RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE VETIVER SYSTEM FOR TREATMENT OF POLLUTED WATER AND CONTAMINATED LAND

Dr. Paul Truong The Vetiver Network International Veticon Consulting Brisbane , Australia
All materials in this document remain the property of Veticon Consulting P/L. Permission must be obtained for their use. Copyright © 2008

SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS SUITABLE FOR PHYTO REMEDIATION
MORPHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS • Stiff and erect stems • Deep and extensive root system • It has no above or underground stems PHYSIOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS • Tolerant to drought, water logging, acidic, alkaline, sodic and saline conditions • Tolerant to highly polluted environment such as heavy metal and nutrient contamination • Tolerant high level of herbicides and pesticide in the soil • Growing on all soil types: heavy clay to sand dune GENETIC CHARACTERISTICS • It is sterile, it flowers but sets no seeds • Therefore it is non invasive and no weed potential • It can be eliminated easily by Glyphosate spray or uprooting

R & D ON ADVERSE GROWING CONDITIONS
THRIVE ON TEMPERATURE RANGE BETWEEN -14 AND 550c The effect of soil temperature on the root growth of vetiver.
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Temperature treatments: day 15 oC /night 13 oC.

HIGHLY TOLERANT TO SOIL SALINITY Saline threshold level is at ECe=8 dsm-1, and vetiver can survive at 47.5 dsm-1 under dryland salinity conditions Half sea water

Vetiver growing among mangrove seedlings in Australia

Vetiver

Mangrove seedlings

Salt tolerance level of Vetiver grass as compared with some crop and pasture species grown in Australia. Soil ECse (dSm-1) Plant Species Saline Threshold
6.9 7.0

50% Yield Reduction
14.7 22.5

Bermuda Grass (Cynodon dactylon) Rhodes Grass guyana) (C.V. Pioneer) (Chloris

Tall Wheat Grass (Thynopyron elongatum) Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) Barley (Hordeum vulgare) Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)

7.5 7.7 8.0 8.0

19.4 17.3 18.0 18.0

HIGHLY TOLERANT TO SOIL ACIDITY, ALUMINIUM AND MANGANESE TOXICITIES

Growth was not affected at pH=3.3 and extremely high Mn level of 578 mg/kg

Special Physiological Features

Control

Highly tolerant to acid sulfate soil conditions with pH = 3.0

One year after planting

R & D ON NUTRIENT UPTAKE AND TOLERANCE
NITROGEN UPTAKE
1200 1000 1,140

N kg/ha/year

800 600 400 200 0 600 500 360 250 90

Potential P uptakes as compared with others plants
PHOSPHORUS UPTAKE

So rg hu m

gr as s

Ve tiv er Dr yl an d Rh od es G ra ss

Eu ca ly pt us

G ra ss

P kg/ha/year

Plant Species

160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0
nd

Ki ku yu

Fo ra ge

Ry e

149

90

90 70 70

rg

D

de

uy

er

So

ye

tiv

ho

ik

Ve

R

Fo

ra

K

Plant Species

ge

Eu

R

ca

s

u

ly

Potential N uptakes as compared with others plants

15

ss

ss

m

s

hu

ra

ra

la

as

ry

G

G

gr

pt

us

Vetiver growth increased with N application up to 6t/ha/year, higher rates did not affect yield
100

Shoot Dry Weight (g/pot)

80

60

40

20

0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 N Application (kg/ha/yr)

Vetiver growth increased with P application up to 250/ha/year, higher rates did not affect yield
100

Shoot Dry Weight (g/pot)

80

60

40

20

0 0 200 400 600 800 1000 P Application (kg/ha/yr)

The highest yield treatment (N= 6000 kg/ha/year and P= 250 kg/ha/year) and the lowest yield treatment (N nil and P nil).

Left Vetiver growing vigorously, with no toxic effect at 10 000kgN/ha/year and 1000kgP/ha/year, as compared with the best treatment, 6 000kgN/ha/year and 250kgP/ha/year Right.

R & D ON BIOMASS PRODCTION AND NUTRIENT UPTAKE
140 120
DM (t/ha/year)
132.4

100 80 60 40 20 0
40.7

88.3

12 weeks 6 months 9 months

Potential N and P uptakes by the 3 grasses
22.7

19.9 6.1 13.3 7 15.2

2500

Vetiver

Rhodes

Kikuyu
Nutrient uptake (kg/ha)

2000 1500 1000

1920 N uptake P uptake 687 399 198 26 77

Potential DM yield of the three grasses

500 0

Vetiver

Rhodes

Kikuyu

1600 1400
N uptake (kg/ha)

1442

12 weeks
937

1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Vetiver
111 443 248

6 months 9 months
642 373 190 428

Potential P uptake by the 3 grasses

Rhodes

Kikuyu
160
149

P uptake (kg/ha)

