Effect of Increasing Salinity on Development of Giant Reed (Arundo donax) from Rhizome and Culms
Arundo donax (giant reed) has great potential for bioenergy biomass production in constructed wetlands. Large scale use of A. donax in constructed wetlands will require the use of either established plants sourced from nurseries, or the use of cuttings or rhizomes and stems from mother plants derived from nurseries or wild stands. The results of this study suggest that cuttings and rhizomes are not sensitive to salinity up to an EC ~ 4500 µS cm− 1. Plants used to establish a constructed wetland should have stems of at least 300 mm length, with well established roots. Moreover, culms will emerge from small pieces of stems with viable nodes regardless of salinity, albeit the fresher the water the less likely salinity will subsequently affect the emerging shoot. From a practical perspective, this suggests that wetlands can be planted with giant reed using horizontally laid stems. Unless using plants pre-stressed to a salinity matching that of the wastewater to be treated, giant reed should be established using reasonable quality water (EC < 1000 µS cm− 1) until the plants are of a reasonable size, e.g. > 500 mm in height, after which undiluted wastewater can be used.
KeywordsArundo donax Hydroponic toxicity test Shoot growth Rhizome Node Culm emergence
The research was primarily supported by the Victorian Government Sustainability Fund, managed by Sustainability Victoria. Additional support was provided by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI Project# 08160). GA gives his thanks to staff at DPI Queenscliff centre for help sorting and labelling giant reed cuttings.
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