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Impact of Irrigation of Distillery Spentwash on the Nutrients of Herbal Medicinal Plants

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Cultivation of some herbal medicinal plants was made by irrigation with distillery spent wash of different concentrations. The spent wash i.e., primary treated spent wash, 33 and 50 % spent wash were analyzed for their plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other physical and chemical characteristics. Experimental soil was tested for its chemical and physical parameters. Seeds of herbal medicinal plants were sowed in the prepared land and irrigated with raw water, 33 and 50 % spent wash. The impact of distillery spent wash on proximate principles (moisture, protein, fat, fibre, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorous, iron and energy), vitamin content (carotene and vitamin-C), mineral and trace elements (magnesium, sodium, potassium, copper, manganese, zinc, chromium and nickel) of herbal medicinal plants were investigated. It was found that the uptake of nutrients of all herbal medicinal plants in case of 33 % spent wash irrigation when compared with 50 % spentwash and raw water irrigations.
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Distillery spentwash of herbal medicinal plants
Medicinal Plants, 2(3) September 2010
187
Studies on the impact of irrigation of distillery spentwash
on the yields of herbal medicinal plants
S. Chandraju1, R. Nagendraswamy2, Girija Nagenrdaswamy3 and C.S. Chidankumar4
1Department of Studies in Sugar Technology, Sir M. Visweswaraya Postgraduate Center, University of Mysore,
Tubinakere, Mandya 571 402, Karnataka, India
2Department of Chemistry, Government First Grade College, Hanagodu 571 105, Mysore Dt. Karnataka, India
3Department of Chemistry, Maharani’s Science College for Women, JLB Road, Mysore 570005, Karnataka, India
4Department of Chemistry, Bharathi College, Bharathi Nagar 571 422, Mandya Dt. Karnataka, India
ABSTRACT
Cultivation of some herbal medicinal plants was made by irrigation with distillery spentwash of different
concentrations. The spentwash i.e., primary treated spentwash (PTSW), 50% and 33% spentwash were analyzed for
their plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and other physical and chemical characteristics.
Experimental soil was tested for its chemical and physical parameters. Seeds of herbal medicinal plants were sown
in the prepared land and irrigated with raw water (RW) 50% and 33% spentwash. The influence of spentwash on
the yields of herbal medicinal plants at their respective maturity was investigated. It was found that the yields of
all herbal medicinal plants were more in 33% spentwash irrigation than raw water and 50% spentwash irrigations.
[Medicinal Plants 2010; 2(3) : 187-191].
Keywords : Distillery spentwash, yields, herbal medicinal plants, seeds, soil
INTRODUCTION
Molasses (one of the important byproducts of sugar
industry) is the chief source for the production of
ethanol in distilleries by fermentation method. About 08
(eight) liters of wastewater is discharged for every liter
of ethanol production in distilleries, known as raw
spentwash (RSW), which is characterized by high
biological oxygen demand (BOD: 5000-8000mg/L) and
chemical oxygen demand (COD: 25000-30000mg/L),
undesirable color and foul smell (Joshi, 1994). Discharge
of raw spentwash into open land or near by water bodies
is a serious problem since it results in a number of
environmental, water and soil pollution including threat
to plant and animal lives. The RSW is highly acidic and
contains easily oxidisable organic matter with very high
BOD and COD (Patil, 1987). Also, spentwash contains
high organic nitrogen and nutrients (Ramadurai and
Gearard, 1994). By installing biomethenation plant in
Corresponding author : S. Chandraju
E-mail : chandraju1@yahoo.com
Research Article
distilleries, reduces the oxygen demand of RSW, the
resulting spentwash is called primary treated spent wash
(PTSW) and primary treatment to RSW increases the
nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorous (P)
contents and decreases the calcium (Ca), magnesium
(Mg), sodium (Na), chloride (Cl), and sulphate
(SO42) (Haroon and Bose, 2004). The PTSW is rich in
potassium (K), sulphur (S), nitrogen (N), phosphorous
(P) as well as easily biodegradable organic matter and
its application to soil has been reported to increase
yield of sugar cane (Zalawadia, 1997), rice (Devarajan
and Oblisami, 1995), wheat and rice (Pathak et al., 1998),
quality of groundnut (Singh et al., 2003) and
physiological response of soybean (Ramana et al., 2000).
Diluted spentwash could be used for irrigation purpose
without adversely affecting soil fertility (Kaushik et al.,
2005; Kuntal et al., 2004; Raverkar et al., 2000), seed
germination and crop productivity (Ramana et al., 2001).