Potential N uptake by the 3 grasses

140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Vetiver Rhodes
7 16 45 97

12 weeks 6 months 9 months
48 24 21 72

Kikuyu

R & D ON BIOMASS PRODCTION AND WATER USE
4500 4000 3500

3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Relationship between water use and dry matter (r = 0.7286)
Age in weeks

Dry Matter (g/m2)

800

750

700

650

Dry matter yield of vetiver over the 12week period

600

550

500

y = 4.1798x + 278.7
450

400

350 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120

Dry Matter

(g/pot)

R & D ON MODELLING

We monitored weekly Radiation Interception

Photographed the sward weekly to measure % Cover

Hand harvested 1 m2 quadrants to measure weekly shoot yield, nitrogen and phosphorus contents.

Measured weekly shoot heights

N and P interaction on biomass

135.6

Shoot Dry Weight (g/pot)

101.7

0 P 250 500 1000

67.8

33.9

0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 N Application (kg/ha/year)

Correlation between yield and shoot N and P concentrations
Dry Matter yield (g/pot)

100 80 60 40 20 0 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5
Shoot Dry Weight (g/pot)

3 100
80 60 40 20 0 0 0.05 0.1 0.15 Shoot P Concentration (%) 0.2

Shoot N Concentration (%)

Root growth response to N and P applications
100
Root Dry Weight (g/pot)

80 60 40 20 0 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000
100
Root Dry Weight (g/pot)

N Application (kg/ha/year)

80 60 40 20 0 0 200 400 600 800 P Application (kg/ha/year) 1000

R & D ON HYDRAULIC CHARACTERISTICS
Hydraulic Flume: The flume consists of two concrete testing channels, 2m wide and 20m long

Side view of row planting, at 2m spacing

At 60cm depth the first row vetiver was bent over but not the second row

Over the distance of less than 20m, the water level in the flume was dropped by 50cm

50cm drop

Note relatively uniform flow through hedge and strong turbulence after the hard structure (drop board)

R & D ON HYDROPONICS

DIFFERENT GROWING MEDIA • • • • Broken glass • No medium, just Vetiver River stones • No medium, Vetiver, 2 circulations a day Sand No medium, no Vetiver (controls) Road base

Hanging frame for hydroponic Vetiver

Waiting for roots to grow
~250 mm per month

• 6 weeks

• 14 weeks

• 22 weeks

• 35 weeks

R & D ON WATER QUALITY

Vetiver strip trapped sediment

Trapping herbicides on cotton farms in central Queensland

Vetiver Hedges

Trapping pesticides on cotton farms in central Queensland

Vetiver Hedges

Comparison of whole plant dry weights of vetiver and Phragmites at the high rates of herbicide application,
140

120

100

Percentage (%)

80

60 Diuron Atrazine 40

20

0 Vetiver Plant Species Phragmites

Industrial Effluent from an abattoir in Australia

R & D ON HEAVY METAL TOLERANCE
Threshold levels of heavy metals to vetiver growth as compared with other species
Heavy Metals Threshold levels in soil (mgKg-1) Vetiver 100-250 20-60 50-10 200-600 >1 500 >6 100 >74 >750 Other plants 2.0 1.5 Not available Not available Not available Not available 7-10 2-14 Not available Threshold levels in plant (mgKg-1) Vetiver 21-72 45-48 13-15 5-18 >78 >0.12 347 >11 880 Other plants 1-10 5-20 15 0.02-0.20 Not available Not available 10-30 Not available Not available

Arsenic Cadmium Copper Chromium Lead Mercury Nickel Selenium Zinc

Special Physiological Features

Arsenic: Toxic threshold level between 100-250 mg/kg

Special Physiological Features

Copper: Toxic threshold level between 35-60 mg/kg

Special Physiological Features

Chromium: Toxic threshold level between 200-600 mg/kg

This Bentonite waste site is barren with an extremely erodible surface which has low water infiltration and high runoff rates.

Fourteen months after planting, note the growth of other species

Chemical analyses of the Bentonite tailings
Analyses
pH EC (mS/cm) Cl (mg/kg) NO3-N (mg/kg) P (mg/kg) SO4-S (mg/kg) Ca (meq/100g) Mg (meq/100g) Na (meq/100g) K (meq/100g) Organic Matter (%) ECEC (meq/100g) ESP (%)

Overburden
5.4 0.18 135.0 1.9 2.0 66.0 0.19 4.75 2.7 0.16 0.45 8 35

Bentonite tailings
5.4 0.14 47.4 0.7 5.0 101.0 0.93 6.44 7.19 0.43 0.35 15 48

China : Pb – Zn tailings rehabilitation with vetiver grass
PC: Shu S F

Vetiver

Other grasses Vetiver

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