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Environ Pollut. 2014 Jan;184:620-39. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Sep 27.

Removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in aquatic plant-based systems: a review.

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Advanced Environmental Biotechnology Centre, Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute, Nanyang Technological University, 1 Cleantech Loop, #06-10, Singapore 637141, Singapore. Electronic address:


Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in the aquatic environment are regarded as emerging contaminants and have attracted increasing concern. The use of aquatic plant-based systems such as constructed wetlands (CWs) for treatment of conventional pollutants has been well documented. However, available research studies on aquatic plant-based systems for PPCP removal are still limited. The removal of PPCPs in CWs often involves a diverse and complex set of physical, chemical and biological processes, which can be affected by the design and operational parameters selected for treatment. This review summarizes the PPCP removal performance in different aquatic plant-based systems. We also review the recent progress made towards a better understanding of the various mechanisms and pathways of PPCP attenuation during such phytoremediation. Additionally, the effect of key CW design characteristics and their interaction with the physico-chemical parameters that may influence the removal of PPCPs in functioning aquatic plant-based systems is discussed.


Constructed wetlands; PPCPs; Pharmaceuticals; Removal

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