Duckweed (Lemna gibba) growth inhibition bioassay for evaluating the toxicity of olive mill wastes before and during composting.Chemosphere. 2007 Aug; 68(10):1985-91.C
Two-phase olive mill waste (TPOMW) is considered the main problem confronting the modern oil extraction and processing industry. Composting has been recently proposed as a suitable method to treat TPOMW so that it is suitable for use in agriculture. In the work reported here, the Lemna gibba bioassay was tested to assess the toxicity of TPOMW before and during the composting process. The method was compared with the Lepidium sativum bioassay and with other chemical maturity indices traditionally reported in the literature. The L. gibba test proved to be a simple, sensitive, and accurate method to evaluate toxicity before and during the composting of TPOMW. Plant growth response was measured by two methods: counting the number of fronds (leaves) and measuring total frond area (TFA) with image analysis software. Compared to the counting of fronds (L. gibba) or seeds (L. sativum), the use of area-measuring software permitted a very rapid, unbiased and easy way of analysing the toxicity of TPOMW before and during composting. Although the accuracy of the frond count method was similar to the traditional cress seed test, data analysis showed that the TFA measurement method was statistically more accurate (significantly lower variance) than the frond count approach. Highly significant correlations were found between TFA and some important maturation indices commonly reported in literature indicating that the L. gibba bioassay can be a useful tool to determine the degree of maturity of TPOMW composts.