عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction Soil macropores are the prominent factor in the transfer of wastewater, fertilizers, and microorganisms, including fecal bacteria to deeper soils and even underground waters. On the other hand, a vast majority of land in Iran is located in arid and semi-arid regions. Therefore, the use of salty and unconventional waters has recently gained considerable importance. The aim of this study is to investigate the preferential transportation and storage of Escherichia coli (as an important bacterium in commonly used fertilizers) under the condition of saline water application.
Materials and methods The laboratory studies were conducted in a preferential flow system with artificial macropores with different diameters (1 and 2 cm) and varying salinity treatments (1, 2 and 4 dsm-1) under a saturated flow condition. The leaching test was performed at 20°C within several phases. Microbial transfer tests were carried out in two phases with boundary conditions and flow velocities similar to the zero-phase condition. In order to evaluate the bacteria in the soil profile, after the end of the bacterial transfer test, the soil column was divided and cut into 3 layers. Two samples were collected from 3 depths and at macropore and matrix zones. The experiment was conducted in a factorial format and completely randomized design with three replications. The results showed that the mutual effect of salinity and macropore diameter was significant (at 5%) on mean output concentration (Cav), soil filtration coefficient (fλ), relative absorption index (SR), and maximal predicted depth of bacteria transfer (Zmax).
Results The results indicated that the bacteria were affected by the treatments during the transfer, so that with increasing the salinity and reducing the diameter of macropores, the average bacterial concentration output decreased. The presence of macropores and the integrity of pores in a column with a diameter of 2 cm accelerated the bacterial movement and increased the pollutant outflow index due to high porosity; therefore, more bacteria passed (compared to the control column without macropores). The salinity treatment, however, served as an inhibitor and hindered further transmission of bacteria. Moreover, The macropore-free column with a salinity of 4 dsm-1 exhibited a higher refining coefficient (0.85 cfuml-1) compared to other treatments. A salinity treatment involving a 1 dsm-1 salinity and a pore diameter of 2 cm showed the least filtration coefficient (0.82 cfuml-1), so by doubling the ionic strength, 30% reduction can be seen in the bacterial filtration coefficient. Increasing the salinity up to 2 dsm-1 and decreasing the macropores diameter increased the relative absorption index. The macropore-free treatment with a 2 dsm-1 salinity showed the highest relative sorption index (0.92). Although the bacterial growth and mortality are unknown during the bacterial transfer process, according to the results, it is expected that the bacterial mortality rate increases by the salinity enhancement from 2 to 4 dsm-1 and the relative adsorption index reduction which may result in lower surface sorption. The significant treatment for the maximum predicted depth of bacterial transfer was the mutual effect of salinity and diameter at a probability level of 5%, which confirmed the significant impact of salinity on the bacterial filtration and transfer. The maximum depth of predicted bacterial transfer was obtained in the macropore-free treatment with the salinity of 1 dsm-1 (16.81 cm). The role of the underlying layers in the bacterial refinery seems to be more profound compared to the surface layer.
Conclusion Overall, the results showed that the main source of transmission of bacteria is the preferential flow due to the macropore continuity. However, the salinity reduced the amount of bacterial refining by increasing the ionic strength of the soil solution. The salinity had a significant effect on the average output bacterial concentration, bacterial refining coefficient, relative sorption index, and maximum predicted bacterial transmission depth. The results of this study revealed that increased ionic strength of soil solution can enhance the bacterial refining and the further elimination of bacteria which can be effective in controlling the pollution of underground water by saline irrigation management. Regarding the quantitatively and qualitatively critical water status in the country, conditions can be provided for the use of unconventional water sources, without threatening the environment and contaminating the underground water.