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Irrigation with lagooned citrus industry wastewater: Effect on the soil nitrogen oxidation cycle



Irrigation with lagooned citrus industry wastewater: Effect on the soil nitrogen oxidation cycle



Journal of Applied Botany 74(1-2): 61-66, April



Irrigation with water from unconventional sources is one way in which the shortages typical of the arid and semi-arid countries around the Mediterranean can be overcome. Waste water employed for this purpose must be carefully evaluated to determine the agronomic and health consequences of the chemicals it contains. This paper describes the effects of irrigation with lagooned waste water (ww) from the citrus fruit industry on the soil of an experimental field in eastern Sicily. Application of ww resulted in significant changes in the chemical and physical parameters of the soil: total Carbon, total Nitrogen, total Phosphorus and Soil Aggregate Stability were increased. Controlled incubation of soil samples showed that it improved nitrification, in fact the NO3--N values were significantly higher in treatments with ww compared to the control. Net Nitrification in soils treated with ww only was lower than in soils where ammonium sulphate and urea were added to freshwater and ww. The citrus ww interacted positively with these conventional mineral fertilizers, resulting in an improvement of their Net Nitrification. It can be argued that citrus industry ww employment for irrigation improves soil fertility and has a lighter impact on the environment than mineral fertilizers.

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