was used as control (CF). Inorganic fertilizers were applied to all soils while biochar treated soils received 20 ton ha−1 of designated biochar before rice cultivation in rice-wheat rotation. The WRB significantly (P < 0.05) increased rice grain yield and straw by up to 49%, compared to the CF. Biochar addition, particularly WRB, significantly increased the availability of N, P, K and their content in the grain (26–37%) and straw (22–37%) of rice and wheat. Also, the availability and grain content of Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu increased significantly after biochar addition, particularly after the WRB, due to WRB water dissolved C acting as a carrier for micronutrients in soil and plant. However, the water-washing process altered biochar properties, particularly the water extractable C, which decreased its efficiency. Both wheat- and maize-derived biochars, particularly the WRB, are recommended to improve nutrients availability and to improve grain yield in the rice-wheat rotation agro-ecosystem. These results shed light on the importance of crop straw transformation into an important source for soil C and nutrients necessary for sustainable management of wheat-rice agro-ecosystem. However, with the current and future alternative energy demands, the decision on using crop biomass for soil conservation or for bioenergy becomes a challenge reliant on regulatory and policy frameworks.

Sustainable applications of rice feedstock in agro-environmental and construction sectors: A global perspective, Shaheen, Sabry M., Antoniadis Vasileios, Shahid Muhammad, Yang Yi, Abdelrahman Hamada, Zhang Tao, Hassan Noha E. E., Bibi Irshad, Niazi Nabeel Khan, Younis Sherif A., et al. , Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2022, Volume 153, p.111791, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Rice is second only to maize among the world's most important cereal crops, with a global harvested area of approximately 158 million hectares and an annual production of more than 700 million tonnes as paddy rice. At this scale, rice production generates vast amounts of waste in the form of straw, husk, and bran. Because of high cellulose, lignin, and silica contents, rice biowaste (RB) can be used to produce rice biochar (RBC) and rice compost (RC). Furthermore, RB can be used as sorbents, soil conditioners, bricks/concrete blocks, flat steel products, and biofuels, all of which make significant contributions to meeting United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Although previous reviews have explored individual applications of rice feedstocks, inadequate attention has been paid to multifunctional values and potential multi-utilities. Here, we offer a comprehensive review of RBC and RC with respect to: (1) preparation and characterization; (2) applications as soil conditioners and organic fertilizers and their effects on soil-carbon sequestration; (3) remediation of toxic element–contaminated soils and water; (4) removal of colors, dyes, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, personal-care products, and residual pesticides from water; and (5) applications in the construction industry. Specifically, we describe the opportunities for the sustainable use of RBC and RC in the management of contaminated soils and water as well as the construction industry. Overall, this review is expected to lengthen the list of possible multifunctional applications of RBC and RC.

Streptomyces pactum addition to contaminated soils improved soil quality and plant growth and enhanced metals phytoextraction: A trial for green remediation and sustainable management of mining soils, Ali, Amjad, Guo Di, Li Yiman, Shaheen Sabry M., Wahid Fazli, Antoniadis Vasileios, Abdelrahman Hamada, Al-Solaimani Samir G., Li Ronghua, Tsang Daniel C. W., et al. , Chemosphere, 2021, Volume 273, p.129692, (2021) AbstractWebsite

Streptomyces pactum (Act12), an agent of a gentle in situ remediation approach, has been recently used in few works in phytoextraction trials; however, the impact of Act12 on soil quality and metal phytoavailability has not been assessed in multi-metal contaminated soils. Consequently, here we assessed the potential impact of Act12 on the wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) growth, antioxidants activity, and the metal bioavailability in three industrial and mining soils collected from China and contained up to 118, 141, 339, and 6625 mg Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn kg–1 soil, respectively. The Act12 was applied at 0 (control), 0.75 (Act-0.75), 1.50 (Act-1.5), and 2.25 (Act-2.25) g kg–1 (dry weight base) to the three soils; thereafter, the soils were cultivated with wheat (bio-indicator plant) in a pot experiment. The addition of Act12 (at Act-1.5 and Act-2.25) promoted wheat growth in the three soils and significantly increased the content of Cd, Cu, and Zn in the roots and shoots and Pb only in the roots (up to 121%). The Act12-induced increase in metals uptake by wheat might be attributed to the associated decrease in soil pH and/or the increase of metal chelation and production of indole acetic acid and siderophores. The Act12 significantly decreased the antioxidant activities and lipid peroxidation in wheat, which indicates that Act12 may mitigate metals stress in contaminated soils. Enhancing metals phytoextraction using Act12 is a promising ecofriendly approach for phytoremediation of metal-contaminated mining soils that can be safely utilized with non-edible plants and/or bioenergy crops.

