Document Type


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Frontiers in Microbiology

Publication Date



Introduction: Agricultural productivity in the arid hot desert climate of UAE is limited by the unavailability of water, high temperature, and salt stresses. Growing enough food under abiotic stresses and decreasing reliance on imports in an era of global warming are a challenge. Biochar with high water and nutrient retention capacity and acid neutralization activity is an attractive soil conditioner. This study investigates the microbial community in the arid soil of Dubai under shade house conditions irrigated with saline water and the shift in the microbial community, following 1 year of amendment with indigenously prepared biochar from date palm waste. Methods: Amplicon sequencing was used to elucidate changes in bacterial, archaeal, and fungal community structures in response to long-term biochar amendment. Samples were collected from quinoa fields receiving standard NPK doses and from fields receiving 20 and 30 tons ha−1 of biochar, in addition to NPK for 1 year. Water holding capacity, pH, electrical conductivity, calcium, magnesium, chloride, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, total carbon, organic matter, and total nitrogen in the soil from biochar-treated and untreated controls were determined. Results and discussion: The results show that soil amendment with biochar helps retain archaeal and bacterial diversity. Analysis of differentially abundant bacterial and fungal genera indicates enrichment of plant growth-promoting microorganisms. Interestingly, many of the abundant genera are known to tolerate salt stress, and some observed genera were of marine origin. Biochar application improved the mineral status and organic matter content of the soil. Various physicochemical properties of soil receiving 30 tons ha−1 of biochar improved significantly over the control soil. This study strongly suggests that biochar helps retain soil fertility through the enrichment of plant growth-promoting microorganisms.




Frontiers Media SA




Life Sciences


arid soil, biochar, microbial community, plant growth promotion, salinity stress

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Open Access


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Gold: This publication is openly available in an open access journal/series

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Life Sciences Commons