Effect of cassava processing wastewater on the bacteriological quality of soil in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria

Okoye Rosemary*, Onuorah Samue


Cassava wastewater from cassava mills can have negative impacts on farmlands despite the fact that cassava when milled are processed into different food products. Its possible deleterious effect to farmlands and human health has led to the study on the effects of cassava processing wastewater on the bacteriological quality of soil in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. A total of fifteen samples were collected which constituted of five samples each from cassava wastewater, soil polluted with cassava wastewater and soil free of cassava wastewater (control). The total bacterial counts, total coliform counts and faecal coliform counts were determined using spread plate technique. The bacteriological load of the contaminated soil was lower than the control sample. The relatively low count of contaminated soil could be attributed to the acidity imparted to the soil by the effluent due to the presence of cyanide. The presence of the cyanide in the soil and fermented cassava could lead to inhibition of bacterial growth. Nine bacterial species of both fecal and non-fecal origin were isolated from the samples from untreated cassava mill wastewater, untreated cassava mill wastewater polluted soil and unpolluted soil. They were Klebsiella aerogenes, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Proteus vulgaris, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus mirabilis, Micrococcus luteus and Bacillus cereus. The occurrence of some of the bacteria is associated with processing environment and equipment used in processing including water used in washing, knife/ cutlass used in peeling, bag used in storing prior to pressing and hygienic status of the processors. Generally, wastewater from the cassava mill processing site could pose some detrimental problems on the soil. Therefore these wastewater from cassava processing plants must be regarded as harmful wastewater and should not be discharged into the environment without prior treatment.


wastewater, farmlands, cassava and soil microbes

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