Soil organic carbon changes during transition from conventional to organic farming management., Abdelrahman, H. M., Cocozza C., Olk D., Vonella A. V., Montemurro F. P., and Miano T. M. , the XXIX convegno nazionale, "relazione suolo-pianta e qualita' delle produzioni. 21-23 Sep 2011, Bari, p.40, (2011)
The significance of eighteen rice genotypes on arsenic accumulation, physiological response and potential health risk, Niazi, Nabeel Khan, Hussain Muhammad Mahroz, Bibi Irshad, Natasha, Shahid Muhammad, Ali Fawad, Iqbal Jibran, Shaheen Sabry M., Abdelrahman Hamada, Akhtar Waseem, et al. , Science of The Total Environment, 2022, Volume 832, p.155004, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Rice is an important food crop that is susceptible to arsenic (As) contamination under paddy soil conditions depending on As uptake characteristics of the rice genotypes. Here we unveiled the significance of eighteen (fine and coarse) rice genotypes against As accumulation/tolerance, morphological and physiological response, and antioxidant enzymes-enabled defense pathways. Arsenic significantly affected rice plant morphological and physiological attributes, with relatively more impacts on fine compared to coarse genotypes. Grain, shoot, and root As uptake were lower in fine genotypes (0.002, 0.020, and 0.032 mg pot−1 DW, respectively) than that of coarse (0.031, 0.60, and 1.2 mg pot−1 DW, respectively). Various biochemical (pigment contents, hydrogen peroxide, lipid peroxidation) and defense (antioxidant enzymes) plant parameters indicated that the fine genotypes, notably Kainat and Basmati-385, possessed the highest As tolerance. Arsenic-induced risk indices exhibited greater hazard quotient (up to 1.47) and carcinogenic risk (up to 0.0066) for coarse genotypes compared to the fine ones, with the greatest risk for KSK-282. This study elaborates the pivotal role of genotypic variation among rice plants in As accumulation, which is crucial for mitigating the associated human health risk. Further research is required on molecular aspects, e.g., genetic sequencing, to examine rice genotypes variation in defense mechanisms to As contamination.

Removal of toxic elements from aqueous environments using nano zero-valent iron- and iron oxide-modified biochar: a review, Shaheen, Sabry M., Mosa Ahmed, Natasha, Abdelrahman Hamada, Niazi Nabeel Khan, Antoniadis Vasileios, Shahid Muhammad, Song Hocheol, Kwon Eilhann E., and Rinklebe Jörg , BIOCHAR, 2022, Volume 4, Issue 1, p.24, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Biochar (BC) has gained attention for removal of toxic elements (TEs) from aqueous media; however, pristine biochar often exhibits low adsorption capability. Thus, various modification strategies in BC have been developed to improve its removal capability against TEs. Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) and iron oxides (FeOx) have been used as sorbents for TE removal. However, these materials are prone to agglomeration and also expensive, which make their usage limited for large-scale applications. The nZVI technical demerits could be resolved by the development of BC-based composite sorbents through the loading of nZVI or FeOx onto BC surface. Nano zero-valent iron modified BC (nZVIBC), FeOx-modified BC (FeOxBC) have attracted attention for their capability in removing pollutants from the aqueous phases. Nonetheless, a potential use of nZVIBC and FeOxBC for TE removal from aqueous environments has not been well-realized or reviewed. As such, this article reviews: (i) the preparation and characterization of nZVIBC and FeOxBC; (ii) the capacity of nZVIBC and FeOxBC for TE retention in line with their physicochemical properties, and (iii) TE removal mechanisms by nZVIBC and FeOxBC. Adopting nZVI and FeOx in BC increases its sporptive capability of TEs due to surface modifications in morphology, functional groups, and elemental composition. The combined effects of BC and nZVI, FeOx or Fe salts on the sorption of TEs are complex because they are very specific to TEs. This review identified significant opportunities for research and technology advancement of nZVIBC and FeOxBC as novel and effective sorbents for the remediation of TEs contaminated water.

