Remediation of sediment and water contaminated by copper in small-scaled constructed wetlands: effect of bioaugmentation and phytoextraction

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2015 Jan;22(1):721-32. doi: 10.1007/s11356-014-3406-6. Epub 2014 Aug 10.


The use of plants and microorganisms to mitigate sediment contaminated by copper was studied in microcosms that mimic the functioning of a stormwater basin (SWB) connected to vineyard watershed. The impact of phytoremediation and bioaugmentation with siderophore-producing bacteria on the fate of Cu was studied in two contrasted (batch vs. semi-continuous) hydraulic regimes. The fate of copper was characterised following its discharge at the outlet of the microcosms, its pore water concentration in the sediment, the assessment of its bioaccessible fraction in the rhizosphere and the measurement of its content in plant tissues. Physico-chemical (pH, redox potential) and biological parameters (total heterotrophic bacteria) were also monitored. As expected, the results showed a clear impact of the hydraulic regime on the redox potential and thus on the pore water concentration of Cu. Copper in pore water was also dependent on the frequency of Cu-polluted water discharges. Repeated bioaugmentation increased the total heterotrophic microflora as well as the Cu bioaccessibility in the rhizosphere and increased the amount of Cu extracted by Phragmites australis by a factor of ~2. Sugar beet pulp, used as a filter to avoid copper flushing, retained 20% of outcoming Cu and led to an overall retention of Cu higher than 94% when arranged at the outlet of microcosms. Bioaugmentation clearly improved the phytoextraction rate of Cu in a small-scaled SWB designed to mimic the functioning of a full-size SWB connected to vineyard watershed. Highlights: Cu phytoextraction in constructed wetlands much depends on the hydraulic regime and on the frequency of Cu-polluted water discharges. Cu phytoextraction increases with time and plant density. Cu bioaccessibility can be increased by bioaugmentation with siderophore-producing bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria
  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Copper / isolation & purification*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Poaceae / metabolism*
  • Rhizosphere
  • Siderophores / metabolism
  • Water / analysis
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / isolation & purification*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / metabolism
  • Wetlands*


  • Siderophores
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water
  • Copper