Vegetation effects on anammox spatial distribution and nitrogen removal in constructed wetlands treated with domestic sewage

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

In this study, two horizontal subsurface-flow constructed wetlands (CWs) (planted and unplanted) were constructed and compared to investigate the effects of vegetation on nitrogen removal and anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation) spatial distribution and enrichment. Calamus (Acorus calamus L.), which has a large root system, was selected as the vegetation. Removal of total nitrogen from the planted wetland was much higher than that from the unplanted one. Radial oxygen loss from calamus provided the planted wetland with better oxygen restoration ability, benefitting ammonium removal in the CW, especially when anammox was inhibited under winter temperatures. Enrichment of anammox bacteria in planted wetlands was much greater than that in unplanted ones. The greatest enrichment of anammox bacteria occurred in the middle layer, which had a better anaerobic environment and moderate root system. The reduced rate of metabolism in plants during winter led to a sharp decrease in anammox bacteria copy numbers in the planted wetland. Under cold temperature, the degree of enrichment with anammox bacteria in the planted wetland was similar to or slightly superior to that in the unplanted wetland.

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