Removal of potentially toxic elements from contaminated soil and water using bone char compared to plant- and bone-derived biochars: A review, Azeem, Muhammad, Shaheen Sabry M., Ali Amjad, Jeyasundar Parimala G. S. A., Latif Abdul, Abdelrahman Hamada, Li Ronghua, Almazroui Mansour, Niazi Nabeel Khan, Sarmah Ajit K., et al. , Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 427, p.128131, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Conversion of hazardous waste materials to value-added products is of great interest from both agro-environmental and economic points of view. Bone char (BC) has been used for the removal of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) from contaminated water, however, its potential BC for the immobilization of PTEs in contaminated water and soil compared to bone (BBC)- and plant (PBC)-derived biochars has not been reviewed yet. This review presents an elaboration for the potentials of BC for the remediation of PTEs-contaminated water and soil in comparison with PBC and BBC. This work critically reviews the preparation and characterization of BC, BBC, and PBC and their PTEs removal efficiency from water and soils. The mechanisms of PTE removal by BC, BBC, and PBC are also discussed in relation to their physicochemical characteristics. The review demonstrates the key opportunities for using bone waste as feedstock for producing BC and BBC as promising low-cost and effective materials for the remediation of PTEs-contaminated water and soils and also elucidates the possible combinations of BC and BBC aiming to effectively immobilize PTEs in water and soils.

Precision farming for sustainable intensification of cropping systems in Egypt, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Borchard Nils, and Schirrmann Michael , DAAD Alumni Seminar 2017, 8 Nov., Göttingen, (2017) Abstract

The economic, political and geographic changes that occurred lately in Egypt depleted farmland in the valley and delta of the Nile river. The two main problems that causes farmland depletion are the urban sprawl and the expected shortage in Egypt water share of the Nile water due to the ongoing construction of the Ethiopian dam. Accordingly, it is the role of decision makers, supported by scientists, to introduce solutions to the farming system to optimize the use-efficiency of available land and water resources for sufficient food production. Several measures can be taken to ensure food security in Egypt including cultivation of strategic crops in neighboring countries as has been already done, e.g. Egypt-Zanzibar farm. However, it is necessary to take effective management measures for farming land in Egypt. The on-site solutions are limited to the use of precision farming tools to maximize the productivity per unit area and unite volume of land and water, respectively. The use of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has proven successful in establishing sustainable intensification of cropping systems in other African countries, e.g. Ghana, which suggests the urgent need to implement it in Egypt.

Posidonia-based Compost as a Peat Substitute for Lettuce Transplant Production, Mininni, C., Santamaria P., Abdelrahman H. M., Cocozza C., Miano T., Montesano F. F., and Parente A. , HortScience, Volume 47, Issue 10, p.1438-1444, (2012) AbstractWebsite

