Phytoremediation potential of poplar and willow species in small scale constructed wetland for boron removal

Yıldırım K., Kasım G. Ç.

Chemosphere, vol.194, pp.722-736, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 194
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.12.036
  • Journal Name: Chemosphere
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.722-736
  • Keywords: Boron toxicity, Constructed wetland, Phytoremediation, Poplar, Willow
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: No


Boron (B) pollution is an expanding environmental problem throughout the world due to intensive mining practices and extensive usage of B in agricultural chemicals and industrial products in recent years. The purpose of this study was to investigate B removal performance of four poplar and four willow species in small scale Constructed Wetland (CW). Rooted cuttings of tested species were treated with simulated wastewater having five elevated B concentrations (0.5, 5, 10, 20 and 40 ppm). All the tested species could resist up to 20 ppm wastewater B supply and could regrow from their roots in the soil having maximum 15 mg/kg B content. The result of the study indicated that 65% ± 5.3 of B was removed from the wastewater in 5 ppm B treatment while the same efficiency decreased to 45% ± 4.6 at 40 ppm B supply. The average effect of sediment on B removal was found to be approximately 20% for all B treatments while the remaining part of the loaded B was removed from the CW within effluent (35–54%). Therefore, actual effects of plant species on B removal was ranged from 45% to 25% between 5 and 40 ppm B treatments. Mass B removal within plant body (phytextraction) comprised the 13-10% of total loaded B in CW while the remaining part of the loaded B (31-15%) was stabilized into the sediment with the effects of poplar and willow roots. These results presented clear understanding of effective B purification mechanisms in CWs. Boron phytextraction capacity of a plant species was less effective than its phytstabilization efficiency which increase filtering capacity of the sediment and stabilization of more B around the rhizosphere. In terms of their B removal ability, P.nigra and S.anatolica had the highest B removal capacities with phytextraction (20-11%) while S.alba, P.alba and S.babylonica had more phytstabilizaiton performance (40-15%) in CW. Disposal of B loaded plant material create another environmental costs for CW applications. Therefore, B loaded wood and leaf tissues were mixed and used for production of wooden panels in the study. Then a combustion test was applied on these panels to test their fire resistance. The results of the tests revealed much higher burning tolerance of the B loaded panels (5–20%) compared to controls. Annual harvesting, fast growing and deep rooting ability of the poplar and willow species with their high phytstabilization and phytextraction efficiencies make these species excellent tools to remove B from the polluted waters. Utilization of these species for B removal in large scale CWs is quite possible which should be also investigated in further studies.