• European Green Cities/Site Development

Summary: Phragmites australis can uptake and phytodegrade Ibuprofen in the water.

The article is a summary / introduction of the paper written by the authors listed below, the original link of this paper has been attached in the end of this article.


Author: Yujie He, Alette A. M. Langenhoff,Nora B. Sutton, Huub H. M. Rijnaarts, Marco H. Blokland, Feiran Chen, Christian Huber andPeter Schröder

Copyright© 2017 American Chemical Society


Photo Courtesy: pixabay.com.

Phragmites australis or common reed is a common seen species in water bodies. As a main wetland species, it's broadly used for phytoremediation. The feature of common reed includes, efficiently adsorb nutrients in the water, its complex and robust root system provides a lot of microbial activities, strong resistance to the environment (climate and alkalinity).


Recently, researchers in Wageningen University found out that P. australis also performs to remove ibuprofen (IBP) as pharmaceuticals in the water.



People are paying more and more attention to the pharmaceuticals residues in the water. "In recent years, pharmaceuticals have provoked increasing concern due to their potential risks to the environment. These ubiquitous, persistent and biologically active compounds can disturb both mammalian and non-mammalian organisms.Ibuprofen (IBP) is one of the most commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals with high consumption rates, for example, 4.7 mg/inhabitant/day in China."


In the experiments conducted by Wageningen University, they pre-cultivated P. australis, and made them into three groups, treated plants with 60 μg/L of IBP injection into the medium (treated groups), parallel untreated plants (untreated groups) and blank control pots without plants (blank groups).Tissue samples were collected from both the treated and untreated groups on day 0, 3, 7, 14, and 21 after IBP exposure. At each sampling time point, triplicates of treated and untreated plants were sacrificed to harvest plant tissues. Harvested tissues were divided into two sections: roots and rhizomes (RR tissue), and stems and leaves (SL tissue), prior to being frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored at −80 °C until sample processing. At the same time points, liquid samples were collected from pots of both treated and blank groups, and were filtered through 0.45 μm pore size PVDF syringe filters (Carl Roth, Germany) then stored at −20 °C until analysis. Weight of plants and water loss in pots were measured prior to sampling.

Photo Courtesy: http-//www.ecotechnologie

Then in order to track the degradation status of IBP, Mass Spectrometry was applied to tentatively identified the metabolites of IBP in P. australis. Follow by that, was chemical extraction of RR and SL tissues with LC-HRMS(high resolution accurate mass spectrometric) analysis to determine IBP and potential intermediates. Other than that, enzyme activities was also tested.


The result of this study shows that P. australisis able to take up, accumulate, and metabolize IBP, in both RR and SL tissue without significant phytotoxicity.


"Implication for Practice

Metabolism and detoxification of IBP in mammals are known processes and have been well described. The fate and transformation of IBP in aquatic macrophytes has not been investigated so far. However, aquatic macrophytes are increasingly exposed to residual pharmaceuticals in water bodies, especially when those plants are applied in phytoremediation. Therefore, it is necessary to study the fate of pharmaceuticals in macrophytes and the underlying phytoremediation mechanism. In summary, this study gives insight on the fate and transformation of IBP in P. australis, which can be applied for investigating other pharmaceuticals and forecasting their fate in other types of macrophytes. Reflecting on practice, this study proves that macrophytes have the potential to take up and degrade pharmaceuticals. The knowledge contributes to understanding and implementing phytoremediation in constructed wetlands as an effective treatment method for removing pharmaceuticals from water."


Souce: link

#phytoremediation #pharmaceuticals #Ibuprofenremoval


©2020 by European Green City Development Foundation