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Environ Manage. 2005 Dec;36(6):842-8.

Use of microbial community to evaluate performance of a wetland system in treating Pb/Zn mine drainage.

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Laboratory of Protozoan Taxonomy and Ecology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430072, PRC.


The performance of a wetland system in treating lead (Pb)/zinc (Zn) mine drainage was evaluated by using the polyurethane foam unit (PFU) microbial community (method), which has been adopted by China as a standardized procedure for monitoring water quality. The wetland system consisted of four cells with three dominant plants: Typha latifolia, Phragmites australis and Paspalum distichum. Physicochemical characteristics [pH, EC, content of total suspended solid (TSS) and metals (Pb, Zn, Cd, and Cu)] and PFU microbial community in water samples had been investigated from seven sampling sites. The results indicated that the concentrations of Pb, Zn, Cd, Cu, and TSS in the mine drainage were gradually reduced from the inlet to the outlet of the wetland system and 99%, 98%, 75%, 83%, and 68% of these metals and TSS respectively, had been reduced in concentration after the drainage passed through the wetland system. A total of 105 protozoan species were identified, the number of protozoa species and the diversity index (DI) gradually increased, while the heterotrophic index (HI) gradually decreased from the inlet to the outlet of the wetland system. The results indicated that DI, HI, and total number species of protozoa could be used as biological indicators indicating the improvement of water quality.

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