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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Department of Plant Sciences

UC Davis

Nutritional Status of some Aromatic Plants Grown to Produce Volatile Oils under Treated Municipal Wastewater irrigation


To avoid any contamination risk of edible crops, the safety use of treated municipal wastewater is growing industrial non-food crops such as aromatic plants to produce volatile oils for manufacturing soaps, cosmetics and perfumes, etc. Therefore, two field experiments were conducted in a sandy soil to investigate the influence of treated domestic sewage effluents or freshwater (control) on the essential oils of geranium, peppermint, fennel, marjoram, and chamomile plants. In the first experiment, the plants were irrigated with treated domestic sewage effluents, while in the second the plants irrigated with fresh water and received the mineral fertilizers. Heavy metals accumulation in plant organs and the nutritional status of plants were studied. Results indicated that the treated municipal waste water contain obvious amount of nutrients sufficiently to growing the tested crops and the plants had higher herb yield than that irrigated with fresh water. Irrigation of geranium and fennel plants with wastewater caused a significant increment in the essential oils concentration, but lowered it in peppermint and sweet marjoram plants. The oil yields of five crops were higher under wastewater irrigation and with geranium plants exceeded than that irrigated with fresh water. Uptake and accumulation of heavy metals in plant parts was varied. No detectable amount of the potential toxic elements was recorded in the essential oils of the aromatic plants. From this standpoint, treated municipal waste water can be used for growing aromatic plants to produce volatile oils without causing any reduction in quantity and quality of volatile oils.

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