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Contribution of microbial community associated with Juncus acutus in constructed wetlands treating municipal wastewater with heavy metal removal

Bourkoutsoglou Ioanna

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Year 2019
Type of Item Diploma Work
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Plants and their associated microorganisms play a leading role in phytoremediation. The plant-micro-organism system contributes to the degradation of toxic organic substances as well as the removal of metals from soil and water. In particular, both the rhizosphere and the endophytic bacteria can have beneficial effects on their host and improve the effect of phytoremediation. This study investigates the ability of the microbial community of the rhizosphere and the root endophytic community of Juncus to remove heavy metals (Zn, Ni and Cd separately and as a mixture). The helophyte from which both communities have been isolated is already used as a phyto-oxygenating agent in a constructed wetland for urban wastewater treatment. In particular, rhizospheric community was cultivated in two different media, in a rich medium during the first round of experiments and in secondary treated urban wastewater during the second cycle of experiments, to which Zn, Ni and Cd were added separately and as a mixture. The endophytic community was cultivated in a rich medium to which Zn, Ni and Cd were added separately and as a mixture, during the first round of experiments. In the first cycle microorganisms were cultured with two different concentrations of metals in order to explore their removal capability at different levels of pollution. In the second experimental phase, the aim is to provide a better and more realistic simulation of the conditions within the wetland from which the Juncus acutus was isolated. For this purpose, micro-organisms used as sole source the organic substances in the effluent of the secondary treatment flowing into the constructed wetland and an artificial solution comprised with the root exudates of Juncus acutus. In conclusion, this study confirms the contribution of the microbial community associated with Juncus acutus to heavy metals removal in constructed wetlands; the communities were more efficient in removing cadmium and zinc while they showed low ability to removal nickel.

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