Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 2406–2415 | Cite as

Ornamental plants for micropollutant removal in wetland systems

  • Cristina MacciEmail author
  • Eleonora Peruzzi
  • Serena Doni
  • Renato Iannelli
  • Grazia Masciandaro
Wetland Systems: Ecology, Functions and Management


The objective of this paper was to evaluate the efficiency of micropollutant removal, such as Cu, Zn, carbamazepine, and linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS), through the use of a subsurface vertical flow constructed wetland system with ornamental plants. Zantedeschia aethiopica, Canna indica, Carex hirta, Miscanthus sinensis, and Phragmites australis were selected and planted in lysimeters filled up with gravel. The lysimeters were completely saturated with synthetic wastewater (N 280 mg L−1, P 30 mg L−1, Cu 3.6 mg L−1, Zn 9 mg L−1, carbamazepine 5 μg L−1, linear alkylbenzene sulfonates 14 mg L−1), and the leaching water was collected for analysis after 15, 30, and 60 days in winter-spring and spring-summer periods. Nutrients (N and P) and heavy metals decreased greatly due to both plant activity and adsorption. C. indica and P. australis showed the highest metal content in their tissues and also the greatest carbamazepine and LAS removal. In these plants, the adsorption/degradation processes led to particularly high oxidative stress, as evidenced by the significantly high levels of ascorbate peroxidase activity detected. Conversely, Z. aethiopica was the less efficient plant in metal and organic compound removal and was also less stressed in terms of ascorbate peroxidase activity.


Constructed wetlands Ornamental plants Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCP) Heavy metals Carbamazepine Linear alkylbenzene sulfonates (LAS) 



The study was carried out within the framework of a project financed by San Giuliano Terme Municipality, Pisa (Italy). The authors would like to thank the graduating student Guido Cioli and the technician Virginia Giansoldati for their work in the execution of the experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cristina Macci
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eleonora Peruzzi
    • 1
  • Serena Doni
    • 1
  • Renato Iannelli
    • 2
  • Grazia Masciandaro
    • 1
  1. 1.National Research Council – Institute of Ecosystem Study (CNR-ISE)PisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Engineering of Energy, Systems, Territory and Constructions (UNIPI-DESTEC)University of PisaPisaItaly

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