Abstract— Using wastewater for agricultural irrigation presents potential risks to public health and the environment. The aim of this study was to compare the microbial burden and nutritional components of cabbage grown in fresh and wastewater in Quetta, Pakistan. Cabbage samples randomly collected from fields irrigated with fresh and wastewater sources were analysed for viable bacterial and fungal counts, pH and vitamin contents. There was a significant difference in viable bacterial (3.0 × 106, 1.9 × 107 CFU g-1) and fungal (2.4 × 103, 1.0 × 105 CFU g-1) counts for cabbage grown in fresh and wastewater, respectively. There were no significant differences in pH (7.88/7.86) and contents of the vitamins thiamin (0.31/0.30 mg/100 g), riboflavin (0.05/0.04 mg/100 g), niacin (0.56/.54 mg/100 g), pyridoxine (0.13/0.12 mg/100 g) and ascorbic acid (57.00/56.60 mg/100 g). Results demonstrated that cabbage grown in wastewater had a significantly higher microbial burden than cabbage grown in fresh water, although there were no significant differences in nutritional components of cabbage from the different water sources. These observations emphasise the potential dangers to public health in using wastewater for agricultural irrigation.
Keywords— Agricultural irrigation, Bacterial count, Brassica, Public health, Vitamins, Water resources.
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