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Sistema de Información Científica
Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina y el Caribe, España y Portugal
Rev. Int. Contam. Ambie. 30 (4) 365-377, 2014
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN TOMATO PLANTS (
Lycopersicon esculentum
L.)
UNDER GREENHOUSE CONDITIONS
Fernando MARTEL-VALLES
1
, Adalberto BENAVIDES-MENDOZA
1
*,
Rosalinda MENDOZA-VILLARREAL
1
, Alejandro ZERMEÑO-GONZÁLEZ
2
and
Antonio JUÁREZ-MALDONADO
1
1
Departamento de Horticultura, Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro, México
2
Departamento de Riego y Drenaje, Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro, México
* Autor para correspondencia: abenmen@gmail.com
(Recibido mayo 2013; aceptado agosto 2014)
Palabras clave: aguas congénitas, salinidad, agricultura, calidad del agua
RESUMEN
Las estructuras geológicas productoras de hidrocarburos normalmente contienen aguas
congénitas y al ser extraídas durante el proceso industrial de producción de gas o pe-
tróleo su composición es modifcada y se le llama “agua producida”. El objetivo del
presente estudio Fue caracterizar y verifcar la Factibilidad del uso de aguas producidas
provenientes de la zona de exploración de gas de Sabinas-Piedras Negras de México,
para cultivar plantas de tomate bajo condiciones de invernadero. Se establecieron tres
tratamientos mezclando aguas producidas provenientes de tres estaciones productoras
de gas (Buena Suerte, Monclova 1 y Forasteros), con agua de riego normal. Las pro-
porciones de las mezclas fueron (mL de aguas producidas por L de agua de riego) 133,
3.4 y 125 respectivamente. Se incluyó un testigo en el que se usó solamente solución
Steiner. Las aguas producidas se analizaron bajo la NOM-143-SEMARNAT-2003, al
igual que los tratamientos. Los resultados mostraron que las mezclas con agua pro-
ducida proveniente de las estaciones Monclova 1 y Forasteros eran factibles de ser
utilizadas para la producción de tomate, ya que las variables morfológicas evaluadas
no presentaron diFerencias signifcativas comparadas con el testigo, aunque las plantas
regadas con la mezcla con agua de la estación Forasteros mostraron disminución del
peso seco de las hojas; pero la concentración promedio de minerales absorbidos por
las plantas fue la que más se acercó al testigo. El tratamiento con la mezcla de aguas
de la estación Buena Suerte no fue apta para uso agrícola porque afectó negativamente
el diámetro de tallo, el peso seco de la hoja, la longitud de raíz, limitó la absorción
mineral, además de causar la muerte del 58 % de las plantas.
Key words: congenital water, salinity, agriculture, water quality
ABSTRACT
The geological structures used for hydrocarbon production typically contain congenital
water whose composition is modifed when it is extracted during the industrial produc
-
tion processing oF oil or gas. This is known as “produced water.” The aim oF the present
study was to characterize and verify the feasibility of using produced water from the gas
F. Martel-Valles
et al.
366
exploration area of Sabinas-Piedras Negras, Mexico, to cultivate tomato plants under
greenhouse conditions. The treatments were established by mixing produced water
from three producing gas stations (Buena Suerte, Monclova 1 and Forasteros) with
good quality irrigation water. The mixture proportions were (mL of produced water
per L of fresh water) 133, 3.4 and 125, respectively. A control treatment consisted of
Steiner nutrient solution. The produced waters and mixtures were analyzed under NOM-
143-SEMARNAT-2003, a norm established for congenital waters. The results showed
that the mixtures with produced water from the Monclova 1 and Forasteros stations
were feasible for use in the production of tomatoes because the morphological growth
parameters did not show signifcant diFFerences compared with the control, although
the plants irrigated with mixtures containing water from the Forasteros station showed
decreased leaf dry weight. The average mineral concentrations absorbed by these plants
were the most similar to those of the control plants. The treatment with the mixture
of water from the Buena Suerte station was not suitable for agricultural use because
this mixture negatively affected the stem diameter, leaf dry weight and root length and
limited mineral absorption, causing the death of 58 % of the plants.
INTRODUCTION
Congenital water is the water that is trapped in
the pores of sediment at the moment of their forma-
tion. Geological structures producing hydrocarbons
normally contain congenital waters (SEMARNAT
2003a). Congenital water is removed during the
process of hydrocarbon production. This water can
contain a large quantity of salts. Because this water
does not evaporate or circulate between different stra-
ta, it has not been considered part of the hydrological
cycle (Leet and Judson 1974, Llamas 1993). When
this water is extracted during the process of gas and
oil production, its composition is modifed, and it is
then called “produced water” (ManFra
et al
. 2010).
Produced waters show variation in their physio-
chemical composition and volume depending on the
extraction site, the age and the geology of the forma-
tion from which the oil and gas is produced (Lee
et al
.
2002, Veil
et al
. 2004, Clark and Veil 2009). Various
studies have indicated a great variability in the sa-
linity characteristics and the content of elements of
produced water, and such variability can be observed
between hydrocarbon extraction sites in relatively
close proximity (Benavides-Mendoza 2008). Similar
variation occurs in the produced water derived from
marine platforms (Veil
et al.
2004, Manfra
et al
. 2010).
