Volume No. 9 Issue No.: 1 Page No.: 83-93 July-September 2014




Menon Pallavi * and Palathingal Trisa Joseph

Department of Botany, S.S. and L.S. Patkar-Varde College, Mumbai (INDIA)


Received on : December 12, 2013




Increasing scarcity of freshwater resources and space especially in urban areas is driving many into using marginal quality water and poor quality soil for agriculture and related activities. The usage of treated or untreated sewage to land for irrigation and fertilisation of crops is known as sewage irrigation. In the present investigation an attempt was made to study the effect of sewage water on red amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor, Willd.) since it is one of the most widely consumed leafy vegetable. Amaranthus tricolor, Willd. was grown under laboratory conditions using sewage water, where in one set of the plant was subjected to sewage irrigation and the other set was subjected to potable water. The plants were harvested after 14 days, 21 days and 28 days, they were further analysed for various morphological and physio-chemical parameters. The plants of Amaranthus tricolor, Willd. were also analysed for the heavy metals lead, copper and Cadmium at every harvest (14 days, 21 days and 28 days). The samples was collected from central form area, Primises Tamil Nadu Agricultural University during January to March 2012 year. The morphological characteristics such as root length, shoot length, size of the lamina, length of the internode, fresh weight and dry weight were found to be higher in plants irrigated with potable water. Considering the nutritive value, it was found that the vitamin C content, protein content and iron content was more in the plants irrigated with sewage water. Lead content was found to be much higher in the plants irrigated with sewage water as compared to the plants irrigated with potable water. The highest lead content recorded was 0.120 mg/kg. The copper content of the plants irrigated with sewage water was lower than the permissible values for copper in food (40 mg/kg) as recommended by the FAO/WHO (2001). Cadmium was found only at the early immature stage of 7 days in the range of 0.06 0.19mg/kg which is lower than the permissible values for cadmium in food (0.2mg/kg). Although the nutritive value of plants irrigated with sewage water is high, it is not advisable to consume these plants due to the high heavy metal content.


Keywords : Heavy metals, Sewage irrigation, Water pollution, Red Amaranth, Toxicology