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    Topic review

    Macrophytes in Constructed wetlands

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    Definition

    The vegetation in constructed wetlands (CWs) plays an important role in wastewater treatment. Popularly, the common emergent plants in CWs have been vegetation of natural wetlands. However, there are ornamental flowering plants that have some physiological characteristics similar to the plants of natural wetlands that can stimulate the removal of pollutants in wastewater treatments.

    1. Introduction

    Nowadays, the use of constructed wetlands (CWs) for wastewater treatment is an option widely recognized. This sustainable ecotechnology is based on natural wetland processes for the removal of contaminants, including physical, chemical and biological routes, but in a more controlled environment compared with natural ecosystems [1][2][3]. These ecologically engineered systems involve three important components: porous-filter media, microorganism and vegetation [2]. The mechanisms for the transformation of nutrient and organic matter compounds are conducted by biofilms of microorganisms formed in the porous media and the rhizosphere zone [4][5]. The media materials (soil, sand, rocks, and gravel) provide a huge surface area for microorganisms to attach, contributing to macrophyte growth, and also act as filtration and/or adsorption medium for contaminants present in the water [6]. Regarding the vegetation, one of the most conspicuous features of wetlands is the role that plants play in the production of root and rhizomes in order to provide substrates for attached bacteria and oxygenation of areas adjacent to the root, and absorb pollutants from water. Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and other nutrients are mainly taken up by wetland plants through the epidermis and vascular bundles of the roots, and are further transported upward to the stem and leaves [7]. This provides carbon for denitrification during biomass decomposition and prevents pollutants from being released from sediments [8][9][10]. The use of the CW technology began in Europe during the 1960s [1], and has been replicated on other continents. The type of vegetation used are plants from natural wetlands, including Cyperus papyrus, Phragmites australis, Typha and Scirpus spp., which have been evaluated for their positive effects on treatment efficiency for nutrient and organic compounds around the globe [8][9][11]. In Americas, such species are typical in CWs, and are found mainly in the United States, where the technology has been used extensively and is implemented in different rural and urban zones [12][13][14][15][16]. In recent studies (15 years ago), the goal of CW studies involved an investigation into the use of herbaceous perennial ornamental plants in CWs, including the use of species with different colored flowers to make the systems more esthetic, and therefore making it more probable for adoption and replication.

    2. Role of Macrophytes in CWs

    The plants that grow in constructed wetlands have several properties related to the water treatment process that make them an essential component of the design. Macrophytes are the main source of oxygen in CWs through a process that occurs in the root zone, called radial oxygen loss (ROL) [17]. The ROL contributes to the removal of pollutants because it favors an aerobic micro-environment, and waste removal is therefore accelerated, whereas, in anaerobic conditions (the main environment in CWs), there is less pollutant removal. In a recent study [18] comparing the use of plants in high density (32 plants m−2) and low density (16 plants m−2) CWs, the removal of nitrogen compounds in high density CWs was twice that of CWs using a low density of plants, which is strong evidence of the importance of plants in such systems. The removal rate of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorous (TP) were also positively correlated with the ROL of wetland plants, according to a study involving 35 different species [19].
    The roots of plants are the site of many microorganisms because they provide a source of microbial attachment [8] and release exudates, an excretion of carbon that contributes to the denitrification process, which increases the removal of pollutants in anoxic conditions [20][21]. Other physical effects in plant tissue in water include: reduction in the velocity of water flow, promotion of sedimentation, decreased resuspension, and uptake of nutrients. However, for roots and rhizomes in the sediment, the physical effects include: stabilizing the sediment surface, less erosion, nutrient absorption, prevention of medium clogging (in subsurface conditions) and improved hydraulic conductivity. Aerial plant tissue favors in the light attenuation (reduced growth of photosynthesis), reduced wind velocity, storage of nutrients and aesthetic pleasing appearance of the system [2][5]. A 5-year study evaluated the influence of vegetation on sedimentation and resuspension of soil particles in small CWs [22]. The author showed that macrophytes stimulated sediment retention by mitigating the resuspension of the CW sediment (14 to 121 kg m−2). Macrophytes increased the hydraulic efficiency by reducing short-circuit or preferential flow. Plant presence led to decreasing saturated hydraulic conductivity in horizontal subsurface flow. This study was relevant, since monitoring macrophytes is essential for understanding and controlling clogging in subsurface CWs [22].
    The removal of organic and inorganic pollutants in CWs is not only the role of microorganisms. This function is also exerted by plants that are able to tolerate high concentrations of nutrients and heavy metals, and, in some cases, plants are able to accumulate them in their tissues [23]. It has been estimated that between 15 and 32 mg g−1 of TN and 2–6 mg g−1 (dry mass) of TP are removed by CW plants, which was measured in the aboveground biomass [24][25].
    Other uptakes of xenobiotic compounds (organic pollutants) are also the result of the presence of plants, involving processes such as transformation, conjugation and compartmentation [23].

