Was monochloramine responsible for widespread lettuce crop failures at a major water irrigation scheme?

S. F. Barker, R. Faggian, J. Blackbeard, G. Hepworth, A. J. Hamilton

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In 2008, vegetable growers observed stunted lettuce plants showing signs of chlorosis and wilting. It was suspected that monochloramine in the recycled water used for irrigation, in combination with extreme environmental conditions (high irrigation water salinity and extreme heat), was responsible for these crop failures. A series of glasshouse studies was conducted to evaluate the impact of monochloramine concentration alone on iceberg lettuce seedlings, as well as in combination with high salinity and hot ambient temperatures. Monochloramine concentrations up to 9 and 15 mg L−1 Cl2 for continuous and initial irrigation only, respectively, did not affect the weight of iceberg lettuce heads (p > 0.05), while the combination of monochloramine (4–5 mg L−1 Cl2) and salinity (3,500 μS cm−1) did not significantly affect harvest measurements (p > 0.05). We therefore conclude that it is unlikely that monochloramine was responsible for the observed crop failures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-159
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Water Reuse and Desalination
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

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