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Municipal Sludge-induced Phytotoxicity


Richa Srivastava, Dinesh Kumar and Shrawan K. Gupta

Municipal sludge (MS), containing various types of environmental pollutants, can exert phytotoxic effects in plants. Seed germination, chlorophyll content, plant weight, root and shoot growth, and metal levels, were measured as endpoints to assess the phytotoxic effects of leachates of MS from Lucknow city in three plants, Triticum aestivum, Brassica campestris and Phaseolus aureus. Among the five metals analysed, lead was found to be present at the highest concentration, and chromium at the lowest. Aqueous MS leachates had lower amounts of metals than pure MS. Seed germination was inhibited significantly in all three plants. The greatest inhibition of root and shoot growth was observed in B. campestris and T. aestivum. Total chlorophyll was depleted in all three plants, but the maximum depletion was observed in T. aestivum exposed to 10% leachate. Symptoms such as necrosis, leaf discoloration and root curling were also observed after exposure to 10% leachate, and plant weight was reduced significantly. It is evident that MS from Lucknow city exerted phytotoxic effects on all three test plant species.