    3. Survey Results of the Use of Ornamental Flowering Plants in CWs

    Many CWs around the world used OFP for the removal of various types of wastewater (Table 1). For example, in China, the most popular plants used is Canna sp., while in Mexico the ornamental plant used is more diverse, including plants with flowers of different colors, shapes and aromatic characteristics (Canna, Heliconia, Zantedeschia, Strelitzia spp).
    Table 1. Ornamental flowering plants and removal of wastewater pollutants in CWs (constructed wetlands) around the globe.

    Country

    Type of Wastewater

    Vegetation

    Removal Efficiency of Pollutants (%)

    Reference

    Brazil

    Domestic

    Heliconia psittacorum

    TSS: 88, COD: 95, BOD: 95

    Paulo et al. [26]

     

    Domestic

    Alpinia purpurataArundina bambusifoliaCanna spp.

    Heliconia psittacorum L.F.

    COD: 48-90, PO4-P: 20, TKN: 31 and TSS: 34.

    Paulo et al. [27]

     

    Swine

    Hedychium coronarium

    Heliconia rostrata

    COD: 59, TP: 44, TKN: 34 and NHx 35

    COD: 57, TP: 38, TKN: 34 and NHx: 37

    Sarmento et al. [28]

       

    Hemerocallis flava

    COD: 72, BOD: 90, TN: 52, TP: 41 and SST: 72.

    Prata et al. [29]

       

    Heliconia psittacorum L.F.

     

    Teodoro et al. [30]

    China

    Municipal

    Canna indica

    COD: 77, BOD: 86, TP: >82, TN: >45

    Shi et al. [31]

     

    Aquaculture ponds

    Canna indica mixed with other species

    BOD: 71, TSS: 82, chlorophyll-a: 91.9, NH4-N: 62, NO3-N: 68 and TP: 20.

    Li et al. [32]

     

    Domestic

    Canna indica Linn

    COD: 82.31, BOD: 88.6, TP: >80, TN: >85

    Yang et al. [33]

     

    Municipal

    Canna indica

    NH4-N: 99, PO4-P: 87

    Zhang et al. [34]

     

    Drain of some factories

    R. carnea, I. pseudacorus, L. salicaria

    COD: 58-92, BOD: 60-90

    TN: 60-92, TP: 50-97,

    Zhang et al. [35]

     

    River

    Canna sp

    COD: 95, N-NH4: 100, N-NO3: 76, TN: 72

    Sun et al. [36]

     

    Domestic

    Canna indica

    TP: 60, NH4-N: 30-70, TN: ~25

    Cui et al. [37]

     

    Aquaculture ponds

    Canna indica mixed with other natural wetland plants

    BOD: 56, COD: 26, TSS: 58, TP: 17, TN: 48 and NH4-N: 34.

    Zhang et al. [38]

     

    Wastewater from a student dormitory (University)

    Canna indica mixed with other natural wetland plants

    COD: 50–70, BOD: 60–80, N-NO3: 65–75, TP: 50–80

    Qiu et al. [39]

     

    Domestic

    Canna indica and Hedychium coronarium

    TP: 40–70

    Wen et al. [40]

     

    Polluted river

    Iris pseudacorus mixed with other natural wetland plants

    TN: 68, NH4-N: 93, TP: 67

    Wu et al. [41]

     

    Sewage

    Iris pseudacorus, mixed with other plants of natural wetlands

    TN: 20 and TP: 44

    Xie et al. [42]

     

    Municipal

    Canna indica

    COD: 60, NO3-N: 80, TN: 15, TP: 52

    Chang et al. [43]

     

    Simulated polluted river water

    Iris sibirica

    COD: 22, TN: 46, NH4-N: 62, TP: 58

    Gao et al. [44]

     

    Synthetic

    Canna sp

    Fluoride: 51, Arsenic: 95

    Li et al. [45]

     

    Simulated polluted river water

    Iris sibirica

    Cd: 92

    Gao et al. [46]

     

    Synthetic

    Canna indica L.

