Potential of domestic sewage effluent treated as a source of water and nutrients in hydroponic lettuce
AbstractThe search for alternative sources of water for agriculture makes the use of treated sewage sludge an important strategy for achieving sustainability. This study evaluated the feasibility of reusing treated sewage effluent as alternative source of water and nutrients for the hydroponic cultivation of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L). The experiment was conducted in the greenhouse of the Center for Agricultural Sciences - UFSCar, in Araras, SP. The cultivation took place from February to March 2014. The hydroponic system used was the Nutrient Film Technique, and included three treatments: 1) water supply and mineral fertilizers (TA); 2) use of effluent treated and complemented with mineral fertilizers based on results of previous chemical analysis (TRA); and 3) use of treated effluent (TR). The applied experimental design was four randomly distributed blocks. We evaluated the fresh weight, nutritional status, the microbiological quality of the culture, and the amount of mineral fertilizers used in the treatments. The fresh weights were subjected to analysis of variance and means were compared by the Tukey test at 5% probability. Only the TR treatment showed a significant difference in the evaluated variables, as symptoms of nutritional deficiencies in plants and significant reduction in fresh weights (p <0.01) were found. There was no detectable presence of Escherichia coli in any treatment, and it was possible to use less of some fertilizers in the TRA treatment compared to TA.
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