Chlorophyll contents of oil palm (Elaeis Guineensis) leaves harvested from crude oil polluted soil: a shift in productivity dynamic
By Otitoju, O. and Onwurah, I.N.E
The effect of crude oil pollution in the environment has an adverse effect on the chlorophyll contents of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) leaves and also on the nitrogen fixing potential of the soil cores. This was demonstrated on the density and distribution of Azotobacter vinelandii within the polluted soil. This was observed in October 2006, for a parcel of land having more than 9,500 matured oil palm trees in Owaza, Nigeria where a massive oil spill occurred. The result showed that there was a significant reduction in nitrogen fixation in the crude oil-contaminated oil palm plantation as exemplified in the population and distribution of Azotobacter vinelandii. These diazotropic bacteria play important roles in the stability of the ecosystem, agriculture and marine productivity. There was a significant reduction (p<0.005) in the chlorophyll content of fresh palm fronts (leaves) samples collected from the polluted plantation when compared with control site. Chlorophyll, a vital pigment for photosynthesis plays its role of light trapping mechanism in the reaction center of photosynthetic plants. This suggests that any reduction in the chlorophyll content will proportionally affect the quantity and quality of food material produced by the green plants such as the oil palm trees.
Keywords: chlorophyll, nitrogen fixation, yield capacity, oil palm. Azotobacter vinelandii
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