    N: 56–60

    Hu et al. [47]

     

    Synthetic (hydrophonic sol.)

    Canna indica L.

    TN: 40–60, N-NO3: 20–95, NH4-N: 20–55

    Wang et al. [48]

    Chile

    Sewage

    Zantedeschia aethiopica, Canna spp. and Iris spp

    BOD: 82, TN: 53, TP: 60.

    Morales et al. [49]

     

    Sewage

    Tulbaghia violácea, and Iris pseudacorus.

    BOD: 57–88, COD: 45–72, TSS: 70–93, PO4-P: 6–20.

    Burgos et al. [50]

     

    Ww rural community

    Zantedeschia aethiopica

    Organic matter: 60%, TSS: 90%

    Leyva et al. [51]

    Colombia

    Domestic

    Heliconia psíttacorum

    NH3: 57

    COD: 70

    Gutiérrez-Mosquera and Peña-Varón [52]

     

    Synthetic landfill leachate

    Heliconia psittacorum

    COD, TKN and NH4 (all: 65–75)

    Madera-Parra et al. [53]

     

    Cattle bath

    Alpinia purpurata

    SST: 58, TP: 85, COD: 63

    Marrugo-Negrete et al. [54]

     

    Municipal

    Heliconia psitacorum

    Bisphenol A: 73, Nonylphenols: 63

    Toro-Vélez et al. [55]

    Costa Rica

    Dairy raw manure

    Ludwigia inucta, Zantedechia aetiopica, Hedychium coronarium and Canna generalis

    BOD: 62, NO3-N: 93, PO4-P: 91, TSS: 84

    León and Cháves [56]

    Egypt

    Municipal

    Canna sp

    TSS: 92, COD: 88, BOD: 90

    Abou-Elela and Hellal [57]

     

    Municipal

    Canna sp

    TSS: 92, COD: 92, BOD: 92

    Abou-Elela et al. [58]

    India

    Paper mill effluent

    Canna indica

    9,10,12,13-tetrachlor- ostearic acid: 92 and 9,10-dichlorostearic acid: 96

    Choudhary et al. [59]

     

    Synthetic

    Canna indica

    Dye: 70–90

    COD: 75

    Yadav et al. [60]

     

    Synthetic greywater

    Heliconia angusta

    COD:40, BOD: 70, TSS: 62, TDS: 19

    Saumya et al. [61]

     

    Domestic

    Canna generalis

    TN: 52, T-PO3: 9

    Ojoawo et al. [62]

     

    Collection pond

    Canna Lily

    BOD: 70–96, COD: 64–99

    Haritash et al. [63]

     

    Hostel greywater

    Canna indica

    COD, TKN and Pathogen all up 70

    Patil and Munavalli, [64]

     

    Domestic

    Polianthus tuberosa L.

    Heavy metals (Pb and Fe: 73–87), (Cu and Zn: 31–34) and Ni and Al: 20–26

    Singh and Srivastava [65]

    Ireland

    Domestic

    Iris pseudacorus

    TN: 30, TP:28

    Gill and O’Luanaigh [66]

    Italy

    Synthetic

    Zantedeschia aethiopica, Canna indica

    N: 65–67, P: 63–74, Zn and Cu: 98–99, Carbamazepine: 25–51, LAS: 60–72

    Macci et al. [67]

    Kenya

    Flower farm

    Canna spp.

