Comparison of refined and non-refined wastewater effect on wheat seed germination and growth under drought
Wastewater has attracted special attention as a possible source of irrigation. The present study aimed to compare the effect of refined and non-refined wastewater on wheat seed germination and growth under induced drought conditions in laboratory and pot experiments. The laboratory experiment included the iso-osmotic potentials of −0.275, −0.4, and −0.47 MPa of polyethylene glycol (PEG, as a drought factor) and wastewater. In addition, the pot experiment included a wastewater factor (i.e., tap water, 100% refined wastewater, 50% refined wastewater + 50% non-refined wastewater, and 100% non-refined wastewater) and a drought factor (i.e., an irrigation interval of two and three days as normal and drought conditions, respectively). The results demonstrated that the drought related to PEG did not reduce seed germination while wastewater decreased seed germination. Further, an osmotic potential of −0.47 MPa resulted in the highest and lowest radicle length in both wastewater and PEG, respectively. The results also revealed that caulicle length and seed vigour were decreased by PEG as the osmotic potential increased while no significant difference was observed between wastewater treatments and distilled water (control). Based on the results, an irrigation interval of 3 days with 100% non-refined wastewater produced the highest chlorophyll content and 100% refined and 100% non-refined wastewater produced a larger leaf area compared to the control. Furthermore, drought with wastewater application increased specific leaf weight whereas it reduced the total biomass compared to control (i.e., tap water with an irrigation interval of 2 days), except for 100% non-refined wastewater. Therefore, wastewater application compensates for the adverse effect of drought due to nutrient addition.
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