Effect of Oil Well Brine on Germination and Seedling Growth of Several Crops

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Large quantities of oil and gas well brines are produced annually in Ohio. This paper presents chemical parameters measured for a Wayne County, Ohio, oil well brine and reports the effects of several incremental brine concentrations on the germination and seedling development of soft red winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), soybeans (Glycine max), tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea), garden peas (Pisum sativum), and oats (Avena sativa). Chemical tests of two brine samples collected at the same well site showed large quantities of total solids (83 and 96 g/L), very high electrical conductivity (124 and 145 dS/m), and the presence of several elements at levels reported in the literature to be capable of causing crop injury or toxicity (Cl ~ 55 and 57 g/L, Na+ 14.8 and 15.8 g/L, B 11 and 9 mg/L). The dominant ions present were Na+ and Cl . Germination studies indicated that increasing the volume percentage of brine reduced the germination of tall fescue and soybeans more than wheat or garden peas. Increasing the volume percentage of brine caused the greatest reduction in plumule/hypocotyl enlargement in the following order: tall fescue > peas > wheat. In a 21-day greenhouse study, soybean dry matter yields were reduced more than those of oats by increasing the levels of brine in the water used to water the plants without leaching.


Author Institution: The Ohio State University, Agricultural Technical Institute



The Ohio Journal of Science. v89, n4 (September, 1989), 92-94