The diluted spentwash irrigation improved the physical
and chemical properties of the soil and further increased
soil microflora (Devarajan, 1994; Kaushik et al, 2005;
Kuntal et al., 2004). Twelve pre-sowing irrigations with
the diluted spentwash had no adverse effect on the
Chandraju et al.
Medicinal Plants, 2(3) September 2010
188
germination of maize but improved the growth and yield
(Singh and Raj Bahadur, 1998). Diluted spentwash
increases the growth of shoot length, leaf number per
plant, leaf area and chlorophyll content of peas (Rani
and Srivastava, 1990). Increased concentration of
spentwash causes decreased seed germination, seedling
growth and chlorophyll content in Sunflowers
(Helianthus annuus) and the spent wash could safely
used for irrigation purpose at lower concentration
(Rajendra, 1990; Ramana et al., 2001). The spent wash
contained an excess of various forms of cations and
anions, which are injurious to plant growth and these
constituents should be reduced to beneficial level by
diluting the spentwash, which can be used as a
substitute for chemical fertilizer (Sahai et al., 1983). The
spent wash could be used as a complement to mineral
fertilizer to sugarcane (Chares, 1985). The spentwash
contained N, P, K, Ca, Mg and S and thus valued as a
fertilizer when applied to soil through irrigation with
water (Samuel, 1986). The application of diluted
spentwash increased the uptake of Zinc (Zn), Copper
(Cu), Iron (Fe) and Manganese (Mn) in maize and wheat
as compared to control and the highest total uptake of
these were found at lower dilution levels than at higher
dilution levels (Pujar, 1995). Mineralization of organic
material as well as nutrients present in the spentwash
were responsible for increased availability of plant
nutrients. Diluted spentwash increase the uptake of
nutrients, height, growth and yield of leaves vegetables
(Chandraju et al., 2007; Basvaraju and Chandraju, 2008),
nutrients of cabbage and mint leaf (Chandraju et al.,
2008), nutrients of top vegetable (Basvaraju and
Chandraju, 2008), pulses, condiments, root vegetables
(Chandraju et al., 2008), and yields of condiments
(Chandraju and Chidankumar, 2009). However, not much
information is available on the influence of distillery
spentwash irrigation on the yields of herbal medicinal
plants. Therefore, the present investigation was carried
out to study the influence of different proportions of
spentwash on the yields of herbal medicinal plants.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Physico-chemical parameters and amount of nitrogen
(N), potassium (K), phosphorous (P) and sulphur (S)
present in the primary treated diluted spentwash (50%
and 33%) were analyzed by standard methods
(Manivasakam, 1987). The PTSW was used for irrigation
with a dilution of 33% and 50%. A composite soil sample
collected (at 25 cm depth) prior to spentwash irrigation
was air-dried, powdered and analyzed for physico-
chemical properties (Piper, 1996; Jackson, 1973; Walkeley
and Black, 1934; Subbaiah and Asija, 1956; Black, 1965;
Lindsay and Norvel, 1978).
Herbal medicinal plants selected for the present
investigation were, Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Kama
kasturi (Ocimum basilicum), Thumbe (Leucas aspera),
Table 1. Chemical characteristics of distillery spentwash
Chemical parameters PTSW 50% 33%
PTSW PTSW
pH 7.57 7.63 7.65
Electrical conductivitya26400 17260 7620
Total solidsb47200 27230 21930
Total dissolved solidsb37100 18000 12080
Total suspended solidsb10240 5380 4080
Settleable solidsb9880 4150 2820
CODb41250 19036 10948
BODb16100 7718 4700
CarbonatebNil Nil Nil
Bicarbonateb12200 6500 3300
Total Phosphorousb40.5 22.44 17.03
Total Potassiumb7500 4000 2700
Calciumb900 590 370
Magnesiumb1244.16 476.16 134.22
Sulphurb70 30.2 17.8
Sodiumb520 300 280
Chloridesb6204 3512 3404
Ironb7.5 4.7 3.5
Manganeseb980 495 288
Zincb1.5 0.94 0.63
Copperb0.25 0.108 0.048
Cadmiumb0.005 0.003 0.002
Leadb0.16 0.09 0.06
Chromiumb0.05 0.026 0.012
Nickelb0.09 0.045 0.025
Ammonical Nitrogenb750.8 352.36 283.76
Charbohydratesc22.80 11.56 8.12
Unit: a - µS, b - mg/L, c - %, PTSW - Primary treated
distillery spentwash
Distillery spentwash of herbal medicinal plants
Medicinal Plants, 2(3) September 2010
189
Table 2. Amount of N, P, K and S (Nutrients) in
distillery Spentwash
Chemical parameters PTSW 50% 33%
PTSW PTSW
Ammonical Nitrogenb750.8 352.36 283.76
Total Phosphorousb40.5 22.44 17.03
Total Potassiumb7500 4000 2700
Sulphurb70 30.2 17.8
Unit: b - mg/L, PTSW - Primary treated distillery spentwash
Table 3. Characteristics of experimental soil
