Atriplex nummularia Lindl. as alternative for improving salt-affected soils conditions in semiarid environments: a field experiment

Ygor J.A.B. Silva1*, Yuri J.A.B. Silva2, Maria B.G.S. Freire1, Esmeralda A.P.L. Lopes3, and Monaliza A. Santos1
Atriplex nummularia Lindl. represents a cost-effective alternative for improving salt-affected soils in arid and semiarid environments due to its high adaptability to salinity and water deficiency. This study aimed to investigate soil physical-chemical changes in response to A. nummularia cultivation under field condition. Additionally, we quantified its biomass yield and phytoextraction potential. Two treatments were evaluated: soil cultivated with Atriplex under two crop densities (1 × 1 and 2 × 2 m), and a control (bared soil) with four replicates. The samples were taken at three soil depths (0-5, 15-20, and 40-45 cm). In general, dry biomass yield for leaves, stems and roots, as well as the bulk density and the hydraulic conductivity of the soil were sensitive to crop densities. Thus, the use of A. nummularia can be recommended for phytoremediation of salt-affected soils, as well as to improve soil physical condition. When it comes to salt phytoextraction per area, we recommend planting A. nummularia at a 1 × 1 m crop density. The greater accumulation of salts was observed in leaves, as observed for Na (82% roughly). However, in order to improve soil physical conditions, we suggest the management of A. nummularia under 2 × 2 m crop density. Pruning was fundamental to increase the biomass yield and, consequently, the phytoextraction of specific ions, e.g., Na, Cl. It was responsible for 83% and 88% of the total dry biomass at 1 × 1 and 2 × 2 m crop density, respectively.
Keywords: Halophytes, phytoextraction, phytoremediation, soil salinity, soil sodicity.
1Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Departamento de Agronomia, Rua Dom Manuel de Medeiros, s/n - Dois Irmãos 52171-900, Recife, Pernambuco, Brasil.
*Corresponding author (yuriufrpe@yahoo.com.br).
2Universidade Federal do Piauí, Departamento de Engenharia Agrícola e Solos, Planalto Horizonte 64900-000, Bom Jesus, Piauí, Brasil.
3Universidade Estadual de Alagoas, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Rua Governador Luiz Cavalcante, Alto do Cruzeiro, 57312-270 Arapiraca, Alagoas, Brasil.