Some sources of produced water contain as much as
fve or six times the salt content oF seawater. They
also may contain concentrations of Cl
of 150 000
to 180 000 mg/L (sea water contains an average of
35 000 mg/L) and show an average electrical con-
ductivity (EC) of 3200 dS/m (Chave and Cox 1982).
With these levels of salts, the water is toxic for many
forms of life (Tinu and Amit 2011, ARPEL 2012),
particularly for crop plants, where water with an EC
greater than 3 dS/m
or 2000 mg/L total dissolved so-
lids (TDS) is considered saline (FAO 1994, GWPRF
2003, Clark and Veil 2009). In addition, produced
water can contain compounds of low molecular
weight, organic acids, condensers, oils and fats,
aromatic hydrocarbons, such as benzene, toluene
ethyl-benzene and xylene, polycyclic hydrocarbons
(PAH) and phenols. When present in the water, these
compounds contribute to the toxicity, individually
or in combination (Veil
et al
. 2004, Clark and Veil
2009). Produced water can also contain chemical
additives used during the drilling and production
operations (Clark and Veil 2009). The concentration
of metals in produced water varies according to the
specifc site, age, and geologic Formation From which
the petroleum or gas is produced, which affects the
availability and accumulation of metals (Veil
et al.
2004). Normally, the water derived from gas wells
contains metal concentrations several times greater
than that derived from oil wells (Jacobs
et al.
1992).
In 2002, 12.09 × 10
6
m
3
of produced water was gene-
rated in Mexico (SEMARNAT 2003a), and in 2010,
12.04 × 10
6
m
3
were produced, according to the in-
formation provided by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex
2010). As in Mexico, large volumes of produced wa-
ter are also extracted in other oil producing countries;
for example, in the USA, approximately 3.3 × 10
9
m
3
of produced water were generated from nearly one
million oil and gas wells in 2007 (Clark and Veil
2009). In Mexico, NOM-143-SEMARNAT-2003
(SEMARNAT 2003a) established the environmen-
tal specifcations For the management oF congenital
water (produced water) associated with hydrocarbon
exploitation. The norms establish the safe limits for
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN GREENHOUSE
367
compounds contained in produced water and the
authorized forms and methods of disposal of these
waters in Mexico. The most common technique
used is to increase the output of hydrocarbons by
injecting water into productive wells (SEMARNAT
2003a, CNH 2010). Other methods of disposal in-
clude injection into unproductive wells or discharge
into bodies of fresh water, along the coast or into the
ocean. In the U.S.A., a distinction is made between
water from marine platforms and that derived from
land-based wells (DOE 2012, USEPA 2012). The
method used for sea-based wells is discharge into the
sea after treatment, in accordance with the limits on
chemical contaminants set by the EPA (1993). For
land wells, produced waters are disposed of by in-
jection underground or are channeled to evaporation
or storage sites.
Alternatively, these waters may be useful for
certain industrial and agricultural purposes (Clark
and Veil 2009, DOE 2012). In the industry, these
waters are sometimes used to control dust or fres.
In agriculture, they may be used in irrigation or for
applications in the livestock industry or for wild ani-
mals (Veil
et al
. 2004, NPC 2011). It is known that
some types of produced water present a salt content
that makes their use feasible for agricultural purposes.
Such application has been tested experimentally (Veil
et al
. 2004, DOE 2012).
Mexico does not have suFfcient inFormation avai
-
lable about the composition of its produced waters,
and no studies have been published to prove the pos-
sibilities of its use in crop cultivation. Therefore, the
objective of the present study was to characterize and
verify the feasibility of using produced water to irri-
gate agricultural crops. Specifcally, we studied pro
-
duced water derived from the oil- and gas-producing
zone of Sabinas-Piedras Negras, in northern Mexico,
using tomato plants cultivated under greenhouse
conditions as an indicator of feasibility.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The experimental work was conducted in a gre-
enhouse located in Buenavista, Saltillo, Coahuila,
Mexico, whose geographic coordinates are North
latitude, 25 22’, West longitude 101 00’, at an altitude
of 1760 meters.
Produced waters
The produced water used for the present study was
obtained from three Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX)
gas-producing wells (Buena Suerte, Monclova 1
and Forasteros) located in the municipalities of San
Buenaventura, Monclova and Abasolo, respectively,
in the gas production area of Sabinas-Piedras Negras
of Coahuila State, Mexico. Each of these stations
gets portions of produced water from as many as 25
wells; therefore, the water from each station was a
mixture from various nearby wells. These stations
were selected because of the high electrical conduc-
tivity values of their produced waters.
To characterize the produced waters taken from
the Buena Suerte, Monclova 1 and Forasteros sta-
tions, produced water samples taken from these
stations were analyzed according to NOM-143-SE-
MARNAT-2003 (SEMARNAT 2003a). For com-
parative purposes, Steiner Solution (Steiner, 1961)
at 75 % concentration was also analyzed under this
norm. This analysis included the light, medium and
heavy fractions of the hydrocarbons under the EPA
methods 8015B-1996 (USEPA 1996) and EPA-
8260C-2006 (USEPA 2006). The analysis also con-
sidered fats and oils and the different concentrations
of Zn
+2
, Pb
+2
, Ni
+2
, Cd
+2
, Cu
+2
, Hg
+2
, As
+3
, Cr
+3
,
total
nitrogen, total phosphorus, nitrates, nitrites, and the
sum of nitrogenous compounds, including the sum
of ammoniacal nitrogen and organic nitrogen (Se-
cretaría de Economía 2010). We also assessed the
pH, biochemical demand of oxygen (BDO
5
), solid
sediments, ±oating matter, total solids, total dissolved
solids (TDS), total suspended solids (TSS) and total
volatile solids (TVS). The techniques used to make
the above determinations are listed in NOM-001-
ECOL-1996 (SEMARNAT 1996) in the references
section.