Posidonia [Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile] is a marine phanerogam endemic of the Mediterranean Sea that grows all along the coast forming extensive underwater meadows. Senescent posidonia leaves, together with fibers (residues of rhizomes and decomposed leaves), periodically accumulate along Mediterranean beaches, covering vast areas of coast. Removal and disposal of these large volumes of plant biomasses represent a high cost for local administrations. Therefore, in this experiment, beached residues of posidonia were composted with olive pruning and green wastes with the objective to assess the efficacy of posidonia-based compost (63% on a volume basis) as a peat replacement. The compost was then mixed with a peat-based commercial substrate at rates of 0% (C0, pure peat-based commercial substrate tested as control), 25% (C25), 50% (C50), 75% (C75), and 100% (C100, pure posidonia-based compost) v/v. Mixtures were used as growing media to produce lettuce seedlings for transplant. Two lettuce cultivars (8511RZ and Satine) were tested. Main physical and chemical properties of the five growing media, shoot and root fresh and dry weight, leaf area, root morphology, and elemental leaf tissue composition were studied. Growing media containing posidonia-based compost, C25 and C50 in particular, showed good physical properties. Increasing compost proportions in the mixtures resulted in enhanced: 1) availability of macro- and micronutrients in the growing media; and 2) overall growth parameters of lettuce seedlings, in particular for the cultivar Satine. In conclusion, posidonia-based compost shows a considerable potential as a peat substitute in horticultural substrates; posidonia residues are a low-cost renewable material. In growing media for lettuce seedlings production, posidonia-based compost could be used as a complement to peat at a rate of 25% or 50% to obtain optimal physical properties and to limit the negative effects of high B content, which are typical of posidonia residues.

Occurrence and abundance of carbohydrates and amino compounds in sequentially extracted labile soil organic matter fractions, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Olk Dan, Dinnes Dana, Ventrella Domenico, Miano Teodoro, and Cocozza Claudio , Journal of Soils and Sediments, Volume 16, Issue 10, p. 2375–2384, (2016) AbstractWebsite


The study aimed to describe the carbohydrates and amino compounds content in soil, the light fraction (LF), the >53 μm particulate organic matter (POM), and the mobile humic acid (MHA) fraction and to find out whether the carbohydrates and amino compounds can be used to explain the origin of SOM fractions.

Materials and methods

Soil samples were collected from two agricultural fields managed under organic farming in southern Italy. The LF, the POM, and the MHA were sequentially extracted from each soil sample then characterized. Seven neutral sugars and 19 amino compounds (amino acids and amino sugars) were determined in each soil sample and its correspondent fractions.

Results and discussion

The MHA contained less carbohydrate than the LF or the POM but its carbohydrates, although dominated by arabinose, were relatively with larger microbial contribution as revealed by the mannose/xylose ratio. The amino compounds were generally less in the LF or the POM than in the MHA, while the fungal (aspartic and serine) and bacterial (alanine and glycine) amino acids were larger in the MHA than in the LF or the POM, underlining the microbial contribution to the MHA. Results from both sites indicated that total carbohydrates content decreased moving from the LF (younger fraction) to the MHA (older fraction), which seems to follow a decomposition continuum of organic matter in the soil-plant system.


The study showed that the MHA is a labile humified fraction of soil C due to its content of carbohydrates and concluded that the content of carbohydrates and amino compounds in the LF, the POM and the MHA can depict the nature of these fractions and their cycling pattern and response to land management.

Molecular Level Characterization of Sequentially Extracted Labile SOM Fractions, Abdelrahman, Hamada, HOFMANN Diana, Berns Anne, Cocozza Claudio, Olk Dan, BOl Roland, and Miano Teddy , The 18th International Conference of the Int. Humic Substances Society, Kanazawa, Japan, (2016)
Microbial inoculants and struvite improved organic matter humification and stabilized phosphorus during swine manure composting: Multivariate and multiscale investigations, Li, Huanhuan, Zhang Tao, Shaheen Sabry M., Abdelrahman Hamada, Ali Esmat F., Bolan Nanthi S., Li Guoxue, and Rinklebe Jörg , Bioresource Technology, Volume 351, p.126976, (2022) AbstractWebsite

The combined effects of microbial inoculants (MI) and magnesium ammonium phosphate (MAP; struvite) on organic matter (OM) biodegradation and nutrients stabilization during biowaste composting have not yet been investigated. Therefore, the effects of MI and MAP on OM stability and P species during swine manure composting were investigated using geochemical and spectroscopic techniques. MI promoted the degradation of carbohydrates and aliphatic compounds, which improved the degree of OM mineralization and humification. MI and MAP promoted the redistribution of P fractions and species during composting. After composting, the portion of water-soluble P decreased from 50.0% to 23.0%, while the portion of HCl-P increased from 18.5% to 33.5%, which mean that MI and MAP can stabilize P and mitigate its potential loss during composting. These findings indicate that MI can be recommended for enhancing OM biodegradation and stabilization of P during biowastes composting, as a novel trial for the biological waste treatment.

