GROWTH PERFORMANCE OF Penthaclethra macrophylla Benth. AS AFFECTED BY BY-PRODUCTS FROM BATTERY FACTORY IN AKWA IBOM STATE, NIGERIA
The study examined the effect of polluted soil on early growth performance of Pentaclethra macro-phlylla. The objectives of the study were to determine the heavy metal content of the soil and the effect on the growth of this species. Soil samples were collected from an abandoned Sunshine battery facto-ry in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State using soil auger. The samples, collect-ed at different soil depths and at various distances, were divided into two parts. A part was analysed in the laboratory to determine the heavy metal content of the soil using digestion and atomic absorption methods, while the other part was used in raising Pentaclethra macrophyla seedlings in polypots. The result of analysis of variance of the soil samples considering the distances showed significant differ-ence in the distribution of copper and lead only (P<0.05), while no significant difference occurred among the concentrations of all the heavy metals at different soil depths. The ranges of concentration of metals in the polluted soil samples in mg/kg were Zn (13.90-41.30), Bo (11.40-27.10), Cd (61.10-77.10), Cu (5.35-49.75), Pb (53.10-153.70), As (0.40-4.50) and Se (1.80-4.30), while the control rec-orded the least amount of Pb (2.40-4.30 mg/kg). On the average, seedlings raised in soils collected from the point of waste disposal (epicentre) had the least growth values in terms of total leaf number (166), stem height (21.90cm), branch number (1.4) and branchlet number (8.8). This signifies stunted growth, which is likely due to the high concentrations of Pb and Cu. Factories should therefore be compelled to eliminate heavy metals before disposing their waste into the environment.