In addition, the above samples, plus a sample of
the water used for irrigation, were analyzed to assess
their quality as irrigation water (FAO 1994). The
analysis included electrical conductivity, pH, total
dissolved solids (TDS), and dissolved minerals (K
+
,
Ca
+2
, Mg
+2
, Na
+
, CO
3
–2
and SO
4
–2
), according to
Normas Ofciales Mexicanas and Normas Mexica
-
nas (CONAGUA 2014a, CONAGUA 2014b). The
analysis also obtained the sodium adsorption rate
(SAR) and the effective salinity (SE = Anions Sum
– [Ca + Mg]).
Establishment of the experiment
To prepare the treatments to be applied, the EC
from each produced water sample was determined;
a dilution of the produced waters was made with the
available fresh water in the greenhouse using a HAN-
NA model HI 98129 conductivity meter to obtain a
numerical EC value of approximately 1.5 dS/m (the
average EC value of the applied fertilizing solution).
F. Martel-Valles
et al.
368
After dilution, the pH of each sample of the mixtures
was analyzed to verify the concentration of essential
nutriment dissolved minerals. A Thermo Jarrel ASH
inductive coupling plasma (ICP/AA) spectrometer
was used for this purpose. The proportions in which
the produced waters were used in the treatments for
irrigation of the plants are shown in
Table I
; Steiner
Solution (Steiner 1961) was used as the control (T0).
The solution was applied in different concentrations
according to the growth stage of the plant (ranging
from EC 1.8 to 2.83 dS/cm).
Plant cultivation and treatment applications
The plants were cultivated in the greenhouse from
June 23 to November 4, 2011. Tomato plants of the
saladette type (
Lycopersicon esculentum
L.) cv. “Rio
Grande,” with a determined growth pattern, were
used because this crop represents 56 % of the total
tomato production in Mexico (SAGARPA 2010) and
because it is a moderately salt-sensitive glycophyte
species (Chinnusamy
et al.
2005) and has a potential
yield that is located in the middle of the other varie-
ties (INIFAP 2014). The seedlings were produced
in 200-cavity polystyrene trays, using a mixture of
peat moss and perlite (3:1) as substrate. They were
later transplanted into black polystyrene pots with
a volume of 16 liters using the same substrate. To
obtain plants with homogeneous vigor and growth,
the plants were watered with the fertilizing solution
only for 20 days before initiating the treatments.
Water application was performed three times per
day at 9:00, 13:00 and 18:00 h with the aim to keep
the substrate wet and provide the plants with the nu-
trients needed for the treatments (Ikeda
et al
. 2002).
At the start of plant growth, 400 mL was applied
per plant per watering. This quantity was increased
as the plants grew, until it reached 800 mL per plant
per watering at the end of the cycle. The produced
water treatment was applied in the frst and third
waterings, whereas in all cases, the fertilizing solu-
tion was applied in the second watering.
Morphologic variables assessed
The morphologic variables determined were the
stem diameter (SD) (mm), measured at the frst in
-
ternode on the stem base utilizing a digital Vernier
calibrator, the height of the plants (cm) (H), measured
from the stem base to the terminal bud, and the root
length (cm) (RL) from the base of the stem to the
central root cap. The plant dry weight (g) of the aerial
part (leaves plus stem) (PDW) was obtained at the
Fowering stage, and at the ±ructifcation stage, the
dry weights of the leaves (LDW) and stems (SDW)
were determined in separate measurements. The dry
weight was measured after drying for 3 days at 60 ºC
by employing an analytical balance. To determine
the number o± ±ruits per plant (²N), fve plants per
treatment were chosen at random during the fructi-
fcation stage. In these plants, the number o± ±ruits
was counted in each of six cuts. The production of
fruit per plant (g) (FW) was the sum of six individual
cuts during the harvest period between 93 and 128
days after transplantation.
Plant mineral content
To determine the mineral content (N, P, Ca, Mg,
Na, ²e, Cu, Zn and Mn), fve plants per treatment
were chosen at random at both the Fowering and
±ructifcation stages (93 and 128 days a±ter transplan
-
tation, respectively). At Fowering, root and aerial
samples were collected, and at ±ructifcation, lea±,
fruit and root samples were collected. The samples
were dried at 60 ºC in a dehydrating stove and later
ground and subjected to acid digestion. The digestion
extracts were analyzed using a Varian AA atomic
absorption spectrophotometer, according to AOAC
(1980). The phosphorus was determined via a colo-
rimetric method using an aminonaphthol sulfonic
acid reagent (ANSA) (Harris and Popat, 1954) and a
Helios Epsilon spectrometer UV-Vis at a wavelength
of 640 nm. The nitrogen was determined using the
macro Kjeldhal method in compliance with standard
techniques (AOAC 1980).
Statistical analysis
The experimental procedure was conducted under
a completely randomized design, with 26 repetitions
per treatment in the case of the morphology variables;
however, in the case o± the mineral analysis, only fve
repetitions were carried out. The experimental unit
was a 16 L pot with a plant supplied with the respec-
tive treatment. For the statistical analysis, we utilized
TABLE I.
