Municipal wastewater treatment potential and metal accumulation strategies of Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott and Typha latifolia L. in a constructed wetland

  • Vivek Rana
  • Subodh Kumar MaitiEmail author


This paper elucidates phytoremediation potential of two wetland plants (Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott and Typha latifolia L.) for municipal wastewater treatment using constructed wetland (CW) mesocosms. The concentrations (mg L−1) of chemical oxygen demand (COD), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), Cu, Cd, Cr, Zn, and Pb in municipal wastewater were higher than permissible Indian standards for inland surface water disposal; however, Mn and Ni were within the permissible limits. The pollutant removal efficiencies of planted CWs varied as electrical conductivity (EC) 67.8–71.4%; COD 70.7–71.1%; TKN 63.8–72.3%; Cu 75.3–83.4%; Cd 73.9–83.1%; Mn 74.1–74.5%; Cr 64.8–73.6%; Co 82.2–84.2%; Zn 63.3–66.1%; Pb 71.4–77.9%; and Ni 76–80%. Mass balance analysis revealed that the loss of metals from wastewater was equivalent to net accumulation in plants and natural degradation of metals. Metal accumulation strategies of plants were investigated using bioconcentration factor (BCF) and translocation factor (TF) of metals which indicated that both plants could be employed for phytostabilization (BCF > 1 and TF < 1) of Cu, Cd, Co, Pb, and Ni and phytoextraction (BCF > 1 and TF > 1) of Mn and Zn. The study demonstrated that a reduction of pollutants (except Pb) was observed within permissible levels (BIS) and suggested disposal of municipal wastewater into the inland surface water bodies after 20 days of treatment. The study concluded that both the plants could potentially be used for an efficient municipal wastewater treatment using constructed wetlands.


Phytoremediation Bioconcentration factor Translocation factor Metal mass balance Chemical oxygen demand Nitrogen 


  1. Abou-Elela, S. I., Golinielli, G., Abou-Taleb, E. M., & Hellal, M. S. (2013). Municipal wastewater treatment in horizontal and vertical flows constructed wetlands. Ecological Engineering, 61, 460–468.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alloway, B. J. (1990). Heavy metals in soils (p. 339). Glasgow: Blackie Academic & Professional.Google Scholar
  3. APHA. (2012). Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater (12th ed.). Washington DC: APHA, AWWA, WEF.Google Scholar
  4. Aran, D. S., Harguinteguy, C. A., Fernandez-Cirelli, A., & Pignata, M. L. (2017). Phytoextraction of Pb, Cr, Ni, and Zn using the aquatic plant Limnobium laevigatum and its potential use in the treatment of wastewater. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(22), 18295–18308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Arivoli, A., Mohanraj, R., & Seenivasan, R. (2015). Application of vertical flow constructed wetland in treatment of heavy metals from pulp and paper industry wastewater. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 22(17), 13336–13343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Armstrong, W. (1979). Aeration in higher plants. In H. Woolhouse (Ed.), Advances in botanical research (pp. 225–332). London: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Barakat, M. A. (2011). New trends in removing heavy metals from industrial wastewater. Arabian Journal of Chemistry, 4(4), 361–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bendix, M., Tornbjerg, T., & Brix, H. (1994). Internal gas transport in Typha latifolia L. and Typha angustifolia L. 1. Humidity-induced pressurization and convective through flow. Aquatic Botany, 49(2–3), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bilgin, M., Şimşek, İ., & Tulun, Ş. (2014). Treatment of domestic wastewater using a lab-scale activated sludge/vertical flow subsurface constructed wetlands by using Cyperus alternifolius. Ecological Engineering, 70, 362–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bindu, T., Sylas, V. P., Mahesh, M., Rakesh, P. S., & Ramasamy, E. V. (2008). Pollutant removal from domestic wastewater with Taro (Colocasia esculenta) planted in a subsurface flow system. Ecological Engineering, 33(1), 68–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bindu, T., Sumi, M. M., & Ramasamy, E. V. (2010). Decontamination of water polluted by heavy metals with Taro (Colocasia esculenta) cultured in a hydroponic NFT system. The Environmentalist, 30(1), 35–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. BIS. (2010). Indian standards for inland disposal of treated water- specification (BIS 10500: 2010); available online at
