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Comparison of pathogen die-off patterns of tomatoes grown in two hydroponics systems

Nova Science Publisher
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  • Agricultural Science


Due to water shortages in most parts of the world, alternative water sources are required for daily activities, such as agriculture and domestic uses. Treated domestic wastewater reuse is gaining acceptance around the world, mainly for non-human contact use. Research is being conducted in using treated domestic effluent to grow edible food crops. However, one of the major concerns with wastewater reuse for food production is the risk of pathogen contamination to the edible parts of the food and to the people exposed to irrigation. Wastewater application in horticulture using hydroponics technology should minimise the exposure and contamination risk to the workers. Since the edible parts of the plant, with the exception of root crops, may not be in direct contact with the wastewater, contamination to the edible parts may also be reduced. This chapter examined two hydroponics systems, nutrient film technique and water culture (without aeration), for their efficiency in causing pathogen die-off. Three treatments, secondary treated domestic wastewater, control medium (commercial hydroponics medium) and pathogen spiked control medium were tested in triplicate. S.typhimurium (ATCCI4028) and E.coli (WACC4) were used to spike one of the treatments (spiked control medium). The experiment was conducted over four months with the medium changed every fortnight. The results showed that there was a general decrease of pathogens over seven days (>40%) in the medium and complete die-off was observed after 14 days (99%), in both types of hydroponics systems. In both systems, there were no pathogens detected in the fruits. The hydroponics techniques for domestic effluent reuse, is a viable option for edible crop production as it reduces the risks of bacterial pathogen contamination.

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