TREATMENT DESCRIPTION, SHOWING THE
PROPORTION OF MILLILITERS OF PRODUCED
WATER PER LITER OF FRESH WATER
Treatment Station
Proportion of
produced water (mL)
pH
EC
(dS/m)
T0
Nutrient solution
0.0
6.50
*
T1
Buena Suerte
133.3
7.22
1.51
T2
Monclova 1
3.4
7.96
1.49
T3
Forasteros
125.0
7.92
1.49
* The values in T0 ranged from EC 1.8 to 2.83 dS/m
according
to the plant phenologic stage
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN GREENHOUSE
369
an analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tukey’s test
(
a
≤ 0.05) to determine differences among the means
using the SAS software (SAS Institute Inc. 2002).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Analysis of produced water
The results show that the produced water co-
ming from either the Buena Suerte or Forasteros
Station had high hydrocarbon content according to
NOM-143-SEMARNAT-2003 subsection 5.1.5.1
(SEMARNAT 2003a). According to these values
(
Table II
), these waters could cause toxicity in the
soil and crops and physiological problems such as
germination inhibition, vegetal growth suppression
or plant death (Powell 1997) if used as irrigation wa-
ter, as reported by some authors (Adam and Duncan
2002, Quiñones-Aguilar
et al.
2003, SEMARNAT
2003b). None of the produced waters exceeded the
permissible maximum limit of 25 mg/L
daily avera-
ge of fats and oils established for irrigation waters
per NOM-001-SEMARNAT-1996 (SEMARNAT
1996). The produced water from the Buena Suerte
station was outside the pH optimal range for use
as irrigation water (FAO 1994, De Kreij 1999). All
produced water has a high BOD, which indicates that
it can inhibit microbial activity by decreasing the
oxidation of the organic matter present in the water
(Hudson
et al.
2008). It was observed that the total
volatile solids (TVS) and the total dissolved solids
(TDS) and volatile solids (VS) of the produced waters
in the Buena Suerte and Monclova 1 stations were
above the limit of NOM-001-SEMARNAT-1996 (SE-
MARNAT 1996). In addition, the total phosphorus
in the produced waters from all of the stations was
in no way optimal (SEMARNAT 1996), nor were
the nitrates and nitrites, according to FAO (1994).
On the contrary, the total nitrogen level in the water
from the Monclova 1 station and in the fertilizing
solution was above the values speciFed in NOM-
001-SEMARNAT-1996 (SEMARNAT 1996). Re-
garding minerals, the water from Monclova station 1
was outside the permissible range for Pb according
TABLE II
. ANALYSIS OF PRODUCED WATERS ACCORDING TO NOM-143-SEMARNAT-2003
(SEMARNAT 2003a), REFERENCED TO STEINER SOLUTION (STEINER 1961) AT
75 % AND ANALYZED ACCORDING TO THE SAME NORMS. ALL CONCENTRA-
TIONS ARE EXPRESSED IN
mg/L, EXCEPT FOR pH
Parameter
Buena Suerte
Monclova 1 Forasteros
Fertilizing solution
Light fraction hydrocarbons
<0.30
<0.30
<0.30
<0.30
Medium fraction hydrocarbons
103.20
1.80
20.70
<0.50
Heavy fraction hydrocarbons
<4.10
<4.10
<4.10
<4.10
pH
4.43
6.50
6.67
4.29
Biochemical demand for oxygen
12 353.00
499.30
1 515.30
1.50
Total phosphorus
<0.30
<0.30
<0.30
11.09
Kjeldahl total nitrogen
30.50
66.90
15.10
73.10
Nitrite
0.06
<0.02
<0.02
<0.02
Nitrate
4.34
0.93
5.61
0.29
Sedimentable solids
<0.10
<0.10
<0.10
<0.10
Floating matter
ND
ND
ND
ND
Total solids
10 760.00
153 750.00
5 120.00
2 070.00
Total dissolved solids
10 732.00
153 750.00
5 120.00
2 070.00
Total suspended solids
28.00
<9.00
<9.00
<9.00
Total volatile solids
6 110.00
20 570.00
670.00
560.00
Nitrogen sum
34.90
67.83
20.71
73.39
Fats and oils
18.10
10.40
6.60
9.10
Zn
+2
0.78
0.17
0.11
0.94
Pb
+2
<0.50
1.77
<0.50
<0.50
Ni
+2
<0.10
1.22
<0.10
<0.10
Cd
+2
<0.05
0.37
<0.05
<0.05
Cu
+2
<0.10
0.148
<0.10
0.65
Hg
+2
<0.001
<0.001
<0.001
<0.001
As
+3
<0.001
<0.001
<0.001
<0.001
Cr
+3
<0.10
0.39
<0.10
<0.10
ND = none detected
F. Martel-Valles
et al.
370
to NOM-001-SEMARNAT-1996 (SEMARNAT
1996) and over the toxic threshold according to the
ARPEL (2012) guide. All other minerals were within
the limits set by NOM-001-SEMARNAT-1996 (SE-
MARNAT 1996).