Manganese oxide-modified biochar: production, characterization and applications for the removal of pollutants from aqueous environments - a review, Shaheen, Sabry M., Natasha, Mosa Ahmed, El-Naggar Ali, Faysal Hossain Md, Abdelrahman Hamada, Niazi Nabeel Khan, Shahid Muhammad, Zhang Tao, Tsang Yiu Fai, et al. , Bioresource Technology, 2022, Volume 346, p.126581, (2022) AbstractWebsite

The development of manganese (Mn) oxides (MnOx) modified biochar (MnOBC) for the removal of pollutants from water has received significant attention. However, a comprehensive review focusing on the use of MnOBC for the removal of organic and inorganic pollutants from water is missing. Therefore, the preparation and characterization of MnOBC, and its capacity for the removal of inorganic (e.g., toxic elements) and organic (e.g., antibiotics and dyes) from water have been discussed in relation to feedstock properties, pyrolysis temperature, modification ratio, and environmental conditions here. The removal mechanisms of pollutants by MnOBC and the fate of the sorbed pollutants onto MnOBC have been reviewed. The impregnation of biochar with MnOx improved its surface morphology, functional group modification, and elemental composition, and thus increased its sorption capacity. This review establishes a comprehensive understanding of synthesizing and using MnOBC as an effective biosorbent for remediation of contaminated aqueous environments.

Labile Soil organic carbon fractionation and characterization during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H. M., Cocozza C., Olk D., Vonella A. V., and Montemurro F. P. , 4th International congress, EUROSOIL 2–6 July 2012, Bari, Italy , p.1367, (2012)
An integrated physical-chemical procedure to monitor soil organic carbon changes in short-term studies, Abdelrahman, H. M., Olk D. c, Cocozza C., and Miano T. , 4th International congress, EUROSOIL 2–6 July 2012, Bari, Italy, p.1619, (2012)
Integrated physical-chemical procedure for soil organic carbon fractionation and characterization during transition to organic farming, Abdelrahman, H. M., Olk D., Cocozza C., Venterella D., Montemurro F., and Miano T. , Functions of natural organic matter in changing environment, China, (2013) Abstract

Two field experiments, in the south of Italy, were established in 2009 to study and characterize SOM during transition to organic farming. Experiments included a cereal/leguminous rotation fertilized with permitted amendments with three field replicates. A sequential fractionation procedure was used to separate different SOM fractions: light fraction (LF), two size classes of particulate organic matter (POM), mobile humic acid (MHA) and Ca-bound humic acid (CaHA). Isolated fractions were quantified and analyzed for their C and N content and carbohydrates and amino compounds composition. The masses of the isolated fractions increased during 2-year course, with noticeable increases in LF and POM. Moreover LF and POM were found more responsive than MHA to treatment and crop. The xylose/mannose ratio explained that MHA-carbohydrates were mainly of microbial origin while LF- and POM-carbohydrates were of plant origin. Amino compounds constituted up to 30% of total soil N and were found to be more responsive to seasonal variation than to agronomic practices.

