Ability of Four Emergent Macrophytes to Remediate Permethrin in Mesocosm Experiments

  • M. T. Moore
  • R. Kröger
  • C. M. Cooper
  • S. SmithJr.


Increased focus is being placed on the ability of native vegetation to mitigate potential harmful effects of agricultural runoff, especially pyrethroid insecticides. Replicate 379 L Rubbermaid tubs (1.25 m [l] × 0.6 m [w] × 0.8 m [h]) were planted with individual species of cutgrass (Leersia oryzoides), cattails (Typha latifolia), bur-reed (Sparganium americanum), and powdery alligator-flag (Thalia dealbata), all common wetland macrophytes found in the Mississippi Delta, USA, agricultural region. Permethrin-enriched water (target concentration, 5 μg L−1) was pumped in at a 4-h hydraulic retention time at one end of the tub and discharged at the far end. Water samples were collected from discharge at 1-h intervals for 12 h and analyzed for permethrin concentrations. Permethrin removal rates were compared for the four different plant treatments and nonvegetated sediment-water controls. Results indicated that no particular single plant species was more effective at removing permethrin in water relative to unplanted controls. Overall mass reductions (from inflow to outflow) for cis-permethrin ranged from 67% ± 6% in T. latifolia to 71% ± 2% in L. oryzoides. The trans-permethrin overall mass reductions ranged from 76% ± 4% in S. americanum to 82% ± 2% in the unplanted control. Sediment and plant samples collected at the study conclusion indicated that 77%–95% of measured permethrin mass was associated with sediment for mesocosms planted with L. oryzoides, T. latifolia, and T. dealbata. Conversely, mesocosms planted with S. americanum had 83% of measured mass associated with the plant material. Specific plant-pesticide retention studies can lead to improved planning for best management practices and remediation techniques such as constructed wetlands and vegetated agricultural drainage ditches.


Phytoremediation Hydraulic Retention Time Mississippi Delta Natural Resource Conservation Service Unplanted Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank L. Brooks, R. L. Lee, C. Helms, R. Menon, and B. McNeely for sample collection and analysis assistance. Thanks also go to P. Rodrigue and the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center in Coffeeville, Mississippi.


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Copyright information

© US Government 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. T. Moore
    • 1
  • R. Kröger
    • 2
  • C. M. Cooper
    • 1
  • S. SmithJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.USDA-ARS National Sedimentation LaboratoryOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of Wildlife and FisheriesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA

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