Effect of co-application of wastewater and freshwater on the physiological properties and trace element content in Raphanus sativus: soil contamination and human health

Environ Geochem Health. 2020 Jun 27. doi: 10.1007/s10653-020-00635-x. Online ahead of print.


Nowadays, the use of wastewater for crop irrigation is increasing at global scale mainly due to freshwater scarcity and economic benefits. However, the presence of different types of pollutants including the trace elements (TEs) poses a serious threat to environmental and human health. This pot study evaluated the effect of alone and mixed irrigation water [wastewater (WW) with canal water (CW) and tube-well water (TW)] on TEs build-up in the soil, their soil-plant transfer and allied health hazards in District Vehari. The WW samples were mainly contaminated with Cd (0.03 mg/L), Cr (1.45 mg/L), Cu (0.35 mg/L) and Ni (0.40 mg/L). The CW contained high levels of Cr and Fe, while TW was contaminated with Pb and Cr. In soil, the concentrations of Cd, Fe and Mn exceeded their respective limit values for all the treatments. Among all the treatments, TEs concentration was found highest in WW-3 irrigated soil. Application of all the treatments resulted in TEs (Cu, 60.1 mg/kg; Cd, 8.2 mg/kg; Ni, 39.9 mg/kg; Fe, 4411 mg/kg; Zn, 111.3 mg/kg and Pb, 44.5 mg/kg) accumulation mainly in the edible parts of Raphanus sativus. Compared to other treatments, TW and TW + CW irrigated plants accumulated higher levels of TEs. Results showed linear trends among TEs accumulation and alterations in physiological attributes of R. sativus. High TEs accumulation in TW irrigated treatments (TW + WW-1 and TW + CW) caused maximum H2O2 production, lipid peroxidation and decline in plant pigments. Risk assessment parameters showed both carcinogenic and non-carcinogenic risks for all the irrigation treatments due to high TEs contents in edible tissues. It is concluded that alone or combined application of WW, TW and CW is not fit for vegetable irrigation, in the studied area, due to high TEs contents.

Keywords: Canal water; City effluent; Radish; Tube-well water; Vegetable irrigation.