Publications

Phytoremediation of micropollutants by Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, and Juncus effuses

Lei, Yu; Carlucci, Livio; Rijnaarts, Huub; Langenhoff, Alette

Summary

Micropollutants (MPs) include organic chemicals, for example, pharmaceuticals and personal care products. MPs have been detected in the aquatic environment at low concentrations (ng/L–µg/L), which may lead to negative impacts on the ecosystem and humans. Phytoremediation is a green clean-up technology, which utilizes plants and their associated rhizosphere microorganisms to remove pollutants. The selection of plant species is important for the effectiveness of the phytoremediation of MPs. The plant species Phragmites australis, Typha angustifolia, and Juncus effuses are often used for MP removal. In this study, batch experiments were conducted to select plant species with an optimal ability to remove MPs, study the effect of temperature on MP removal in plants and the phytotoxicity of MPs. This study also explored the degradation of a persistent MP propranolol in plants in more detail. Data show that all three investigated plant species removed most MPs efficiently (close to 100 %) at both 10 and 21.5 °C. The tested plant species showed a different ability to translocate and accumulate propranolol in plant tissues. Typha angustifolia and Juncus effuses had a higher tolerance to the tested MPs than Phragmites australis. Typha angustifolia and Juncus effuses are recommended to be applied for phytoremediation of MPs. Novelty statement The novelty of this study is the selection of Typha angustifolia and Juncus effuses as proper plant species for phytoremediation of micropollutants (MPs). These two plant species were selected due to their good ability to remove MPs, tolerate low temperature, and resist the toxicity of MPs. The outcomes from this study can also be applied for constructed wetlands in removing MPs from wastewater. This study demonstrates the uptake and degradation processes of persistent MP propranolol in plants in more detail. Understanding the degradation mechanisms of a MP in plants is significant not only for the application of phytoremediation on MP removal but also for the development of constructed wetland studies.