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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Production Management Research For Horticultural Crops in the Gulf South

Location: Southern Horticultural Research

Title: Chapter 24. emerging technologies for irrigation water treatment

Authors
item Elmer, Wade -
item Buck, James -
item Ahonsi, Monday -
item Copes, Warren

Submitted to: American Phytopathological Society Press
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: December 1, 2012
Publication Date: June 1, 2014
Citation: Elmer, W.H., Buck, J., Ahonsi, M.0., Copes, W.E. 2014. Chapter 24. emerging technologies for irrigation water treatment. American Phytopathological Society Press. p. 289-301.

Interpretive Summary: The summary provides a review of disinfestants that are less commonly used or are newer technologies being developed for treating large water volumes used for irrigation. Hydrogen peroxide and ozone are used to treat irrigation water in horticultural plant production systems, but have not yet been commonly adopted by these industries. Electrolyzed water and carbon dioxide have become commercially available to other industries such as medical and food processing, but require further evaluation and development as an irrigation water treatment. Nanoparticles are a developing technology that show promise but still need to be reviewed for safety. Nanofilters are a recent technological development. This information highlights promising technologies that can be evaluated and adopted by research scientists, extension specialists, and plant production industries.

Technical Abstract: Several disinfestants that have potential for treating recycled irrigation water are less commonly used or newer developing technologies. Hydrogen peroxide can reduce spread of pathogens in water that contains nutrients or pesticide residues without generating toxic residues. Benefits potentially include a reduction of pathogens insensitive to pesticides as well as reduced fertilizer and pesticide discharge into ground water. Electrolyzed water is a promising technology for microbial inactivation on surfaces and in irrigation water. Large scale trials are needed to determine the commercial feasibility of this technology. Ozone is the most powerful oxidant available and a proven disinfectant in treatment of drinking water. Ozone can inactivate plant pathogens in irrigation water, although scientific information about treating plant pathogens is limited. Carbon dioxide has been proven to be useful as a disinfestant against some organisms, but is still in early stages of development. Greenhouse plant production operations have generated carbon dioxide in the past for promoting plant growth, but recent production systems may be even cheaper. Another promising technology is the use of nanoparticles for treating irrigation water. Regulatory acceptance of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles will depend on risk assessments of human health and environment safety. The possibility of nanofibers being incorporated into nursery production for water purification and remediation is another promising new line of products being highlighted.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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