NUTRIENT CONTENT IN SUNFLOWERS IRRIGATED WITH OIL EXPLORATION WATER

ABSTRACT: Irrigation using produced water, which is generated during crude oil and gas recovery and treated by the exploration industry, could be an option for irrigated agriculture in semiarid regions. To determine the viability of this option, the effects of this treated water on the nutritional status of plants should be assessed. For this purpose, we examined the nutritional changes in sunflowers after they were irrigated with oil-produced water and the effects of this water on plant biomass and seed production. The sunflower cultivar BRS 321 was grown for three crop cycles in areas irrigated with filtered produced water (FPW), reverse osmosis-treated produced water (OPW), or ground water (GW). At the end of each cycle, roots, shoots, and seeds were collected to examine their nutrient concentrations. Produced water irrigation affected nutrient accumulation in the sunflower plants. OPW irrigation promoted the accumulation of Ca, Na, N, P, and Mg. FPW irrigation favored the accumulation of Na in both roots and shoots, and biomass and seed production were negatively affected. The Na in the shoots of plants irrigated with FPW increased throughout the three crop cycles. Under controlled conditions, it is possible to reuse reverse osmosis-treated produced water in agriculture. However, more long-term research is needed to understand its cumulative effects on the chemical and biological properties of the soil and crop production.