Table III
shows the quality of the produced
water from the three stations. The water treated
with Steiner fertilizer solution at 50 % and the fresh
water are also shown. The produced waters coming
from Buena Suerte and Monclova l had EC values
above the maximum limits for irrigation water (De
Kreij and Van Den Berg 1990, FAO 1994, GWPRF
2003), indicating that when applied directly, these
waters result in stress-induced salinity (Pessarakli
2011). Although the water pH from Buena Suerte and
Forasteros was outside the optimum pH range, i.e.,
5.5 to 6.5 (De Kreij 1999), indicating that some of
the essential elements would not be available to the
plants (De Kreij and Van Den Berg 1990), it was still
within the recommended ranges for irrigation water
according to FAO (1994). The produced water from
Monclova l also presented high values of Ca
+2
and
Mg
+2
(FAO 1994), which may cause precipitation of
the phosphorus (Jones 2005). In addition, all of the
waters had bicarbonate levels above the FAO limits
(FAO 1994), which can promote the precipitation
of Ca
+2
and Mg
+2
(Vivot
et al
. 2010). The produced
water from the Forasteros Station also had a chloride
concentration above the recommended limits (FAO
1994, SEMARNAT 2003a), which can induce cell
necrosis (Razeto 1991). Additionally, the produced
water from the Monclova 1 station exceeded the TDS
and RAS (FAO 1994, SEMARNAT 2003a) so that
when applied, this water may induce osmotic stress
in the plants by the high concentration of TDS (Sa-
ravanakumar and Ranjith, 2011). Likewise, the RAS
with high concentrations of sodium ions displaces the
calcium and magnesium (González 2000), leading to
a decrease in leaf size (Jones 2005).
Table IV
shows the results of the analysis of the
fresh water used, the treatment waters (mixture of
produced and fresh water), and the Steiner fertilizer
solution at 100 % concentration used as the control.
We observed that the ionic concentrations in the
different mixtures of produced water solutions were
lower than those recommended by Steiner (1961)
for a fertilizer solution at 100 %. However, accor-
ding to the ARPEL (2012) guide, they were within
marginally adequate range for fertilizers. It was also
observed that the concentrations of Mn, Ca, Mo, Fe,
Cu and sulfates were lower in the three treatments
than in the control, whereas the Mg concentration
was lower in the Monclova 1 treatments (T2) and
Foresteros treatments (T3). With respect to Zn, the
Monclova 1 treatments and Buena Suerte treatments
(T1) were equal. The concentrations of Na and chlo-
rides were greater in the control than in the three
treatments. Although the Na level surpassed the limit
recommended by Steiner (1961), it was within the
maximum permitted limits for general use in hydro-
ponics (Jones 2005). The pH of the treatments was
elevated in comparison to the control but within the
limits of irrigation quality set by FAO (1994).
Morphology of the plants
Table V
depicts the results of the morphological
variables assessed in the tomato plants during the
fowering and Fructi±cation stages. It was observed
TABLE III
. ANALYSIS OF WATER QUALITY OF THE TREATMENTS OF PRODUCED WATER AND STEINER
FERTILIZING SOLUTION AT 50%. THE FRESH WATER WAS ALSO ANALYZED FOR COMPARA-
TIVE PURPOSES
Parameter
Units
Buena Suerte
Monclova 1 Forasteros
Fertilizing solution
Fresh water
CE
dS/m
6.47
103.20
3.75
1.39
0.72
pH
4.7
6.1
8.5
6.1
8.0
K
+
mg/L
51.1
53.3
52.2
50.6
48.4
Ca
+2
mg/L
194.8
10 198.3
294.3
147.2
82.2
Mg
+2
mg/L
84.0
3 113.6
18.4
70.9
47.3
Na
+
mg/L
114.8
103.8
113.6
106.2
78.1
Carbonates
mg/L
ND
ND
ND
ND
12.9
Bicarbonates
mg/L
65.9
144.9
105.4
92.2
263.6
Sulfates
mg/L
955.6
587.7
59.0
781.3
340.5
Sodium adsorption ratio (SAR)
1.73
0.23
1.73
1.80
1.69
Chlorides
mg/L
421.9
44 325.0
1 854.6
49.6
39.0
Total dissolved solids
mg/L
1 108.5
66 048.0
1 111.0
890.2
1 086.7
Effective salinity
meq/L
21.85
768.42
20.75
17.58
7.87
ND = none detected
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN GREENHOUSE
371
that in the fowering stage, there were no signiFcant
differences among the treatments in the response
variables H, SD and PDW. At this stage, only the
variable RL did show a signiFcant di±±erence, indi
-
cating that the variables measured in the plants of
the Monclova l treatment were higher than the other
TABLE IV.
