River water irrigation with heavy metal load influences soil biological activities and risk factors

Pooja Singh, Tapan Jyoti Purakayastha, Sudip Mitra, Arpan Bhowmik, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The Yamuna is one of the most polluted rivers in India and the land adjacent to river flowing through Delhi city is widely irrigated with its water for growing various food crops. Present study was undertaken to assess the heavy metal load in Yamuna water and surrounding soils of the river bank and its impact on soil enzyme activities. Long term impact of irrigation by Yamuna water on the activities of various soil enzymes namely dehydrogenase (DHA), urease (UA), fluroscein diacetate (FDA), aryl sulphatase (ASA), nitrate reductase (NRA), microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and potentially mineralizable nitrogen (PMN) were assessed. The sensitivity of soil enzymes to heavy metals were observed as DHA>UA>ASA>NRS. Total organic carbon, easily oxidisable soil organic carbon, available phosphorus and available potassium in different sites varied significantly. Total heavy metal contents in soils showed a decreasing order: Fe>Mn>Zn>Cr>Ni>Cu>Pb>Co>As>Cd and the DTPA extractable heavy metal contents followed the order: Mn>Cu>Pb>Zn >Fe>Ni>Cd>Cr>Co>As. Potential ecological risk factors (Er) were under low risk and comprehensive potential ecological risk indices (Ri) were found to be under low, moderate and high risk categories. Copper (Cu) is the main pollutant contributing considerable load to Ri. From (Ri) principal component analysis and cluster analysis, it is evident that the Okhla site (S8) is most contaminated. The water from Yamuna river needs to be cautiously used for growing various food crops on land adjacent to the river as its long-term usage might cross the permissible limits of heavy metals in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110517
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2020


  • Comprehensive potential ecological risk index
  • Heavy metal
  • Potential ecological risk factor
  • Soil enzyme activities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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