J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2007, Vol. 49 ›› Issue (4): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2007.00389.x

Special Issue: Ecology and Global Changes

• Bioenergy Plants •    

Contaminant Removal of Domestic Wastewater by Constructed Wetlands: Effects of Plant Species

Qiong Yang, Zhang-He Chen, Jian-Gang Zhao and Bin-He Gu   

Abstract: A comparative study of the efficiency of contaminant removal between five emergent plant species and between vegetated and unvegetated wetlands was conducted in small-scale (2.0 m?.0 m?.7 m, length譿idth譫epth) constructed wetlands for domestic wastewater treatment in order to evaluate the decontaminated effects of different wetland plants. There was generally a significant difference in the removal of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP), but no significant difference in the removal of organic matter between vegetated and unvegetated wetlands. Wetlands planted with Canna indica Linn., Pennisetum purpureum Schum., and Phragmites communis Trin. had generally higher removal rates for TN and TP than wetlands planted with other species. Plant growth and fine root (root diameter 3 mm) biomass were related to removal efficiency. Fine root biomass rather than the mass of the entire root system played an important role in wastewater treatment. Removal efficiency varied with season and plant growth. Wetlands vegetated by P. purpureum significantly outperformed wetlands with other plants in May and June, whereas wetlands vegetated by P. communis and C. indica demonstrated higher removal efficiency from August to December. These findings suggest that abundance of fine roots is an important factor to consider in selecting for highly effective wetland plants. It also suggested that a plant community consisting of multiple plant species with different seasonal growth patterns and root characteristics may be able to enhance wetland performance.

Key words: constructed wetlands, contaminants, domestic wastewater, plant species, removal efficiency, total N, total P.

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