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Biochar application to Crocus sativus L. cultivation
Annamaria Giorgi, Daniela Pentimalli, Sara Panseri, Luca Giupponi

Last modified: 2017-08-17

Abstract


Biochar is produced from biomass or waste feedstock through a thermochemical decomposition or pyrolysis at temperature between 350 and 700 °C and under oxygen-limiting conditions. Recent studies showed that its addition to soil improves soil fertility and it plays also an important role on climate change mitigation.

Some investigations report the effects of biochar on plant growth e.g. spring barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), myrtle (Myrtus communis L.), and lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) etc., but no studies on saffron (Crocus sativus L.) have been conducted yet.

Saffron is the dried stigmas of Crocus sativus L. (Iridaceae family) and it has been considered since long time the most valuable and expensive spice in the world, because of the intensive hand labour required for production.

Objectives: The aim of the present research is to study the effect of biochar on saffron cultivation and determine the quality of the spice according to ISO 3632 1,2:2010-2011.

Methods: Saffron sample’s quality has been determined according to ISO 3632 and the main volatile compounds of these samples have been analyzed by HS-SPME-GC/MS.

Results: This study showed that the use of biochar together with compost in saffron cultivation in central Italy (Marche region) caused a higher amount of spice production (5 g) compared to the use of compost alone (1,96 g) or bovine/equine/pork manure (0,93 g). All samples belong to the first category of quality according to ISO 3632 1,2:2010-2011.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that the use of biochar improves the saffron yield production.


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