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The controlled application of olive mill wastewater (OMW) as a by-product of the olive oil extraction process is widespread in olive oil-producing countries. Therefore, a sustainable approach necessarily targets the positive effects of soil resilience between successive annual applications to exclude possible accumulations of negative consequences. To investigate this, we applied 50, 100, 100 with tillage and 150 m3 OMW ha−1 y−1 for five consecutive seasons to an olive orchard in a semi-arid region and monitored various soil physicochemical and biological properties. OMW increased soil water content with concentration of total phenols, cations, and anions as well as various biological and soil organic matter indices. Soil hydrophobicity, as measured by water drop penetration time (WDPT), was found to be predominantly in the uppermost layer (0–3 and 3–10 cm). OMW positively affected soil biology, increased the activity and abundance of soil arthropods, and served as a food source for bacteria and fungi. Subsequent shallow tillage reduced the extent of OMW-induced changes and could provide a simple means of OMW dilution and effect minimization. Despite potentially higher leaching risks, an OMW dose of 50–100 m3 ha−1 applied every two years followed by tillage could be a cost-effective and feasible strategy for OMW recycling. 

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Toward balancing the pros and cons of spreading olive mill wastewater in irrigated olive orchards
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Markus Peter Kurtz

Arnon Dag

 Isaac Zipori

Yael Laor

Christian Buchmann

Ibrahim Saadi

Shlomit Medina

Michael Raviv

Einat Zchori-Fein

Gabriele Ellen Schaumann

 Dörte Diehl

Toward balancing the pros and cons of spreading olive mill wastewater in irrigated olive orchards .

The controlled application of olive mill wastewater (OMW) as a by-product of the olive oil extraction process is widespread in olive oil-producing countries. Therefore, a sustainable approach necessarily targets the positive effects of soil resilience between successive annual applications to exclude possible accumulations of negative consequences. To investigate this, we applied 50, 100, 100 with tillage and 150 m3 OMW ha−1 y−1 for five consecutive seasons to an olive orchard in a semi-arid region and monitored various soil physicochemical and biological properties. OMW increased soil water content with concentration of total phenols, cations, and anions as well as various biological and soil organic matter indices. Soil hydrophobicity, as measured by water drop penetration time (WDPT), was found to be predominantly in the uppermost layer (0–3 and 3–10 cm). OMW positively affected soil biology, increased the activity and abundance of soil arthropods, and served as a food source for bacteria and fungi. Subsequent shallow tillage reduced the extent of OMW-induced changes and could provide a simple means of OMW dilution and effect minimization. Despite potentially higher leaching risks, an OMW dose of 50–100 m3 ha−1 applied every two years followed by tillage could be a cost-effective and feasible strategy for OMW recycling. 

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