  13. Brown, P. H., Cakmak, I., & Zhang, Q. (1993). Form and function of zinc plants. In Zinc in soils and plants (pp. 93–106). Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Calheiros, C. S., Rangel, A. O., & Castro, P. M. (2008). Evaluation of different substrates to support the growth of Typha latifolia in constructed wetlands treating tannery wastewater over long-term operation. Bioresource Technology, 99(15), 6866–6877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chang, J. J., Wu, S. Q., Dai, Y. R., Liang, W., & Wu, Z. B. (2012). Treatment performance of integrated vertical-flow constructed wetland plots for domestic wastewater. Ecological Engineering, 44, 152–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chayapan, P., Kruatrachue, M., Meetam, M., & Pokethitiyook, P. (2015). Phytoremediation potential of Cd and Zn by wetland plants, Colocasia esculenta L. Schott., Cyperus malaccensis Lam., and Typha angustifolia L. grown in hydroponics. Journal of Environmental Biology, 36(5), 1179–1183.Google Scholar
  17. Chen, C., Zhao, T., Liu, R., & Luo, L. (2017). Performance of five plant species in removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from an experimental phytoremediation system in the Ningxia irrigation area. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189(10), 497.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Clemens, S. (2001). Molecular mechanisms of plant metal tolerance and homeostasis. Planta, 212(4), 475–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Clemens, S. (2006). Toxic metal accumulation, responses to exposure and mechanisms of tolerance in plants. Biochimie, 88(11), 1707–1719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Clemens, S., Palmgren, M. G., & Krämer, U. (2002). A long way ahead: understanding and engineering plant metal accumulation. Trends in Plant Science, 7(7), 309–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. CPCB. (2009). Status of water supply, waste water generation and treatment in class-I cities and Class-II town of India. Control of urban pollution series: CUPS/70 /2009-10. New Delhi: New Delhi CPCB, Ministry of Environment and Forests. Govt. of India.Google Scholar
  22. Das, M., & Maiti, S. K. (2007). Metal accumulation in A. baccifera growing naturally on abandoned copper tailings pond. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 127(1–3), 119–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Das, S., Goswami, S., & Talukdar, A. D. (2014). A study on cadmium phytoremediation potential of water lettuce, Pistia stratiotes L. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 92(2), 169–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Davies, L. C., Cabrita, G. J. M., Ferreira, R. A., Carias, C. C., Novais, J. M., & Martins-Dias, S. (2009). Integrated study of the role of Phragmites australis in azo-dye treatment in a constructed wetland: from pilot to molecular scale. Ecological Engineering, 35(6), 961–970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Day, P. R. (1965). Particle fractionation and particle-size analysis. In C. A. Black, D. D. Evans, L. E. Ensminger, J. L. White, & F. E. Clark (Eds.), Methods of soil analysis (pp. 545–567). Madison: American Society of Agronomy. Inc., Publishers.Google Scholar
  26. Dhote, S., & Dixit, S. (2009). Water quality improvement through macrophytes—a review. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 152(1–4), 149–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gambrell, R. P. (1994). Trace and toxic metals in wetlands—a review. Journal of Environmental Quality, 23, 883–891.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gao, J., Zhang, J., Ma, N., Wang, W., Ma, C., & Zhang, R. (2015). Cadmium removal capability and growth characteristics of Iris sibirica in subsurface vertical flow constructed wetlands. Ecological Engineering, 84, 443–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gbogbo, F., & Otoo, S. D. (2015). The concentrations of five heavy metals in components of an economically important urban coastal wetland in Ghana: public health and phytoremediation implications. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(10), 655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ha, N. T. H., Sakakibara, M., & Sano, S. (2011). Accumulation of indium and other heavy metals by Eleocharis acicularis: an option for phytoremediation and phytomining. Bioresource Technology, 102(3), 2228–2234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hall, J. L. (2002). Cellular mechanisms for heavy metal detoxification and tolerance. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53(366), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hargreaves, A. J., Constantino, C., Dotro, G., Cartmell, E., & Campo, P. (2018). Fate and removal of metals in municipal wastewater treatment: a review. Environmental Technology Reviews, 7(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Jacob, D. L., & Otte, M. L. (2003). Conflicting processes in the wetland plant rhizosphere: metal retention or mobilization? Water Air Soil Pollution: Focus, 3(1), 91–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Justin, M. Z., & Zupančič, M. (2009). Combined purification and reuse of landfill leachate by constructed wetland and irrigation of grass and willows. Desalination, 246(1), 157–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Juwarker, A. S., Oke, B., Juwarkar, A., & Patnaik, S. M. (1995). Domestic wastewater treatment through constructed wetland in India. Water Science Technology, 32(3), 291–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kabata-Pendias, A. (2010). Trace elements in soils and plants (Fourth ed.). Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  37. Krupa, Z., Öquist, G., & Huner, N. (1993). The effects of cadmium on photosynthesis of Phaseolus vulgaris—a fluorescence analysis. Physiologia Plantarum, 88(4), 626–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kumar, V., & Chopra, A. K. (2018). Phytoremediation potential of water caltrop (Trapa natans L.) using municipal wastewater of the activated sludge process-based municipal wastewater treatment plant. Environmental Technology, 39(1), 12–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kumar, D., Asolekar, S. R., & Sharma, S. K. (2015). Post-treatment and reuse of secondary effluents using natural treatment systems: the Indian practices. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 187(10), 612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kumari, M., & Tripathi, B. D. (2015a). Effect of Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia on biofiltration of heavy metals from secondary treated effluent. International journal of Environmental Science and Technology, 12(3), 1029–1038.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kumari, M., & Tripathi, B. D. (2015b). Efficiency of Phragmites australis and Typha latifolia for heavy metal removal from wastewater. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 112, 80–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lasat, M. M., Pence, N. S., Garvin, D. F., Ebbs, S. D., & Kochian, L. V. (2000). Molecular physiology of zinc transport in the Zn hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens. Journal of Experimental Botany, 51(342), 71–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lombi, E., Tearall, K. L., Howarth, J. R., Zhao, F. J., Hawkesford, M. J., & McGrath, S. P. (2002). Influence of iron status on cadmium and zinc uptake by different ecotypes of the hyperaccumulator Thlaspi caerulescens. Plant Physiology, 128(4), 1359–1367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Luis, G., Rubio, C., González-Weller, D., Gutiérrez, A. J., Revert, C., & Hardisson, A. (2011). Comparative study of the mineral composition of several varieties of potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) from different countries cultivated in Canary Islands (Spain). International Journal of Food Science & Technology, 46(4), 774–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Madera-Parra, C. A., Peña-Salamanca, E. J., Peña, M. R., Rousseau, D. P. L., & Lens, P. N. L. (2015). Phytoremediation of landfill leachate with Colocasia esculenta, Gynerum sagittatum and Heliconia psittacorum in constructed wetlands. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 17(1), 16–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Maiti, S. K., & Nandhini, S. (2006). Bioavailability of metals in fly ash and their bioaccumulation in naturally occurring vegetation: a pilot scale study. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 116(1–3), 263–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Maiti, S. K., & Rana, V. (2017). Assessment of heavy metals contamination in reclaimed mine soil and their accumulation and distribution in Eucalyptus hybrid. Bulletin of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 98(1), 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Marschner, H. (2011). Marschner’s mineral nutrition of higher plants. London: Academic press.Google Scholar
  49. Massoud, M. A., Tarhini, A., & Nasr, J. A. (2009). Decentralized approaches to wastewater treatment and management: applicability in developing countries. Journal of Environmental Management, 90(1), 652–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Matagi, S. V., Swai, D., & Mugabe, R. (1998). A review of heavy metal removal mechanisms in wetlands. African Journal of Tropical Hydrobiology and Fisheries, 8(1), 13–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Mojiri, A., Ahmad, Z., Tajuddin, R. M., Arshad, M. F., & Gholami, A. (2017). Ammonia, phosphate, phenol, and copper (II) removal from aqueous solution by subsurface and surface flow constructed wetland. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 189(7), 337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ng, Y. S., & Chan, D. J. C. (2017). Phytoremediation capabilities of Spirodela polyrhiza, Salvinia molesta and Lemna sp. in synthetic wastewater: a comparative study. International Journal of Phytoremediation.
