Impact of Industrial Effluents in Seed Invigouration: A Review
G. Senthil Kumar
Use of industrial effluents for irrigation purposes is a highly warranted utility of water pollutants proposition. The objective of using waste water for irrigating crop plants is of two fold. The first and foremost of this is the safe disposal of the effluents, which may otherwise have adverse effects on the environment and human health. The other objective is to recycle it as irrigation water, as compost for its possible fertilizer value. The literatures relating the influence of industrial waste water on seed and seedling quality characters irrespective of crops are reviewed hereunder.
May 28, 2010; Accepted: June 19, 2010;
Published: August 07, 2010
Effect on agricultural crops
Rice: Behera and Misra (1982) analysed the effect
of distillery effluents on growth and development of rice seedlings and reported
that the germination per cent, number of roots, shoot and root length, fresh
and dry weight of the seedlings showed a reverse relationship with effluent
Sahai et al. (1983) reported that rice seeds
treated with different concentration of spentwash (0, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75 and
100%). At higher concentration (25% and above) both the speed of germination
and seedling growth were retarded. At 5% concentration overall growth of seedling
was better than in control and suggested that by diluting the effluent to 5%
the effluent can be used as a substitute for chemical fertilizes. The chlorophyll
a and b decreased with increase in the effluent concentration. The carotenoid
content continued to increase up to 5% effluent concentration.
Dixit et al. (1986) presoaked the rice seeds
in varying concentrations of cardboard factory effluent for 15 and 24 h and
germinated in distilled water while another set was germinated under continuous
application of various concentrations of effluent. They observed an inhibition
in germination with increasing the concentrations of effluent as well as increasing
the pre-soaking period. The seeds germinated in continuous application of effluent
exhibited a maximum of 62% germination in 25% concentration and a minimum of
8% germination in pure effluent (100% concentration). The seeds presoaked for
15 h showed better germination than those presoaked for 24 h. The germination
capacity decreased with increase in concentration of effluent as well as increasing
the pre-soaking period. The seeds, which were supplied with 25% of effluent
continuously, showed better growth as compare to control. When seeds were pre-soaked
in 25% and 100% effluent showed higher cation concentration that had adverse
effect on seed germination and seedling quality characters. However, when the
concentration range is between 2.5 to 5.0%, no significant deviation in the
germination per centage was noted but at 50% effluent only 15% of rice seeds
germinated. With further increase in effluent concentration delay in primary
root emergence was noticed.
Rajaram and Janardhanam (1988) studied the effect of
distillery effluent on seed germination and early seedling growth of rice and
reported that the processed effluents were rich in inorganic constituents like
ammoniacal nitrogen, chemicals and traces of heavy metals and these markedly
suppressed the germination per cent and early growth of the seedling as the
concentration of the effluent increased.
Karunyal et al. (1994) too studied the effects
of tannery effluent at different concentrations (25, 50, 75 and 100%) on seed
germination of Oryza sativa and found that the germination was inhibited
by 25 and 50% effluent and completely suppressed by 75 and 100% effluent. Even
the chlorophyll and protein contents of plants were found to decrease with the
effluent concentration of 75 and 100%.
Application of spentwash with 50 times dilution in rice (CO43) resulted in
normal yield (Rajannan et al., 1998). The maximum
grain yield was recorded in rice variety ADT 42 due to 75 times diluted distillery
spentwash treatments which was on par with 100 times diluted spentwash application
(Chinnusamy et al., 2001).
Rani and Alikhan (2007) studied the effect of treated
distillery effluent on two cultivars of Oryza sativa L. Cv. Saka-4 and
Pusa 44 after diluted with tap water viz., 100, 50 and 25% in petriplates over
the control. It was observed that root length, shoot length fresh weight root
and shoot, dry weight of root and shoot germination relative index, vigour index,
emergence index and chlorophyll content were higher in 25% than 50% over control.
Singh et al. (2007) observed that the per centage
germination and seedling vigour of rice and wheat decreased significantly with
an increase in spentwash concentration.
Wheat: Mishra and Bera (1995) soaked the cv.
Kalyansona after surface sterilization in different effluent concentrations
from crude tannery effluent and revealed that up to 5% concentration, germination
process had stimulating effect, while further increase in concentration of the
effluent, a corresponding decrease in germination per cent occurred due to depletion
of dissolved oxygen, both by chemical and biological oxidation of sulphur and
organic compounds. They also reported that absorption of higher dissolved solids
by the seed also could have affected the germination.