WATER QUALITY ANALYSIS OF TREATMENTS (T1, T2 and T3) AND THE CONTROL
STEINER NUTRIENT SOLUTION AT 100% STRENGTH (T0)
Parameter
Units
T1
T2
T3
T0
CE
dS/m
2.06
1.202
1.134
2.30
pH
7.1
8.1
7.9
5.4
K
+
mg/L
53.271
51.101
50.016
45.135
Ca
+2
mg/L
75.751
68.563
57.715
130.466
Mg
+2
mg/L
52.531
15.321
21.888
41.587
Na
+
mg/L
111.144
100.116
102.566
84.185
Fe
+2
mg/L
ND
ND
ND
1.2
Cu
+2
mg/L
0.1202
0.1099
0.1204
0.4835
Zn
+2
mg/L
0.1948
0.1879
0.3511
0.3296
Mn
+2
mg/L
0. 4124
0.1599
0.1965
2.4790
Mo
+6
mg/L
ND
ND
ND
0.2667
Carbonates
mg/L
0.0
15.60
7.8
0.0
Bicarbonates
mg/L
126.9
142.762
126.90
63.450
Sulfates
mg/L
65.032
71.372
57.251
544.372
Sodium adsorption ratio (SAR)
2.40
2.847
2.917
1.631
Chlorides
mg/L
400.69
216.306
237.58
88.65
Total dissolved solids
mg/L
1 318.48
769.28
725.75
1 043.84
Effective salinity
meq/L
12.21
7.482
8.082
13.85
ND = none detected. T0: Control (Steiner solution at 100%). T1: Treatment with produced water from Buena Suerte
station. T2: Treatment with produced water from Monclova 1 station. T3: Treatment with produced water from
Forasteros station. Treatments T1 to T3 refer to the mixture of the produced water with normal irrigation water
TABLE V.
MORPHOLOGY VARIABLES MEASURED AT FLOWERING AND
FRUCTIFICATION STAGES IN TOMATO PLANTS
Treatment
H
SD
PDW
RL
cm
mm
g
cm
Flowering stage
T0
78.6a
13.92a
70.33a
57.8ab
T1
70.8a
10.42a
41.04a
44.4b
T2
75.1a
13.01a
65.75a
79.6a
T3
73.2a
11.25a
53.14a
46.2b
²ructiFcation stage
H
SD
LDW
SDW
RL
FN
FP
cm
mm
g
g
cm
g
T0
82.4a
15.83a
111.32a
32.07a
64.6ab
21.0a
1 836.4a
T1
77.2a
12.85b
63.86c
19.14a
52.4b
22.8a
1 420.4a
T2
75.2a
16.11a
100.85ab
26.78a
87.3a
17.6a
1 821.6a
T3
79.0a
14.46a
84.64bc
19.87a
68.6ab
14.6a
1 420.4a
H height; SD stem diameter; PDW plant dry weight; LDW leaf dry weight; SDW
stem dry weight; RL root length; FN fruits number (per plant); FP fruits production.
N=5;
Di±±erent letters in columns indicate signiFcant di±±erences (Tukey, α ≤ 0.05).
T0: Control (Steiner solution at 100%). T1: Treatment with produced water from
Buena Suerte station. T2: Treatment with produced water from Monclova 1 station.
T3: Treatment with produced water from Forasteros station. Treatments T1 to T3
refer to the mixture of the produced water with normal irrigation water
F. Martel-Valles
et al.
372
treatments; most likely with the daily irrigation, the
chloride concentration of the Buena Suerte and Fo-
rasteros stations could accumulate, causing reduced
growth and cell necrosis (Razeto 1991), and the high
concentration of carbonate in the plants irrigated with
water from the outside station (FAO 1994) was able
to precipitate the Ca and Mg, refected in the lower
biomass production (Barker and Pilbeam 2007).
In the Fructi±cation stage, compared with the
control SD, the LDW and RL in the Buena Suerte
treatment were the lowest (with a difference of
approximately 19 % and 43 %, respectively). Con-
sidering the RL, the treatment with the Buena Suerte
water mixture was also lower but, in this case, only
showed a signi±cant diFFerence with the Monclova 1
treatment; the RL in the Monclova 1 treatment was
67 % higher. In the rest of the assessed morphological
variables (H, SDW, FN and FW), all of the treatments
were statistically equal. This fact agrees with the re-
sults reported by Jackson and Meyers (2002). They
reported that though it is feasible to use produced
waters on plant growth, the yield of biomass and
number of fruits is lower compared with that of plants
treated with nutrient solution.
The results show that the plants treated with the
Buena Suerte water mixture showed negative effects
in some of the assessed variables (SD, LDW and RL)
(
Table V
). We should note that 15 of the 26 plants in
this treatment died. It is very likely that their death
was caused by the harmful effect of the hydrocarbons
and chloride (Razeto 1991, RamanaRao
et al.
2012).
The produced water utilized for this treatment
contained a higher middle fraction of hydrocarbon
contents (SEMARNAT 2003a) than did the other
two stations (
Table II
) and was the least diluted of
the three treatments (
Table I
). This ±nding is similar
to the results of some studies that suggest that high
hydrocarbon content in waters can cause toxicity in
crops if used for irrigation (Adam and Duncan 2002,
Quiñones-Aguilar
et al
. 2003) and provoke physio-
logical problems such as vegetal growth suppression
and plant death (Powell 1997). In addition, the high
pH of the water of the different treatments could
inhibit the absorption of trace elements (De Kreij
1999), which, coupled with the highest concentration
of Na, may cause nutritional imbalances in the plant
(Yokoi
et al.
2002).
Effect of treatments on the mineral content of the
tomato plants
The results of mineral concentration analysis in
the root oF the tomato plants in either the fowering
or Fructi±cation stages are shown in
Table VI
. The
results of mineral concentration analysis in the
aerial part at the fowering stage and in the stems
and leaves in the Fructi±cation stage are depicted
in
Table VII
. Finally, the mineral content in the
tomato Fruit, From the ±rst to the sixth cuts, can be
observed in
Table VIII
.
The concentrations of P, K, Ca, Na, Fe, Cu and
Mn in the root were not affected by the treatments
in the fowering stage. The nitrogen concentration
TABLE VI.