Influence of crop rotation, tillage and fertilization on chemical and spectroscopic characteristics of humic acids, Mastro, Francesco De, Cocozza Claudio, Traversa Andreina, Savy Davide, Abdelrahman Hamada M., and Brunetti Gennaro , Plos One, Volume 14(6):e0219099, (2019) AbstractWebsite

The changes in soil organic matter composition induced by anthropogenic factors is a topic of great interest for the soil scientists. The objective of this work was to identify possible structural changes in humic molecules caused by a 2-year rotation of durum wheat with faba bean, lasted for a decade, and conducted with different agricultural practices in a Mediterranean soil.
Humic acids (HA) were extracted at three depths (0-30, 30-60 and 60-90 cm) from a Mediterranean soil subjected to different tillage (no tillage, minimum tillage and conventional tillage), crops (faba bean and wheat), and fertilization. The changes in HA quality were assessed by several chemical (ash, yield and elemental analysis) and spectroscopic techniques (solid-state 13C nuclear magnetic resonance, Fourier transform infrared and fluorescence).
The results suggest that the different agronomic practices strongly affected the quality of HA. Smaller but more aromatic molecules were observed with depth, while the fertilization induced the formation of simpler and less aromatic molecules due to the enhanced decomposition processes. Under no tillage, more stable humic molecules were observed due to the less soil aeration, while under conventional tillage larger and more aromatic molecules were obtained. Compared to wheat, more aromatic and more oxidized but less complex molecules were observed after faba bean crop.
The inorganic fertilization accelerates the decomposition of organic substances rather than their stabilization. At the end of each crop cycle, humic matter of different quality was isolated and this confirms the importance of the rotation practice to guarantee a diversification of the soil organic matter with time. Finally, no tillage induces the formation of more stable humic matter.

Improving the humification and phosphorus flow during swine manure composting: A trial for enhancing the beneficial applications of hazardous biowastes, Zhang, Tao, Wu Xiaosha, Shaheen Sabry M., Abdelrahman Hamada, Ali Esmat F., Bolan Nanthi S., Ok Yong Sik, Li Guoxue, Tsang Daniel C. W., and Rinklebe Jörg , Journal of Hazardous Materials, 2022, Volume 425, p.127906, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Improving the recovery of organic matter and phosphorus (P) from hazardous biowastes such as swine manure using acidic substrates (ASs) in conjunction with aerobic composting is of great interest. This work aimed to investigate the effects of ASs on the humification and/or P migration as well as on microbial succession during the swine manure composting, employing multivariate and multiscale approaches. Adding ASs, derived from wood vinegar and humic acid, increased the degree of humification and thermal stability of the compost. The 31P nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and X-ray absorption near-edge structure analyses demonstrated compost P was in the form of struvite crystals, Ca/Al-P phases, and Poly-P (all inorganic P species) as well as inositol hexakisphosphate and Mono-P (organophosphorus species). However, the efficiency of P recovery could be improved by generating more struvite by adding the ASs. The flows among nutrient pools resulted from the diversity in the dominant microbial communities in different composting phases after introducing the ASs and appearance of Bacillus spp. in all phases. These results demonstrate the potential value of ASs for regulating and/or improving nutrients flow during the composting of hazardous biowastes for producing higher quality compost, which may maximize their beneficial benefits and applications.

Historical charcoal additions potentially improve stability of soil organic carbon due to altered particulate carbon fractions, HOFMANN, Diana, Steffen Bernhard, Abdelrahman Hamada, Disko Ulrich, and Borchard Nils , The 18th Conference of the International Humic Substances Society, , Kanazawa, Japan, (2016)
Historical charcoal additions alter water extractable, particulate and bulk soil C composition and stabilization., Abdelrahman, Hamada, HOFMANN Diana, BERNS Anne E., Meyer Nele, BOl Roland, and Borchard Nils , Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, Volume 181, Issue 6, p.809-817, (2018) AbstractWebsite

