Germination of water melon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunberg) Matsumura and Nakai, Curcubitaceae] in lead polluted petri dish

Matthew Chidozie Ogwu, Anthonia Odinita Chime, Moses Edwin Osawaru, Rachel Emoekpere


Citrullus lanatus (Thunberg) Matsumura and Nakai (water melon) is a fruit vegetable appreciated for its ability to quench
taste in tropical and sub-tropical regions. This present study is aimed at assessing the germination of water melon seeds
in lead polluted petri dishes. The water melon fruits were collected from Benin City, Nigeria and labeled variety A, B
and C based on morphological differences. Five treatment levels of lead (0 ppm, 5 ppm, 10 ppm, 15 ppm and 20 ppm)
were used to grow viable seeds in lead polluted petri dishes. The plant showed different degree of response to the pollutant.
The germination of seeds began on the fourth day in all the varieties. The highest germination rate was observed
in 10 ppm in varieties A and C with 73.33% while in variety B, control had the highest germination percentage
(93.33%). The lowest germination percentage was observed in 20 ppm for all the varieties of water melon assessed in
the study. In the shoot length, 15 ppm had the value of 3.02 on day 13 for variety A while 10 ppm had the highest value
for variety B and C with 2.72 cm and 3.09 cm respectively. Similar result was also obtained for the root length for variety
A as the 15 ppm had the highest value of 3.39 cm. It was 10 ppm that had highest root length value for variety B and
C with 2.95 cm and 2.91 cm respectively. It may be suggested from this study that at low concentration of lead, C. lanatus
seeds can initiate growth but as the concentration increases, the germination and growth can be affected. More so,
it exposes the risk associated with lead and lead compounds in our environment. As some Cucurbit seeds can accumulate
these compounds in their tissue as they grow in polluted environment posing potential treats to other members of
the food chain.


Citrullus lanatus; water melon; lead; environment; pollution; germination

Full Text:



Antosiewicz, D.M., 1992. Adaptation of plants to environment polluted with heavy metals. Acta. Soc. Bot. Pol., 61, 153 - 162.

Atici, O., Gar, G.A., Battal, P., 2005. Changes in phytohormone contents in Chickpea seeds germinating under Lead and Zinc Stress. Biologia Plantarum, 49, 215 - 222.

Claire, L.C., Adraino, D.C., Sajwan, K.S., Abel, S.L., Thoma, D.P., Driver, J.T., 1991. Effects of selected trace metals on germinating seeds of six plant species. Water, Air and Soil Pollution, 59, 231 - 240.

Dennis, L.H., 1983. A model for the adoption of metallurgy in the ancient Middle east. Current Anthropology, 24, 362 - 366.

FAO, 2004. Production yearbook 2003. Volume 57” food and agricultural organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.

Foy, C.D., Chaney, R.L., White, M.C., 1978. The physiology of metal toxicity in plants. Annual review plant physiology, 29, 93 - 96.

Gills, L.S., 1988. Taxonomy of Flowering Plants. Africana-Fep publishers. Ibadan, Nigeria, 338 p.

Gurzau, E.S., Cornelius, N., Gurzau, A.E., 2003. Essential metals - Case study on Iron. Ecotoxicology and Environmental safety, 56, 190 - 200.

Kumar, J.I., Soni, H., Kumar, R.N. Bhatt, I., 2009. Hyper accumulation and mobility of heavy metals in vegetable crops in India. The Journal of Agriculture and Environment, 10, 29 - 38.

Meagher, D.M., 2008. Phytoremediation of toxic elemental and organic pollutants. Current Opinion on Plant Biology, 3 (2), 153 - 162.

Needleman, H.L., Schell, A., Bellinger, D., Leviton, A.A., 1990. The long term effect of exposure to low doses of Lead in children. An eleven year follow up report. New England Journal of Medicine, 322, 82 - 88.

Nerson, H., 2007. Seed Production and Germination of Cucurbit crops. Seed Science and Biotechnology, 1, 1 - 10.

Ogbeibu, A.E., 2005. Biostatistics. Mindex Publishing Company Limited, Benin City, 246 p.

Sackett, C., 1995. ‘Watermelon’ In: fruits and vegetable facts and pointers. United Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Association, 49 p.

Salman, S.R., Abou-Hussain, S.D., Abdel-Mawgoud, A.M.R., El-Nemr, M.A., 2005. Fruit yield and quality of Watermelon as affected by hybrids and humic acid application. Journal of Applied Sciences Research, 1 (1), 51 - 58.

Shafiq, M., Zafar, M., Athar, M., 2008. Effect of Lead and Cadmium on germination and seeding of Leucaenaleucocephala. J. Appl. Environ. Manage., 12 (2), 61 - 66.

Sies, H., Stahl, W., 1998. Lycopene: antioxidant and biological effects and its bioavaibility in the human. Proc. Exp. Boil. Med., 218, 121 - 124.

Wang, H., Shan, X., Wen, B., Owens, G., Fang, J., Zhang, S., 2007. Effects of Indole-3-Acetic Acid on Lead Accumulation in Maize (Zea mays). Seedlings and the relevant Antioxidant Response. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 61, 246 - 253.

Wojoik, M., Turkiendorf, F.A., 2005. Cadmium uptake, localization and detoxification in Zea mays. Biologia Plantarium, 49, 237 - 245.

Yang, Y., Paterson, E., Campbell, C., 2001. Accumulation of heavy metals in urban soils and impacts on microorganisms. Huan Jing KeXue, 22 (3), 44 - 48.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Italian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene

© 2015 IJOEHY eISSN: 2464-8817 Associazione Italiana degli Igienisti Industriali |