Environmental Monitoring of Biochemical Compounds of Selected Crops in relation to Soil Quality of Agricultural Ecosystem
The present research work was carried out from January to April (2014) in rural agricultural ecosystem of Central Gujarat (India). The main aim of this pilot-scale study was to evaluate the interrelationship between selected crops in terms of fortnightly variation of geochemical characters of agricultural soils of three different crop fields, along with selected crops e.g. Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) (TM), Wheat (Triticum aestivum) (WH) and Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) (TB). To determine the soil quality, geochemical parameters such as Temperature, pH, Phenolphthalein Alkalinity (PA), Total Alkalinity (TA), Carbonates, Bicarbonates, Total Hardness (TH), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Chloride, Sulphate, Phosphate, Nitrate, Total Organic Carbon (TOC), Total Organic Matter (TOM), Chromium (Cr) and Ferrous (Fe) were analyzed. On the other hand, the biochemical profile of selected crops was determined by estimating the contents of specific metabolites like Carbohydrates (CB), Proteins (PR), Amino Acids (AA), and Phenols (Ph). The findings of the present study revealed the highest concentration of (1) pH, TOC and TOM in TM soil, (2) TH, Ca, Sulphate, Nitrate, and Cr in WH soil, and (3) TA, Bicarbonates, Mg, Chloride, Phosphate, and Fe in TB soil. In case of TM, leaf exhibited maximum amount of CB and Ph, while PR and AA were more in stem. In WH, CB was highest in leaf, whereas PR, AA, and Ph were utmost in stem. In TB, leaf exhibited peak amount of CB, PR, and Ph, while AA was more in stem. Among all plant-parts, roots showed the least contents of all the studied metabolites. Overall, CB and Ph were more in TB, while WH was rich in terms of PR and AA. Thus, as a whole TM was found to contain comparatively less amount of all the studied biochemical compounds. Moreover, Correlation Coefficient Matrix (r) between geochemical parameters and biochemical compounds revealed the strong positive correlation between CB and Nitrate, PR and Chloride, AA and Mg, and Ph and Cr in TM. In case of WH, CB was found to be affected by the presence of Fe, PR and AA by Mg, and Ph by Chloride. While in case of TB, CB and PR were found to be influenced by pH, and AA and Ph by Sulphate. The findings of the present study can be earmarked for the peasants to use soil-friendly biofertilizers and metabolite-targeted biopesticides to enhance the crop biomass, productivity, and yield. Further study is in line to develop an interrelationship between soil qualities of different crop fields with other metabolites (upto secondary level) of commercial crops, cash crops, plantation crops, food grains, vegetables, and fruits of the region to draw out remarkable and implementable observations, which may be useful by agricultural practitioners of Central Gujarat to revive the agricultural economy of the region.