Phytoremediation potential of the duckweeds Lemna minuta and Lemna minor to remove nutrients from treated waters

Ceschin, S.; Crescenzi, M.; Iannelli, M.A.

Environmental Science and Pollution Research International 27(13): 15806-15814


ISSN/ISBN: 1614-7499
PMID: 32088823
DOI: 10.1007/s11356-020-08045-3
Accession: 069841890

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Phytoremediation potential of duckweeds (Lemna minuta, Lemna minor) to remove nutrients from simulated wastewater was analyzed. In two separate experiments, the two species were grown for 28 days in waters enriched with nitrate and phosphate to simulate nutrient concentrations of domestic wastewater. Water physical and chemical measurements (temperature, pH, conductivity, oxygen) and plant physiological and biochemical analysis (biomass, relative growth rate-RGR, nutrient and chlorophyll contents, peroxidative damage, bioconcentration factor-BCF) were made to test and compare the phytoremediation capacity of the two Lemna species. L. minuta biomass increased almost tenfold during the time-course of the treatment resulting in a doubling of the mat thickness and a RGR of 0.083 ± 0.001 g/g day. Maximum frond content of phosphate was reached by day 21 (increase over 165%) and nitrate by day 7 (10%). According to the BCF results (BCF > 1000), L. minuta was a hyperaccumulator for both nutrients. On the other hand, L. minor biomass and mat thickness decreased continuously during incubation (RGR = - 0.039 ± 0.004 g/g day). In L. minor fronds, phosphate content increased until day 14, after which there was a decrease until the end of the incubation. Frond nitrate content significantly decreased by day 7, but then remained relatively constant until the end of the experiment. L. minor proved to be hyperaccumulator for phosphates, but not for nitrates. Results indicated L. minuta has a greater potential than L. minor to remove both nutrients by bioaccumulation, especially phosphates, demonstrated also by better physiological and biochemical responses. However, during the incubation, the chlorophyll content of L. minuta mat did continuously decrease and peroxidative damage had increased until day 14, indicating that the system was under some kind of stress. Strategies to avoid this stress were discussed.