The fertilizing potential of treated municipal wastewater (oxidation ditch) and crop sanitary acceptability for direct human consumption were evaluated in Mendoza, Argentina. Two experiments were performed on a pilot plot planted with garlic (1998) and onions (1999) using furrow irrigation with three types of water in 10 random blocks: treated effluent (2.5 × 103 MPN Escherichia coli/100ml, 3 helminth eggs/l, and Salmonella (positive); and well water (free of microorganisms), with and without fertilizer. Two responses were evaluated: (1) crop yield, and (2) crop microbiological quality for human consumption at different times after harvest. Crop yields were compared using Variance analysis. Crops' sanitary acceptability was assessed using a two-class sampling program for Salmonella (n=10; c=0), and a three-class program for E. coli (n=5, c=2, M=103 and m=10 MPN/g) as proposed by the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) for fresh vegetables. Wastewater irrigation acted as well water with fertilizer, increasing garlic and onion yields by 10% and 15%, respectively, compared to irrigation with well water with no fertilizer. Wastewater-irrigated garlic reached sanitary acceptability 90 days after harvest, once attached roots and soil were removed. Onions, which were cleaned immediately after harvest, met this qualification earlier than garlic (55 days). Neither the wastewater-irrigated crops nor the control crops were microbiologically acceptable for consumption raw at harvest.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.