    BOD: 87, COD: 67, TSS: 90, TN: 61

    Kimani et al. [68]

    Mexico

    Municipal

    Zantedeschia aethiopoca

    COD: 35, TN: 45.6

    Belmont and Metcalfe [69]

     

    Domestic

    ZantedeschiaAethiopica and Canna flaccid

    SST: 85.9, COD: 85.8, NO3-N: 81.7, NH4-N: 65.5, NT: 72.6

    Belmont et al. [70]

     

    Coffee processing

    Heliconia psittacorum

    COD: 91, Coliformes: 93

    Orozco et al. [71]

     

    Domestic 

    Strelitzia reginae, Zantedeschia esthiopica, Canna hybrids, Anthurium andreanum, Hemerocallis Dumortieri

    COD: >75, P: >66, Coliforms: 99

    Zurita et al. [72]

     

    Domestic

    Zantedeschia aethiopica

    BOD: 79, TN: 55, PT: 50

    Zurita et al. [73]

     

    Wastewater form canals

    Zantedeschia aethiopica

    COD: 92, N-NH4: 85, P-PO4: 80

    Ramírez-Carrillo et al. [74]

     

    Municipal

    Strelitzia reginae, Anthurium, andreanum.

    TSS: 62, COD: 80, BOD: 82, TP: >50, TN: >49

    Zurita et al. [75]

     

    Groundwater

    Zantedeschia aethiopica and Anemopsis californica

    As: 75–78

    Zurita et al. [76]

     

    Domestic

    Gladiolus spp

    BOD: 33, TN: 53, TP: 75

    Castañeda and Flores [77]

     

    Mixture of greywater (from a cafeteria and research laboratories)

    Zantedeschia aethiopica and Canna indica

    COD: 65, NT: 22.4, PT: 5.

    Zurita and White [78]

     

    Domestic

    Zantedeschia aethiopica

    BOD: 70

    Hallack et al. [79]

     

    Domestic

    Heliconia stricta, Heliconia psittacorum and Alpinia purpurata

    BOD: 48, COD: 64, TP: 39, TN: 39

    Méndez-Mendoza et al. [80]

     

    Municipal

    Canna hybrids and Strelitzia reginae

    DQO: 86, NT: 30–33, PT: 24–44

    Merino-Solís et al. [81]

     

    Municipal

    Zantedeschia aethiopica and Strelitzia reginae

    COD: 75, TN: 18, TP: 2, TSS: 88.

    Zurita and Carreón-Álvarez [82]

     

    Domiciliar

    Spathiphyllum wallisii, Zantedechia aethiopica, Iris japonica, Hedychium coronarium, Alocasia sp, Heliconia sp. and Strelitzia reginae.

    N-NH4: 64-93

    BOD: 22–96

    COD: 25–64

    Garzón et al. [83]

     

    Community

    Zantedeschia aethiopica, Lilium sp, Anturium spp and Hedychium coronarium

    NT: 47, PT: 33, COD: 67

    Hernández [84]

     

    Stillage Treatment

    Canna indica

    BOD: 87, COD: 70

    López-Rivera et al. [85]

     

    Artificial

    Iris sibirica and Zantedeschia aethiopica

    Carbamazepine: 50–65

    Tejeda et al. [86]

     

    Community

    Alpinia purpurata and Zantedeschia aethiopica

     

    Marín-Muñiz et al. [87]

     

    Polluted river

    Zantedeschia aethiopica

    NO3-N: 45, NH4-N: 70, PO4-P: 30

    Hernández et al. [18]

     

    Municipal

    Spathiphyllum wallisii, and Zantedeschia aethiopica

     

    Sandoval-Herazo et al. [88]

     

    University

    Strelitzia reginae

     

    Martínez et al. [21]

    Nepal

    Municipal

    Canna latifolia

    TSS: 97, COD: 97, BOD: 89, TP: >30

    Sigh et al. [89]

    Portugal

    Tannery

    Canna indica mixed with other plants

    COD: 41–73, BOD: 41–58

    Calheiros et al. [90]

     

    Community

    Canna flaccida, Zantedeschia aethiopica, Canna indica, Agapanthus africanus and Watsonia borbonica

    BOD, COD, P-PO4, NH4 and total coliform bacteria (all up to 84)

    Calheiros et al. [91]

    Spain

    Domestic

    Iris spp

    Bacteria: 37

    García et al. [92]

     

    Municipal

    Iris pseudacorus

    Bacteria: 43

    Ansola et al. [93]

