Nutrient Removal from Simulated Wastewater Using Canna indica and Schoenoplectus validus in Mono- and Mixed-Culture in Wetland Microcosms

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    Emergent wetland plant species may exhibit different nutrient removal efficiencies when grown in monoculture and mixed stands in constructed wetlands for tertiary purification of wastewater. A glasshouse study was conducted to investigate the influence of mono- and mixed-culture between Canna indica Linn and Schoenoplectus validus (Vahl) A. Love & D. Love on their growth in, and nutrient removal from, simulated wastewater in the surface water of vertical-flow wetland microcosms. Plants were grown for 50 days before imposing nutrient treatments that simulated secondary-treated municipal wastewater effluent with either low (17.5 mg N and 10 mg P per litre) or high (35.0 mg N and 20 mg P per litre) nutrient concentrations. Treatment solutions were renewed in weekly intervals. After 65 days of nutrient and plant treatments, the total and above-ground biomass was significantly (P < 0.01) greater in the high compared with the low nutrient treatment, but there were no significant differences in below-ground biomass. Significant (P < 0.01) differences in above-ground and below-ground biomass were observed, but no significant difference in total biomass was detected among plant treatments. The highest below-ground biomass was in monoculture of C. indica, whereas the highest above-ground biomass was in the monoculture of S. validus. The biomass of mixed-culture was intermediate to that in the two monoculture treatments. There was significant interspecific competition between C. indica and S. validus in mixed-culture, with C. indica being the superior competitor. The concentrations of N and P in plant tissues (except P in above-ground tissues) were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in the high than in the low nutrient treatment. The accumulation of N and P in above- and below-ground tissues largely reflected patterns of biomass allocation. No significant difference was observed between the nutrient treatments in nutrient removal efficiencies. Plant uptake was the major nutrient removal pathway in the wetland microcosms. Nutrient removal from simulated wastewater in mixed-culture was not greater than in mono-cultures, due to interspecific competition. The results suggested that plant nutrient uptake was the major removal mechanism at the establishment stands in the constructed wetlands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)95-105
    JournalWater Air and Soil Pollution
    Issue number1-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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