The reduced availability of water resources in semi-arid Mediterranean regions requires an efficient use of supply sources. Urban wastewater, after treatment to minimise health hazards, may constitute an important resource for irrigation in areas characterised by intensive agriculture. These considerations have motivated an investigation (during the irrigation season 1996) of the dynamics of microbial biomass in the soil of a citrus orchard in eastern Sicily, which has been irrigated for 15 years with lagooned urban wastewater, to evaluate the effects of this practice on soil fertility. The analyses of parameters regarding soil microbial biomass (microbial carbon and microbial nitrogen, soluble carbon and nitrogen, cumulative respiration, respiratory quotient and enzymatic activity in the soil) have confirmed that the evolution of soil microflora is directly conditioned by the type of water used for irrigation and climatic conditions. Just before the beginning of the irrigation season (May), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soluble C, cumulative respiration and enzymatic activity were significantly higher in the soil irrigated with wastewater with respect to the same soil irrigated with ‘clear’ water; the qCO2 was significantly lower. In June, after 1 month of irrigation, both soils showed an increase of all microbial parameters except for enzymatic activity and qCO2 which showed a significant reduction. In September, at the end of the irrigation period, there was a decrease of almost all investigated parameters in both plots, which was more evident in the soil irrigated with ‘clear’ water. The microbial biomass of the soil irrigated with wastewater, during the irrigation period, did not undergo any negative effects, having an evolution analogous to the plot irrigated with ‘clear’ water. The use of lagooned wastewater after three lustrums has shown, particularly in the dry season, an increase in quantity of easily available nutrients, with an improvement of the metabolic efficiency of soil microflora coupled with a more marked activity of total hydrolase and phosphatases. The variations of the parameters related to the soil microflora were strongly influenced by the seasonal climatic trend.

Influence of irrigation with lagooned urban waste water on chemical and microbiological soil parameters in a citrous orchard of Eastern Sicily

BUFO, Sabino Aurelio;MAZZATURA, Angelo
Writing – Review & Editing
;
SCOPA, Antonio
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2002

Abstract

The reduced availability of water resources in semi-arid Mediterranean regions requires an efficient use of supply sources. Urban wastewater, after treatment to minimise health hazards, may constitute an important resource for irrigation in areas characterised by intensive agriculture. These considerations have motivated an investigation (during the irrigation season 1996) of the dynamics of microbial biomass in the soil of a citrus orchard in eastern Sicily, which has been irrigated for 15 years with lagooned urban wastewater, to evaluate the effects of this practice on soil fertility. The analyses of parameters regarding soil microbial biomass (microbial carbon and microbial nitrogen, soluble carbon and nitrogen, cumulative respiration, respiratory quotient and enzymatic activity in the soil) have confirmed that the evolution of soil microflora is directly conditioned by the type of water used for irrigation and climatic conditions. Just before the beginning of the irrigation season (May), microbial biomass carbon (MBC), soluble C, cumulative respiration and enzymatic activity were significantly higher in the soil irrigated with wastewater with respect to the same soil irrigated with ‘clear’ water; the qCO2 was significantly lower. In June, after 1 month of irrigation, both soils showed an increase of all microbial parameters except for enzymatic activity and qCO2 which showed a significant reduction. In September, at the end of the irrigation period, there was a decrease of almost all investigated parameters in both plots, which was more evident in the soil irrigated with ‘clear’ water. The microbial biomass of the soil irrigated with wastewater, during the irrigation period, did not undergo any negative effects, having an evolution analogous to the plot irrigated with ‘clear’ water. The use of lagooned wastewater after three lustrums has shown, particularly in the dry season, an increase in quantity of easily available nutrients, with an improvement of the metabolic efficiency of soil microflora coupled with a more marked activity of total hydrolase and phosphatases. The variations of the parameters related to the soil microflora were strongly influenced by the seasonal climatic trend.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11563/893
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