Aliotta et al. (2002) revealed that olive Mill
waste water had phytotoxic influence on wheat cv.Ofonto due to the polyphenoles
and other unidentified substances. Kaushik et al.
(2005) conducted laboratory experiments to study the effect of textile effluents
at different concentrations in the range of 0-100% (untreated and treated) on
seed germination (%), delay index (DI), plant shoot and root length, plant biomass,
chlorophyll content and carotenoid of three different cultivars of wheat. The
textile effluent did not show any inhibitory effect on seed germination and
other plant characters at low concentration (6.25%). Seeds germinated in undiluted
effluents did not survive for longer period. Based on the tolerance to textile
effluent, the wheat cultivars have been arranged in the following order: PBW-343
< PBW-373 < WH-147. It has also been concluded that effect of the textile
effluent is cultivar specific and due care should be taken before using the
textile effluent for irrigation purpose.
Sorghum: Positive influence of distillery waste water on sorghum yield
has also been reported by Zalawadia and Raman (1994).
The shoot and the root length and the number of lateral roots formed in the
case of sorghum attained maximum values when treated with 2.5% distillery spentwash
(Rajaram and Janardhanam, 1988). Kalaiselvi
et al. (2009) also reported that the distillery spentwash did not
show any inhibitory effect on seed germination at low concentration. The spentwash
at a higher concentration reduced the seed germination. But up to 10% concentration
the distillery spentwash markedly improved the seed germination and seedling
growth in White sorghum (APK 1) and Red sorghum (Namakkal local).
Pearl millet: Vijayakumari (2003) reported that
soap factory effluent was toxic to seed germination and seedling growth of finger
and pearl millet, but when the effluent was diluted to 2.5 to 5.0% it enhanced
the seed germination and seedling growth.
Maize: Giovacchino et al. (2001) expressed
that Olive Vegetable Water (OVW), the liquid by - product obtained from olive
processing to extract virgin olive oil by mechanical means (pressure and centrifugation
systems) and spread OVW in large quantities on soil cultivated with maize revealed
that the use of large quantities of OVW (more than 10 L m-1) gave
a 30-40% increase in the total biomass production compared with the control.
All the parameters, i.e., germination, stalk, ear and dry kernel per plot in
maize were also increased by large quantities of OVW. The grain yield and biomass
yield of maize was significantly higher due to spentwash application. The spentwash
also increased the N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Na content in all the parts of the maize
crop (Mallika, 2001).
Pandey (2004) studied the effects of effluent from
an electroplating industry, on its seed germination and seedling growth in maize
(cv. GK-3014) and found that the effluent sample showed high values of TSS,
hardness, BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) and COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) and
was contaminated with the toxic heavy metals Zn (2.32 mg L-1), Ni
(0.935 mg L-1), Cr (0.093 mg L-1) and Cd (0.013 mg L-1).
The effluent showed an inhibitory effect on seed germination and seedling growth.
Approximately 80% seedling mortality, followed by leaf necrosis and browning
of root tips, was recorded after 15 days of growth. The severity of toxicity
was reduced after the dilution of the effluent to 50%. The study suggests that
the effluent should be properly treated before being discharged into the drain
to avoid adverse effects on plants through irrigation.
Kalaiselvi et al. (2009) conducted a laboratory
experiment to study the effect of different concentrations (Control, 1, 2, 3,
4, 5, 10, 15 and 20%) of distillery spentwash on seed germination, root length,
shoot length and vigour index in Maize (Super 900M). Up to 10% concentration
the distillery spentwash markedly improved the seed germination and seedling
growth in all crops. The distillery spentwash can be used safely after proper
dilution as substitute for chemical fertilizer to the crop plants.
Pulses: Augusthy and Mani (2001) conducted physico-chemical
analysis of the rubber factory effluents and revealed that high amounts of total
suspended and dissolved solids, sulphate, phosphate, total nitrogen were also
present in significant amounts. On evaluation of seed quality responses with
Vigna radiata found that at higher concentration (above 50%) of effluent,
the seed germination per centage was retarded. Diluted effluent (up to 50%)
favoured seedling growth. Seedling length and number of lateral roots were increased
by low concentrations of effluent.
