Impact of Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) on Soil Physico-Chemical Properties and Some Vegetative Parameters of Maize (Zea mays L.) Plant

EI Oikeh, CC Osubor


Indiscriminate disposal of palm oil mill effluent (POME) on land occurs in the palm oil – producing region of Nigeria.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of POME on soil physico-chemical characteristics and the vegetative profile of
maize plant. Fresh POME was used to pollute soil at 10%, 20% and 30% (w/w). Physico-chemical analysis of the soil used for
planting was carried out before and at the end of the experiment. Vegetative analysis of the maize plants after 2, 3 and 4 weeks of
planting revealed significant decrease (P < 0.05) in leaf area, stem height, root weight and chlorophyll number in the plants grown in
POME-treated soil compared to control. Analysis of soil samples at the end of the study showed an increase in soil sodium, potassium,
magnesium, electrical conductivity and cation exchange capacity with increasing application of POME. Percentage carbon, nitrogen
and organic matter in POME – treated soils when compared to control post-planting were found to be decreased. However the highest
values were obtained in the 30% POME - treated group. Phosphorus levels in the POME - treated soils were observed to be sharply
reduced when compared to the control soil. No variation in the levels of aluminium ions in the POME-treated groups was observed
post-planting. The authors infer that despite the increased availability of some plant nutrients in the soil, the reduced values obtained
for vegetative parameters suggest that POME may not be beneficial for plant growth at the concentrations studied.

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