Modelling soil salinity effects on salt water uptake and crop growth using a modified denitrification-decomposition model: A phytoremediation approach

Syed Hamid Hussain Shah, Junye Wang, Xiying Hao, Ben W. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Soil salinization is a widespread problem affecting global food production. Phytoremediation is emerging as a viable and cost-effective technology to reclaim salt-affected soil. However, its efficiency is not clear due to the uncertainty of plant responses in saline soils. The main objective of this paper is to propose a phytoremediation dynamic model (PDM) for salt-affected soil within the process-based biogeochemical denitrification-decomposition (DNDC) model. The PDM represents two salinity processes of phytoremediation: plant salt uptake and salt-affected biomass growth. The salt-soil-plant interaction is simulated as a coupled mass balance equation of water and salt plant uptake. The salt extraction ability by plant is a combination of salt uptake efficiency (F) and transpiration rate. For water filled pore space (WFPS), the statistical measures RMSE, MAE, and R2 during the calibration period are 2.57, 2.14, and 0.49, and they are 2.67, 2.34, and 0.56 during the validation period, respectively. For soil salinity, RMSE, MAE, and R2 during the calibration period are 0.02, 0.02, and 0.92, and 0.06, 0.04, and 0.68 during the validation period, respectively, which are reasonably good for further scenario analysis. Over the four years, cumulative salt uptake varied based on weather conditions. At the optimal salt uptake efficiency (F = 20), cumulative salt uptake from soil was 16–90% for alfalfa, 11–70% for barley, and 10–80% for spring wheat. While at the lowest salt uptake efficiency (F = 40), cumulative salt uptake was nearly zero for all crops. Although barley has the highest peak transpiration flux, alfalfa and spring wheat have greater cumulative salt uptake because their peak transpiration fluxes occurred more frequently than in barley. For salt-tolerant crops biomass growth depends on their threshold soil salinity which determines their ability to take up salt without affecting biomass growth. In order to phytoremediate salt-affected soil, salt-tolerant crops having longer duration of crop physiological stages should be used, but their phytoremediation effectiveness will depend on weather conditions and the soil environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113820
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume301
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2022

Keywords

  • Biomass growth
  • DNDC Modeling
  • Phytoremediation
  • Plant physiology
  • Plant salt uptake
  • Weather conditions

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