The objective of this work was to investigate the chemical composition and the quantitative changes in soil organic matter (SOM) fractions in response to multiple historical inputs of charcoal that ceased >60 years ago. The topsoil (0–5 cm) and subsoil (5–20 cm) samples of charcoal enriched soils and the unamended reference soils were assessed for C and N contents in bulk soil, particulate organic matter (POM) fractions and water extractable organic matter (WEOM). The SOM molecular characteristics were investigated in the solid phase by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and in the WEOM by Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS). Formerly added charcoal additions reduced the extracted amount of WEOM and altered POM pattern: an increased proportion of C and N stored in coarse, intermediate, and fine POM relative to corresponding total C and N was found in subsoils. In contrast, C and N stored in the residual fraction (<20 µm) decreased. NMR results revealed a higher aromaticity of SOM in charcoal enriched soils, while the FT-ICR-MS results indicated an increased presence of lignin- and tannin-like compounds in the WEOM of these soils. Former charcoal additions enhanced soils capacity to retain and stabilize C and N. Particularly, the presence of charcoal particles elevated C and N stored in large POM fractions >20m, which presumably increases soil porosity and thus the soils’ capacity to retain water.

Herbal plants- and rice straw-derived biochars reduced metal mobilization in fishpond sediments and improved their potential as fertilizers, Mehmood, Sajid, Ahmed Waqas, Alatalo Juha M., Mahmood Mohsin, Imtiaz Muhammad, Ditta Allah, Ali Esmat F., Abdelrahman Hamada, Slaný Michal, Antoniadis Vasileios, et al. , Science of The Total Environment, 2022, Volume 826, p.154043, (2022) AbstractWebsite

Fishpond sediments are rich in organic carbon and nutrients; thus, they can be used as potential fertilizers and soil conditioners. However, sediments can be contaminated with toxic elements (TEs), which have to be immobilized to allow sediment reutilization. Addition of biochars (BCs) to contaminated sediments may enhance their nutrient content and stabilize TEs, which valorize its reutilization. Consequently, this study evaluated the performance of BCs derived from Taraxacum mongolicum Hand-Mazz (TMBC), Tribulus terrestris (TTBC), and rice straw (RSBC) for Cu, Cr, and Zn stabilization and for the enhancement of nutrient content in the fishpond sediments from San Jiang (SJ) and Tan Niu (TN), China. All BCs, particularly TMBC, reduced significantly the average concentrations of Cr, Cu, and Zn in the overlying water (up to 51% for Cr, 71% for Cu, and 68% for Zn) and in the sediments pore water (up to 77% for Cr, 76% for Cu, and 50% for Zn), and also reduced metal leachability (up to 47% for Cr, 60% for Cu, and 62% for Zn), as compared to the control. The acid soluble fraction accounted for the highest portion of the total content of Cr (43–44%), Cu (38–43%), and Zn (42–45%), followed by the reducible, oxidizable, and the residual fraction; this indicates the high potential risk. As compared with the control, TMBC was more effective in reducing the average concentrations of the acid soluble Cr (15–22%), Cu (35–53%), and Zn (21–39%). Added BCs altered the metals acid soluble fraction by shifting it to the oxidizable and residual fractions. Moreover, TMBC improved the macronutrient status in both sediments. This work provides a pathway for TEs remediation of sediments and gives novel insights into the utilization of BC-treated fishpond sediments as fertilizers for crop production.

Growth Responses of Organic Tomato Seedlings to N Liquid Fertilizers and Compost-Amended Growing Media, Abdelrahman, Hamada, Ceglie F., Awad FA, and Tittarelli F. , Compost Science & Utilization, Volume 25, Issue 1, p.62–69, (2017) AbstractWebsite

This work evaluated the response of organic tomato seedlings to locally produced compost-amended growing media and commonly used N liquid fertilizers. Green (GC) and mixed (MC) composts were used in growing media formulation with 70, 45, 20, and 0% (control based on peat) on volume basis for organic tomato seedling growth. Three locally available N liquid fertilizers, hydrolyzed-protein-based fertilizer (HP), blood-meal-based fertilizer (BM), and algae-extract-based fertilizer (AE), were tested. Seedlings were evaluated 34 days after sowing for plant height; stem diameter; shoot weights; sturdiness index; specific leaf area; and N, P, and K contents in the seedlings shoot. The statistical analysis showed that the substrate type, fertilizer, and their interaction significantly (p ≤ 0.05) affected, in most cases, the seedlings growth. The compost, especially with 20 or 45% amended substrate, produced longer seedlings with thicker diameter, greater fresh and dry weights, and greater leaves number compared to the control (compost-free) substrate. The use of the HP or the AE fertilizer generally contributed to better seedlings growth than did the BM-based fertilizer. The HP fertilizer clearly affected (p ≤ 0.01) the seedling diameter, fresh weight, and leave numbers while the AE fertilizer affected clearly seedling sturdiness index. The use of the GC or MC compost complemented with the HP or the AE fertilizer successfully reduced up to 45% of peat use in growing media and produced robust organic tomato seedlings.