MINERAL CONCENTRATIONS IN THE ROOT OF TOMATO PLANTS
DURING FLOWERING AND FRUCTIFICATION
Tr
N
P
K
Ca
Mg
Na
Fe
Cu
Zn
Mn
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
Flowering stage
T0
2.04b
0.26a
2.34a
0.33a
0.71a
0.10a
514.6a
10.8a
220.4a
356.6a
T1
1.99b
0.27a
1.67a
0.30a
0.52b
0.27a
307.4a
13.0a
153.8ab
327.6a
T2
1.89b
0.22a
2.17a
0.29a
0.77a
0.27a
365.4a
10.8a
182.8ab
269.4a
T3
2.52a
0.22a
2.12a
0.27a
0.64ab 0.17a
442.0a
10.8a
123.8b
230.8a
²ructi±cation stage
T0
2.89a
0.22a
0.74b
1.68a
0.38a
0.16b
57.4b
32.0a
248.6a
163.4a
T1
2.48ab
0.13b
1.52a
1.45a
0.33a
0.33b
107.0ab
19.0ab
118.6c
134.4ab
T2
1.89b
0.09b
1.79a
1.51a
0.40a
0.91a
175.0a
13.4b
173.0b
38.6c
T3
2.57ab
0.08b
1.52a
1.37a
0.35a
0.44ab 170.2a
15.4b
96.8c
75.2bc
Tr Treatment, N=5;
DiFFerent letters in columns indicate signi±cant diFFerences (Tukey, α ≤ 0.05).
T0: Control (Steiner solution at 100%). T1: Treatment with produced water from Buena Suerte
station. T2: Treatment with produced water from Monclova 1 station. T3: Treatment with pro-
duced water from Forasteros station. Treatments T1 to T3 refer to the mixture of the produced
water with normal irrigation water
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN GREENHOUSE
373
in the plants irrigated with the Forasteros water
mixture was greater than the other treatments,
including the control. However, the plants grown
in all treatments were within the normal range for
root mineral content (Barker and Pilbeam 2007). A
difference was observed, however, in the case of Zn,
TABLE VIII.
NUTRIENT CONCENTRATIONS IN THE FRUIT AT FIRST AND SIXTH
CUTS
Tr
N
P
K
Ca
Mg
Na
Fe
Cu
Zn
Mn
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
First Cut
T0
3.52a
0.28a
2.24a
0.28a
0.04a
0.08a
162.2a
12.0a
78.2a
40.6a
T1
3.02a
0.19a
1.69a
0.25a
0.04a
0.09a
136.4a
6.4b
57.8a
17.8b
T2
2.98a
0.19a
2.16a
0.16a
0.04ab
0.07a
172.4a
9.8ab
54.0a
22.4b
T3
2.33a
0.24a
2.11a
0.17a
0.03b
0.13a
85.6a
8.6ab
41.6a
21.0b
Sixth Cut
T0
3.20a
0.26a
1.88ab
0.19a
0.02b
0.08a
78.0a
15.0a
32.8a
51.4a
T1
2.35a
0.24a
2.02ab
0.17a
0.03a
0.06a
80.6a
9.2b
27.4a
18.8b
T2
2.62a
0.25a
2.28a
0.18a
0.03ab
0.09a
64.6a
10.0b
28.4a
13.2b
T3
2.67a
0.19a
1.54b
0.15a
0.03a
0.10a
83.4a
9.0b
30.2a
18.4b
Tr Treatment, N=5;
Different letters in columns indicate signiFcant differences (Tukey, α ≤ 0.05).
T0: Control (Steiner solution at 100%). T1: Treatment with produced water from Buena Suerte station.
T2: Treatment with produced water from Monclova 1 station. T3: Treatment with produced
water from Forasteros station. Treatments T1 to T3 refer to the mixture of the produced water
with normal irrigation water
TABLE VII.
CONCENTRATION OF NUTRIENTS IN DIFFERENT ORGANS OF THE
PLANT IN THE FLOWERING STAGE FOR AERIAL PARTS AND IN
THE FRUCTIFICATION STAGE FOR LEAF AND STEM
Tr
N
P
K
Ca
Mg
Na
Fe
Cu
Zn
Mn
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
(%)
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
mg/L
Flowering stage (aboveground biomass)
T0
3.84a
0.49a
1.95ab
0.50a
1.06a
2.29a
99.0a
18.4c
81.2a
272.2a
T1
3.09a
0.43a
2.74a
0.41a
0.86b
0.36b
96.0a
76.6a
66.8a
146.0b
T2
3.24a
0.40a
1.37b
0.41a
0.88b
0.22b
75.6a
18.2c
85.4a
303.4a
T3
2.87a
0.37a
1.84ab
0.41a
0.90b
0.25b
82.8a
32.0b
74.0a
232.0ab
±ructiFcation stage (leaf)
T0
2.46a
0.62a
2.04a
2.01b
0.25b
0.05a
107.0a
10.8a
53.8b
804.8a
T1
2.43a
0.28b
1.04c
3.60a
1.01a
0.08a
53.8a
7.6a
116.6a
323.8c
T2
2.59a
0.21b
1.45b
1.92b
0.54b
0.12a
154.2a
8.2a
88.2ab
634.0ab
T3
2.64a
0.27b
1.53b
1.92b
0.36b
0.21a
134.4a
9.0a
102.2ab
607.2b
±ructiFcation stage (stem)
T0
2.67a
0.39a
0.75b
0.92b
0.07b
0.10b
67.8b
8.8a
234.6a
185.0a
T1
1.82b
0.17b
1.29b
1.28a
0.40a
0.22ab
28.2b
3.4b
93.6b
97.2c
T2
1.81b
0.15b
1.70ab
0.72b
0.15b
0.22ab 247.8a
8.2a
230.4a
144.8b
T3
1.92b
0.20b
1.95a
0.80b
0.11b
0.34a
69.8a
7.4ab 163.8ab
103.8c
Tr Treatment, N=5;
Different letters in columns indicate signiFcant differences (Tukey, α ≤ 0.05).
