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J Environ Sci Health B. 2013;48(5):393-401. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2013.742398.

Short-term impact of olive mill wastewater (OMWW) applications on the physico-chemical and microbiological soil properties of an olive grove in Argentina.

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  • 1Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (IMBIV, CONICET-UNC), Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología de los Alimentos (ICTA), Físicas y Naturales (FCEFyN-UNC), Córdoba, Argentina.


The purpose of this work was to investigate the effects of spreading olive oil mill wastewater (OMWW) on soil biochemical parameters and olive production in an organically managed olive orchard. The experiment was carried out with three different doses of OMWW (80, 160 and 500 m(3) ha(-1)) and a control (untreated soil). Three samplings were done at 10, 30 and 90 days after the administration of the byproduct. OMWW application differentially modified the biochemical properties of the soil analyzed. Organic matter, organic carbon, total nitrogen and extractable phosphorus soil contents increased proportionally with each increasing dose. The values of these parameters decreased gradually with time. Total microbial activity was altered and the OMWW 500 m(3) ha(-1) treatment proved to be the most active when compared with the other applied doses. OMWW agricultural application also modified the structure of soil microbial communities, particularly affecting Gram positive and negative bacteria, while fungal biomass did not show consistent changes. Although there was a salinity increase in the treated soil, especially at the highest dose, the productive parameters analyzed (fruit and oil tree(-1)) were not affected. In light of the obtained results, we consider that low dose of OMWW could be considered an alternative farming practice for semiarid regions.

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