Evaluation of Australian Native Wetland Plants for Phytoremediation of Saline Mine-Leachate

Allan Adams

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    The aim of this thesis was to assess the suitability of the Australian native wetland plants Typha domingensis, Baumea articulata, Carex appressa, Phragmites australis, and Schoenoplectus validus for use in wetland phytoremediation of saline mine-leachate. Experimental work was conducted in glasshouse and laboratory conditions, at an active Au and Cu mine in the Central Tablelands of NSW, Australia. The evaluation of each species consisted of three main themes, (1) concentration of elements in wetland substrates and root-zone interactions, (2) photosynthetic performance including chlorophyll fluorescence and determine of Rubisco concentrations, and (3) accumulation and translocation of Ca, Cu, Mg, Mn, Na, S, and Zn.

    Naturally colonised population of Typha domingensis in artificial wetlands were
    found to assist in removal of Cu, Mn, and Zn from saline mine-leachate exiting
    waste-rock dumps at the mine site. Hydroponic trials were used to screen the
    suitability of B. articulata, C. appressa, P. australis, and S. validus by determining
    their element accumulation and photosynthetic performance; the findings from this experiment suggested their suitability for further experimental trials. Pot experiments containing wetland sediment and soil were used to determine carbon assimilation performance; a significant difference in non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) of control and treatment populations of B. articulata occurred, greater amounts of Rubisco were found in treatment populations of B. articulata, C. appressa, P. australis, and S. validus. Pot trials also revealed fresh mass of B. articulata and C. appressa were significantly reduced and dry mass of C. appressa only were significantly reduced. Carex appressa accumulated the greatest amount of Ca, Cu, Mn, Na, S and Zn, and also translocated the greatest amounts of ca, Cu, Mg, Na, and S. Assessment of porewater with Rhizon samplers revealed significant increases of Cu, Mg, and S in treatment porewater, and concentrations of Mn were significantly decreased in the presence of P. australis in treatment conditions only.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Raman, Anantanarayanan, Co-Supervisor
    • Hodgkins, Dennis, Co-Supervisor
    Award date14 Nov 2014
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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