T0: Control (Steiner solution at 100%). T1: Treatment with produced water from Buena
Suerte station. T2: Treatment with produced water from Monclova 1 station. T3: Treatment
with produced water from Forasteros station. Treatments T1 to T3 refer to the mixture of the
produced water with normal irrigation water
F. Martel-Valles
et al.
374
as the Forasteros treatment showed a lower concen-
tration of that element. In the fructiFcation stage,
only Ca and Mg did not show a signiFcant diffe
-
rence. It was also observed that the concentrations
of P, Cu, Zn and Mn were lower in the three groups
treated with the produced water compared with the
control, whereas in the case of K and Fe, higher
levels were exhibited in the treatments than in the
control (
Table VI
). Concerning Mn, the observed
results could have been due to the lower concentra-
tion of this element in the treatments with produced
water than in the control, so the latter treatment
may have limited Mn absorption (
Table IV
).
Although differences were observed among the
treatments regarding nitrogen, the pattern was not
clear and remained within the normal range for the
roots (Barker and Pilbeam 2007). Concerning the
N, P, Ca, Fe, and Zn concentrations in the aerial part
at the ±owering stage, no signiFcant differences
were observed, but in the case of Na and Mg, the
concentrations of these elements were signiFcantly
lower in the plants treated with produced water
when compared with the control (
Table VII
). Be-
cause the mixtures with produced water showed
higher bicarbonate concentration (Vivot
et al.
2010),
and K was above normal in the aboveground part
(Salisbury and Ross 1992), we speculate that some
type of competition in the absorption of different
cations was present that favored K uptake. The Cu
concentration in the Buena Suerte treatment was
three times higher than in the control (
Table VII
),
exceeding the toxic level for plants according to
ARPEL (2012). Cui
et al
. (2010) noted that high Cu
promote reactive oxygen species in concentrations
that diminish growth by destroying membranes
and add to the negative effects of the hydrocarbons
mentioned previously (Razeto 1991, RamanaRao
et
al.
2012). We can attribute these negative effects of
the hydrocarbons plus Cu on the variables of SD,
LDW and RL (
Table V
), as we have discussed, to
the death of 15 plants, which occurred during the
growing period of the plants treated with the Buena
Suerte water mixture.
No differences were observed in N, Na, Fe and
Cu in the leaves at fructiFcation; however, the stems
showed signiFcant differences in the concentrations
of all these nutrients. Larger concentrations of P, K,
and Mn in the plants of the control treatment were
also observed compared with those treated with the
produced water mixtures, and the same was obser-
ved in the stems. The foliage tissue also presented
a lower Zn concentration compared to the control
(
Table VII
).
Regarding the mineral content of N, P, K, Ca,
²e and Zn in the fruits of the Frst cut, no signiFcant
differences were found among the treatments. Only
Mn presented signiFcantly greater values in the
plants of the treatment with produced water than in
the control. No differences were observed in the N,
P, Ca, Fe and Zn concentrations in the sixth cut. It
was also observed that the concentrations of Cu and
Mn were statistically greater in the control than in
the rest of the treatments, but in the case of Mg, the
control showed a lower concentration (
Table VIII
).
In the case of Mn, the concentration of this element
was greater in the treatment solutions utilized for
watering the plants (
Table IV
), in the same manner
observed in the fruits, stems and leaves in the fruc-
tiFcation stage (
Table
VII
).
CONCLUSIONS
Due to the high levels of electrical conductivity
of the produced waters, these cannot be used directly
for watering; however, the treatments assayed in
this experiment (mixing produced water with fresh
water to adjust the EC to 1.5 dS/m) proved that it is
feasible to use these types of waters, when diluted
with regular irrigation water, for tomato production
under greenhouse conditions.
The water derived from the Buena Suerte station
was unsuitable for use in watering due to the high
middle-fraction hydrocarbon content and the high
levels of Cu and chloride. In fact, the plants were
damaged and some died due to the use of a normal
irrigation mixture mixed with the water from Buena
Suerte.
The produced waters from Monclova 1 and
Forasteros are viable to be used for irrigation
with previous dilution with another water source
to reduce the electrical conductivity and mineral
concentration.
It is necessary to conduct an analysis of the fruit
mineral content according to NOM 143 to determine
whether the concentration of the absorbed elements
is feasible for consumption of the fresh fruit.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
Activo Integral Burgos de PEMEX Exploración
y Producción Región Norte allowed the use of the
produced water for experimentation. Centro de In-
vestigación en Química Aplicada (CIQA) provided
support for the chemical analysis.
AGRONOMIC USE OF PRODUCED WATER IN GREENHOUSE
375
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