Physiological parameters of plants as indicators of water quality in a constructed wetland

Oren Shelef, Avi Golan-Goldhirsh, Tanya Gendler, Shimon Rachmilevitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction: Increasing demand for water has stimulated efforts to treat wastewater for reuse in agriculture. Decentralized facilities for wastewater treatment became popular as a solution to remote and small communities. These systems mimic natural wetlands, cleaning wastewater as they flow through a complex of filter media, microbial fauna, and vegetation. The function of plants in constructed wetlands (CWs) has not been fully elucidated yet. Discussion: In the research reported here, we provide evidence for a new use of plant physiological parameters in CWs as bioindicators of water quality along the system. We measured improved plant performance downstream of the CW by means of photochemical efficiency, CO2 assimilation rate, and cell membrane stability. In addition, we found evidence for temporal improvement of plant performance, which was correlated to the establishment phase of plants in a newly operating CW. It is suggested that improved monitoring and management of CWs should take into planning consideration the promising potential of phyto-indicators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1234-1242
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2011


  • Assimilation rate
  • Cell membrane stability
  • Constructed wetland
  • Photochemical efficiency
  • Phyto-indicators
  • Plant performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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