Srivastava and Sahai (1987) suggested that the early
seedling growth of cowpea was promoted by the distillery effluent up to 10%
concentration. The effluent at concentration of more than 10% suppressed the
seedling growth. They expressed the nutrients and organic pollutants inhibit
seedling growth by altering the osmotic relations and the distillery effluent
could be used as a liquid fertilizer only for certain crops after proper dilution
Karande and Ghanvat (1994) reported that the distillery
effluent had significant deleterious effect on seed germination and early seedling
growth in pigeon pea. Ghosh et al. (1999) studied
the effects of 0-100% distillery on germination of peas, Cicer arietinum
and Phaseolus mungo. The per centage of germination increased with
up to 75% effluent in Cicer arietinum and peas and up to 50% effluent
in P. mungo. The plumule and radicle growth generally increased up to
50 or 75% effluent concentration and then decreased. The root:shoot ratio decreased
with increasing effluent concentration.
Singh et al. (2006) revealed the effect of fertilizer
factory effluent on seed germination, seedling growth and chlorophyll content
of gram (Cicer aeritenum), at different concentration of the effluent
and time intervals. The effluent was alkaline in nature with strong ammonia
odour. The germination per centage of seed, seedling growth and chlorophyll
content which showed a gradual decline with increase in effluent concentration.
Evaluation of seedlings at 21 days at 25% concentration recorded an increase
in root and shoot length and chlorophyll content at 21 days. However, at higher
concentrations of the effluent toxic effects were observed at 21 days. Thus
the study suggested that the effluent could be used safely for Cicer aeritenum
cultivation, after proper treatment and dilution.
The per centage germination and speed of germination index (SGI) in Phaseolus
radiatus increased correspondingly with increase in effluent concentration
up to 5% and the growth and biomass of seedlings and their pigment content up
to 10% (Sahai and Neelam, 1987). The protein content
in peas registered a decreasing trend with increasing concentration of spentwash
(Rani and Shrivastava, 1990).
The results from a pot experiment showed that the spentwash >50 m3
ha-1 was found detrimental for germination and establishment
of greengram in vertisol, whereas in alfisol even at 25 m3 ha-1,
the spent wash was found to inhibit the germination and growth of greengram.
However, in vertisol the germination, growth, nutrient contents and yield of
greengram were significantly improved with spentwash application at 25 m3
ha-1 (Murugaragavan, 2002).
Rajaram et al. (1988) soaked blackgram seeds
in different concentrations of distillary effluent (1, 2.5, 5.0, 10, 25, 50
and 100%) using water soaking as control. After 8 days of germination period
it was noticed that effluent treatment up to 2.5% concentration, effluent treatment
promoted seedling growth, but at higher concentrations, the effluent has the
salinity due to the dissolved solid accumulation. At higher concentration, trace
elements like zinc, hinder plant growth by binding enzyme proteins.
Rajaram and Janardhanam (1988) studied the effect of
distillery effluent on seed germination and early seedling growth of soybean
and cowpea by surface sterilizing with HgCl2 and soaking in different
concentrations (1-100%) of distillery effluent, using distilled water served
as control. The result revealed that the processed effluent were rich in inorganic
constituents like ammonical nitrogen, chemicals and traces of heavy metals,
markedly suppressed the germination per centage and early seedling growth of
soybean as the concentration of the effluent increased.
Salunke et al. (2007) investigated the effect
of pulp and paper mill effluents (both untreated and treated) on carbohydrate
metabolism in mungbean varieties K-851 and BM-4. A dose dependent increase in
starch content of seedlings of both the varieties was observed. Seedlings treated
with 25% concentration of both the effluents showed increase in the activity
of α-amylase. The higher concentrations of both the effluents decreased
the enzyme activity.
Elayarajan (2002) reported the germination and vigour
index of rice, maize, blackgram, greengram and soybean crops with 25, 50 and
75% pulp and paper mill effluent concentration was more than the normal water
for irrigation. The biochemical and mineral contents were increased in blackgram
applied with different concentrations (0, 5 10, 25, 75 and 100%) of sago factory
effluent was observed by Sivaraman and Thamizhiniyan (2005).
The highest amount of protein content was recorded at 10% effluent concentration
and the lowest content was recorded at 75%. The same trend observed in paddy
seedlings under tannery effluent treatment (Lakshmi and
Sharma and Singh (1999) evaluated the two inhreds of
black gram (Vigna mungo L. Hepper) viz., PU-30, T-9 for their response
to different concentrations of Rubber Factory effluent and city waste water
(i.e., 80, 90 and 100%) and found that both the Rubber Factory effluent and
city waste water showed the presence of heavy metals, copper and zinc, which
were observed in maximum quantity in city waste water. Studies also revealed
that irrespective of the varieties involved, city waste water showed a significant
reduction in seed germination, seedling height, pollen fertility, seed fertility,
mitotic index and increased chromosomal abnormalities and M  generation.
thus proving city waste water as more efficient mutagen in nature as compared
to Rubber Factory effluent. A distinct genotypic response as evidenced by M
 and M  observations indicated that variety PU-30 was more sensitive than
Ghosh et al. (1999) studied the effects of 0-100%
distillery on germination of peas, Cicer arietinum and Phaseolus mungo.
