Response of Pumpkin and Chinese Cabbage to Increasing Copper and Cobalt Levels in Irrigation Water on Sandy and Clay Loam Soils

  •  John Volk    
  •  Benson Chishala    


A study where Chinese cabbage and pumpkin crops were grown on sandy loam and clay loam soils and irrigated with water contaminated with five levels of contamination from 0 (control), 25, 50, 75 and 100% of smelter water was carried out in a greenhouse. Copper concentration in Chinese cabbage ranged from 4.0 mg/kg in control treatments to 539.0 mg/kg in 100% contaminated water. In pumpkin, Cu ranged from 9.0 mg/kg in control to 142.0 mg/kg when irrigate with 100% contaminated water. Mean Cu in plants grown on sandy loam soil was 217.4 mg/kg dry and 79.3 mg/kg when grown on clay loam. Co in plants grown on sandy loam soil was 86.6 mg/kg and 47.0 mg/kg on clay loam soil. Increasing above ground tissue Cu in Chinese cabbage results in biomass yield decrease according to the equation Y = 7.624e-0.0016x, (R2 = 0.74) and in pumpkin decreased according to the equation Y = 8.4895e-0.004x (R2 = 0.58).This study suggests that Chinese cabbage tends to accumulate higher amounts of Cu and Co than pumpkin. It can be concluded from this study that irrigating crops with contaminated results in higher uptake of contaminants and reduced biomass on sandy loam than clay loam soils.

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