Growth Response of Blue Panic Grass (Panicum antidotale) to Saline Water Irrigation and Compost Applications, Farrag, Karam, Abdel Hakim Sara, Abd El-Tawab Amr Ramadan, and Abdelrahman Hamada , Water Science, Volume 35, Issue 1, p.31-38, (2021) AbstractWebsite

A pot experiment was conducted to examine the ability of Blue Panic grass (Panicum anti- dotale) to grow in slightly saline soils (2.40 dS m–1) under different levels of saline irrigation water in the presence or absence of compost. Eight treatments were set up in a randomized block design with five replicates as follows: T1 (Freshwater), T2 (Freshwater + compost at 20%), T3 (Saline water 5000 mg L–1), T4 (T3 + compost at 20%), T5 (Saline water 10000 mg L–1), T6 (T5 + compost at 20%), T7 (Saline water 15000 mg L–1) and T8 (T7 + compost at 20%). Growth parameters of Blue Panic Grass were evaluated at the end of the experimental period as plant and root length, shoot, and root fresh and dry weights, total chlorophyll, and total carbohy- drates. In general, tested Blue Panic Grass appeared to be tolerant to high salt concentrations in irrigation water, and slightly significant differences were found for all the measured para- meters. A remarkable growth increase occurred in plants grown in compost-amended soils, with respect to the unamended soils. The results demonstrate the possibility to stabilize the yield of blue panic grass, an important feed crop in Egypt, irrigated with saline water, which can secure animal feed resources without reducing the already limited freshwater availability.

Green remediation of toxic metals contaminated mining soil using bacterial consortium and Brassica juncea, Soundari Arockiam Jeyasundar, Parimala Gnana, Ali Amjad, Azeem Muhammad, Li Yiman, Guo Di, Sikdar Ashim, Abdelrahman Hamada, Kwon Eilhann, Antoniadis Vasileios, Mani Vellingiri Manon, et al. , Environmental Pollution, 2021, p.116789, (2021) AbstractWebsite

Microorganism-assisted phytoremediation is being developed as an efficient green approach for management of toxic metals contaminated soils and mitigating the potential human health risk. The capability of plant growth promoting Actinobacteria (Streptomyces pactum Act12 - ACT) and Firmicutes (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis - BC) in mono- and co-applications (consortium) to improve soil properties and enhance phytoextraction of Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn by Brassica juncea (L.) Czern. was studied here for the first time in both incubation and pot experiments. The predominant microbial taxa were Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes, which are important lineages for maintaining soil ecological activities. The consortium improved the levels of alkaline phosphatase, β-D glucosidase, dehydrogenase, sucrase and urease (up to 33%) as compared to the control. The bacterial inoculum also triggered increases in plant fresh weight, pigments and antioxidants. The consortium application enhanced significantly the metals bioavailability (DTPA extractable) and mobilization (acid soluble fraction), relative to those in the unamended soil; therefore, significantly improved the metals uptake by roots and shoots.The phytoextraction indices indicated that B. juncea is an efficient accumulator of Cd and Zn. Overall, co-application of ACT and BC can be an effective solution for enhancing phytoremediation potential and thus reducing the potential human health risk from smelter-contaminated soil. Field studies may further credit the understanding of consortium interactions with soil and different plant systems in remediating multi-metal contaminated environments.