The percentage of germination increased with up to 75% effluent in Cicer
arietinum and peas and up to 50% effluent in P. mungo. The plumule
and radicle growth generally increased up to 50 or 75% effluent concentration
and then decreased. The root: shoot ratio decreased with increasing effluent
Oilseeds: Diluted effluent of dyeing factory, exerted a promotive effects
on plant growth and biomass (Swaminathan and Vaidheeswarn,
1991) in groundnut. Sundaramoorthy et al. (2001)
studied the effect of different concentrations (0, 1, 2.5, 5, 10, 25, 50, 75
and 100%) of fertilizer factory effluent on seed germination and seedling growth
in groundnut varieties CO2, ICG-FDRI, TMV-7 and VRI-2 in the laboratory
and revealed that the per centage of germination and seedling growth increased
with 1 to 10% effluent concentration treatments while 25 to 100% concentration
decreased germination per centage and seedling growth. The highest and lowest
germination per centages were recorded in VRI-2 and CO2, respectively.
VRI-2 control seedlings had the highest length while CO2 the lowest
seedling length. The control seedlings showed the highest fresh and dry weight
than the effluent treated plants in all the varieties tested. Among the varieties
studied, VRI-2 was more tolerant than the other varieties while at 5% effluent
concentration favored the seedling development. Arumugam
(2007) observed that pharmaceutical factory effluent at 25% dilution promoted
the seed germination, seedlings growth and dry matter production in the five
varieties (VRI-3, TMV-1, VRI-2, JL-24, VRI-4) of groundnut, but at higher concentrations
an inhibitory effect was observed. Kalaiselvi et al.
(2007) observed the effect of spentwash on the reduction in germination
of crops with greater concentration viz., 15 and 20%. The germination study
also included the evaluation of diluted spent wash on root length, shoot length,
dry matter production and vigour index. These germination parameters increased
up to 10 % dilution irrespective of the crops.
Muthalagi and Mala (2007) found that 100% sewage concentration
on Brassica nigra (mustard) reduced the germination, length of root and
shoot from 42 to 32%, 2.10 to 1.49 cm and 2.08 to 1.49 cm, respectively. This
study has indicated that 10% sewage showed maximum germination, shoot length
and root length.
EFFECT ON HORTICULTURAL CROPS
Vegetables: Srivastava (1991) evaluated the
paper mill and chlor-alkali plant effluent (CAP) on seed germination of healthy
seeds of radish and onion in different dilutions of effluents and revealed that
the percent germination was more with lower concentrations of the effluents
when seeds treated for one to five days each. In the case of radish, at 10%
concentration of the effluents, there was a significant decrease in mean root
length, shoot length and secondary roots as compared to control, while no secondary
root could emerge out in 100% concentration of CAP effluent. Low dissolved oxygen
associated with high mercury and residual chlorine content in effluent affected
adversely the germination and subsequent growth of seedlings. In bhendi the
germination per centage was increased by 15% with tap water and 25% with spentwash
(Hari et al., 1994).
Ramana et al. (2002) conducted a laboratory
experiment to study the effect of different concentrations (0, 5, 10, 15, 20,
25, 50, 75 and 100%) of distillery effluent (raw spent wash) on seed germination
(%), speed of germination, peak value and germination value in some vegetable
crops viz., tomato, chilli, bottle gourd, cucumber and onion. The distillery
effluent did not show any inhibitory effect on seed germination at low concentration
except in tomato, but in onion the germination was significantly higher (84%)
at 10% concentration as against 63% in the control. Irrespective of the crop
species, at highest concentrations (75 and 100%), complete failure of germination
was observed. The speed of germination, peak value and germination value also
followed a similar trend and found that a concentration of 5% was critical for
seed germination in tomato and bottle gourd and 25% in the rest of the crops.
Based on the tolerance to distillery effluent, the crops studied have been arranged
in the following order: cucumber>chilli>onion>bottle gourd>tomato.