    Sri Lanka

    Municipal

    Canna iridiflora

    BOD: 66, TP: 89, NH4-N: 82, N-NO3: 50

    Weragoda et al. [94]

    Taiwan

    Domestic

    Canna indica

    N-NH4: 73, BOD: 11

    Chyan et al. [95]

       

    Canna indica

    N-NH4: 57, N-NO3: 57

    Chyan et al. [96]

    Thailand

    Domestic

    Canna spp

    COD: 92, BOD: 93, TSS: 84, NH4-N: 88, TP: 90

    Sirianuntapiboon and Jitvimolnimit [97]

     

    Seafood

    Canna siamensis, Heliconia spp and Hymenocallis littoralis

    BOD: 91–99, SS: 52–90, TN: 72–92 and TP: 72–77

    Sohsalam et al. [98]

     

    Domestic

    Heliconia psittacorum L.f. and Canna generalis L. Bailey

    TSS: Both > 88, COD: 42-83

    Konnerup et al. [99]

     

    Fermented fish production

    Canna hybrid

    BOD, COD, TKN: ~ 97

    Kantawanichkul et al. [100]

     

    Collection system for business and hotel

    Cannae lilies, Heliconia

    BOD: 92, TSS: 90, NO3-N: 50, TP: 46

    Brix et al. [101]

     

    Domestic

    Crinum asiaticum, Spathiphyllum clevelandii Schott

    PO4-P: ~20

    Torit et al. [102]

    Turkey

    Municipal

    Iris australis

    NH4-N: 91, NO3-N: 89, TN: 91

    Tunçsiper [103]

    USA

    Domestic

    Canna flaccida, Gladiolus sp., Iris sp.

    Baceria: ~50

    Neralla et al. [104]

     

    Nursery

    Canna· generalis, Eleocharis dulcis, Iris Peltandravirginica.

    N: ~50, P: ~60

    Palomsky et al. [105]

     

    Domestic

    Iris pseudacorus L., Canna x. generalis L.H. Bail., Hemerocallis fulva L. and Hibiscus moscheutosL.

    BOD > 75, TSS > 88, Fecal baceteria > 93

    Karathanasis et al. [14]

     

    Tilapia production

    Canna sp.

    TSS: 90, NO2-N: 91, NO3-N: 76, COD: 12.5 and NH3-N: 7.5

    Zachritz et al. [106]

     

    Stormwater runoff

    Canna x generalis Bailey, Iris pseudacorus L., Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.)

    N and P

    Canna (>90), Iris (>30)

    Zantedeschia (>90)

    Chen et al. [107]

     

    Residential

    Aeonium purpureum and Crassula ovate, Equisetum hyemale, Nasturtium, Narcissus impatiens, and Anigozanthos

    TSS: 95

    BOD: 97

    Yu et al. [16]

    Vietnam

    Fishpond

    Canna generalis

    BOD: 50, COD: 25–55

    Konnerup et al. [108]

    United Kingdom

    Herbicide polluted water

    Iris pseudacorus

    Atrazine: 90–100

    McKinlay and Kasperek. [109]

     
    A review of the available literature showed that ornamental plants are used to remove pollutants from domestic, municipal, aquaculture ponds, industrial or farm wastewater. The removal efficiency of ornamental plants was also evaluated for the following parameters: biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), total suspended solids (TSS), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorous (TP), ammonium (NH4-N), nitrates (NO3-N), coliforms and some metals (Cu, Zn, Ni and Al). There is no clear pattern in the use of certain species of ornamental plants for certain types of wastewater. However, it is important to keep in mind that CWs using ornamental plants are usually utilized as secondary or tertiary treatments, due to the reported toxic effects that high organic/inorganic loading has on plants in systems that use them for primary treatment (in the absence of other complementary treatment options) [110][111]. The use of OFP in CWs generates an esthetic appearance in the systems. In CWs with high plant production, OFP harvesting can be an economic entity for CW operators, providing social and economic benefits, such as the improvement of system landscapes and a better habitat quality. Some authors have reported that polyculture systems enhanced the CW resistance to environmental stress and disease [14][112].

    The entry is from 10.3390/app9040685

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