  53. Olguín, E. J., Sánchez-Galván, G., González-Portela, R. E., & López-Vela, M. (2008). Constructed wetland mesocosms for the treatment of diluted sugarcane molasses stillage from ethanol production using Pontederia sagittata. Water Research, 42(14), 3659–3666.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Padmavathiamma, P. K., & Li, L. Y. (2007). Phytoremediation technology: hyper-accumulation metals in plants. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 184(1–4), 105–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Pan, W., Wu, C., Xue, S., & Hartley, W. (2014). Arsenic dynamics in the rhizosphere and its sequestration on rice roots as affected by root oxidation. Journal of Environmental Sciences, 26(4), 892–899.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rai, U. N., Upadhyay, A. K., Singh, N. K., Dwivedi, S., & Tripathi, R. D. (2015). Seasonal applicability of horizontal sub-surface flow constructed wetland for trace elements and nutrient removal from urban wastes to conserve Ganga River water quality at Haridwar, India. Ecological Engineering, 81, 115–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rana, V., & Maiti, S. K. (2018). Differential distribution of metals in tree tissues growing on reclaimed coal mine overburden dumps, Jharia coal field (India). Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 25(10), 9745–9758.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Reddy, M. V., Babu, K. S., Balaram, V., & Satyanarayanan, M. (2012). Assessment of the effects of municipal sewage, immersed idols and boating on the heavy metal and other elemental pollution of surface water of the eutrophic Hussainsagar Lake (Hyderabad, India). Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 184(4), 1991–2000.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shah, K., & Nongkynrih, J. M. (2007). Metal hyperaccumulation and bioremediation. Biologia Plantarum, 51(4), 618–634.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Shanker, A. K., Cervantes, C., Loza-Tavera, H., & Avudainayagam, S. (2005). Chromium toxicity in plants. Environment International, 31(5), 739–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Stottmeister, U., Wießner, A., Kuschk, P., Kappelmeyer, U., Kästner, M., Bederski, O., Müller, R. A., & Moormann, H. (2003). Effects of plants and microorganisms in constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment. Biotechnology Advances, 22(1–2), 93–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Upadhyay, A. R., Mishra, V. K., Pandey, S. K., & Tripathi, B. D. (2007). Biofiltration of secondary treated municipal wastewater in a tropical city. Ecological Engineering, 30(1), 9–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vymazal, J. (2005). Horizontal sub-surface flow and hybrid constructed wetlands systems for wastewater treatment. Ecological Engineering, 25(5), 478–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vymazal, J. (2011). Plants used in constructed wetlands with horizontal subsurface flow: a review. Hydrobiologia, 674(1), 133–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vymazal, J. (2013). Emergent plants used in free water surface constructed wetlands: a review. Ecological Engineering, 61, 582–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Weis, J. S., & Weis, P. (2004). Metal uptake, transport and release by wetland plants: implications for phytoremediation and restoration. Environment International, 30(5), 685–700.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yadav, A. K., Abbassi, R., Kumar, N., Satya, S., Sreekrishnan, T. R., & Mishra, B. K. (2012). The removal of heavy metals in wetland microcosms: effects of bed depth, plant species, and metal mobility. Chemical Engineering Journal, 211, 501–507.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Yang, X., Feng, Y., He, Z., & Stoffella, P. J. (2005). Molecular mechanisms of heavy metal hyperaccumulation and phytoremediation. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology, 18(4), 339–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Ye, F., & Li, Y. (2009). Enhancement of nitrogen removal in towery hybrid constructed wetland to treat domestic wastewater for small rural communities. Ecological Engineering, 35(7), 1043–1050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. You, S. H., Zhang, X. H., Liu, J., Zhu, Y. N., & Gu, C. (2014). Feasibility of constructed wetland planted with Leersia hexandra Swartz for removing Cr, Cu and Ni from electroplating wastewater. Environmental Technology, 35(2), 187–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zhang, D. Q., Hua, T., Gersberg, R. M., Zhu, J., Ng, W. J., & Tan, S. K. (2012). Fate of diclofenac in wetland mesocosms planted with Scirpus validus. Ecological Engineering, 49, 59–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringIndian Institute of Technology (Indian School of Mines)DhanbadIndia

Personalised recommendations