So the effect of the distillery effluent is crop-specific and due care should
be taken before using the distillery effluent for pre-sowing irrigation purposes.
Sharma et al. (2002) conducted bioassay studies
to assess the toxicity of raw and diluted distillery effluent on seed germination,
seedling growth and pigment content of sugarbeet by collecting effluent samples
from the main hole of the Sri Ganganagar Sugar Mill factory, in Rajasthan. Seeds
kept moist in different dilutions (1, 5, 10, 20 and 30%) of effluent solution,
along with double distilled water, which served as the control revealed that
higher concentrations (>5%) of effluent were found to be toxic, however,
the effluent can be used for irrigation purpose after proper dilution.
Dixit (2003) studied the effect of fertilizer factory
effluents (0, 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100%) on seed germination of tomato cultivars
PED, Pusa Ruby and Rupal-I. The percentage germination gradually decreased with
increasing concentration of effluents. Germination increased with 25% effluent
concentration. Higher concentrations (50 and 100%) showed a negative impact
on germination Soundarrajan and Pitchai (2007) found
that application of spentwash diluted at higher level (50 times) has increased
germination per centage, growth fruit yield and fruit quality of Bhendi in a
pot culture experiment. In a study conducted by Yadav and
Meenakshi (2007) to assess the toxicity of surgical effluent on seedling
germination, seedling growth, biomass and crop yield of Raphanus sativus
var. Pusa Chetki (Raddish) and Hibiscus esculentus versha uphar (Bhendi).
The germination per cent decreased with increasing of the effluent concentration.
Spices and aromatic plants: Muthalagi and Mala (2007)
found that 100% sewage concentration on Trigonella foenum (Fenugrick)
reduced the germination, length of root and shoot from 42 to 32%, 2.10 to 1.49
cm and 2.08 to 1.49 cm, respectively. This study has indicated that 10% sewage
showed maximum germination, shoot length and root length.
EFFECT ON TREE SPECIES
Gomathi and Oblisami (1992) stated that pulp and paper
mill effluent could also be used for irrigating tree crops after proper dilution.
Germination per centage decreased from 100 to 75% due to irrigation with paper
mill effluent at 100% concentration. The length of the root and shoot and vigor
index of the tree species viz., neem, pungam and tamarind, decreased considerably.
But on application of effluent at concentrations of 25, 50, 75 and 100% at 100
mL day-1. At 25 and 50% concentrations, the effluent had no inhibitory
effect on germination. A 25% effluent was equal to that of normal water for
Effects of tannery effluent on seed germination of Acacia holosericea and
Leucaena leucocephala were studied. The effluent was diluted to 25, 50,
75 and 100% concentrations. Twenty five and 50% effluent inhibits seed germination
and completely suppressed by 75 and 100% effluent. Even the chlorophyll and
protein contents decreased with 75 and 100% effluent concentration (Karunyal
et al., 1994).
Pandey and Soni (1994) stated that the lower concentration
(10%) spentwash had enhanced germination in Areca catechu and Dalbergia
sissoo. Karunyal et al. (1994) reported the
effects of tannery effluent (25, 50, 75 and 100%) on seed germination of Oryza
sativa, Acacia holoserica and Leucaena leucocephala. The germination
was inhibited by 25 and 50% and prevented by 75 and 100% of the tannery effluent.
Thiruvaruldevi et al. (2006) evaluated the seed
quality characters of neem with industrial effluents viz., tannin, textile dyeing,
cement, rayon pulp and automobile both as raw and in different dilutions (10-50%)
and revealed that on irrigation with raw material the reduction in germination
was minimal due to tannin and rayon pulp irrigation, whereas the irrigation
with dyeing and automobile effluent inhibited the germination completely. continuous
irrigation with effluent was, however found to cause seedling damages, which
was severe with textile dyeing, tannery and automobile effluents. However, with
diluted effluent increased the germination and seedling vigour compared to raw
Review of work done by the various authors revealed that irrespective of the
type of effluent, these could be well utilized for betterment of agricultural
crops on proper dilution to evate the lethality of the pollutants. This diluted
effluent could be used both foe invigourating the seed and for further irrigating
the crop or the nursery in case of tree seeds depending up on the availability
of the effluent specific to site as the case may be giving way to utilize the
waste material for betterment of the mankind with out causing ill effects to
human and animals. The effluents on proper dilution can be also be materialiased
as cash by proper sale of the product thus the review fresh up the idea of mutiutility
of waste material.
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