Parameters Values
Coarse sandc9.85
Fine sandc40.72
Slitc25.77
Clayc23.66
pH (1:2 soln) 8.41
Electrical conductivitya540
Organic carbonc1.77
Available Nitrogenb402
Available Phosphorousb202
Available Potassiumb113
Exchangeable Calciumb185
Exchangeable Magnesiumb276
Exchangeable Sodiumb115
Available Sulphurb337
DTPA Ironb202
DTPA Manganeseb210
DTPA Copperb12
DTPA Zincb60
Unit: a - µS, b - mg/L, c - %
Table 4. Characteristics of experimental soil (After
harvest)
Parameters Values
Coarse sandc9.69
Fine sandc41.13
Slitc25.95
Clayc24.26
pH (1:2 soln) 8.27
Electrical conductivitya544
Organic carbonc1.98
Available Nitrogenb434
Available Phosphorousb218
Available Potassiumb125
Exchangeable Calciumb185
Exchangeable Magnesiumb276
Exchangeable Sodiumb115
Available Sulphurb337
DTPA Ironb212
DTPA Manganeseb210
DTPA Copperb12
DTPA Zincb60
Unit: a - µS, b - mg/L, c - %
Yields of herbal medicinal plants at different irrigation
Indian borage (Plectranthus amboinicus). The seeds/
sets were sowed and irrigated by applying 5-10mm/cm2
depends upon the climatic condition) with raw water
(RW), 50% and 33% SW at the dosage of twice a week
and rest of the period with raw water as required. Trials
were conducted for three times and at the time maturity,
Chandraju et al.
Medicinal Plants, 2(3) September 2010
190
plants were harvested and the yields were recorded by
taking the average weight (Table 4).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Chemical composition of PTSW, 50% and 33% SW such
as pH, electrical conductivity, total solids (TS), total
dissolved solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS),
settelable solids (SS), chemical oxygen demand (COD),
biological oxygen demand (BOD), carbonates,
bicarbonates, total phosphorous (P), total potassium
(K), ammonical nitrogen (N), calcium (Ca), magnesium
(Mg), sulphur (S), sodium (Na), chlorides (Cl), iron (Fe),
manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd),
lead (Pb), chromium (Cr) and nickel (Ni) were analyzed
and tabulated (Table 1). Amount of N, P, K and S contents
are presented in Table 2.
Characteristics of experimental soils such as pH,
electrical conductivity, the amount of organic carbon,
available nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), potassium (K),
sulphur (S) exchangeable calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg),
sodium (Na), DTPA iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), copper
(Cu) and zinc (Zn) were analyzed and tabulated (Table
3). It was found that the soil composition is fit for the
cultivation of plants, because it fulfils all the
requirements for the cultivation of plants.
The yields were very high in the case of 33% SW
irrigation for all types of herbal medicinal plants, and
moderate in 50%, while comparatively poor in RW (Table
5). In our previous studies we also found 33% SW
irrigation favors the growth, yield and nutrients in plants.
This could be due to the maximum absorption of NPK
by the plants at higher dilution (33%). In the case of
50% SW irrigation the yields were less, this could be
due to more acidic nature than 33% SW. However, the
percentage yield is maximum in the case of, Kama kasturi
(Ocimum basilicum)-81.25,%.and minimum in case of
Thumbe (Leucas aspera)-56.9%, Tulsi(Ocimum sanctum)-
76.1%, Indian borage (Plectranthus amboinicus)-59.3 %.
The soil was tested after the harvest of vegetables,
shows there is enrich in the plant nutrients (N.P.K) in
the soil and no adverse effect on other parameters (Table
4).
CONCLUSION
It was noticed that the yields of all the herbal medicinal
plants were maximum in the case of 33% and moderate
in 50% SW and minimum in RW irrigations. In 33% SW
irrigation the plants are able to absorb maximum amounts
of nutrients both from the soil and the spent wash
resulting good yields. This concludes that, the SW can
be conveniently used for the cultivation of herbal
medicinal plants without external (either organic or
inorganic) fertilizers. This minimizes the cost of
cultivation and hence elevates the economy of the
farmers.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors RNS and GNS are thankful to The
commissioner of collegiate education in Karnataka, India,
for permission to carryout research and NSL Koppa,
Maddur Tq. Karnataka, for providing spentwash.
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Name of herbal medicinal plants Average weight (kg)
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Distillery spentwash of herbal medicinal plants
Medicinal Plants, 2(3) September 2010
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