Distribution of heavy metals in vegetative biofiltration columns

Rezaul Chowdhury, Jameelu Abaya, Taoufik Ksiksi, Mohamed Mohamed, Simon Beecham, Ataur Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This study investigated the distribution of heavy metals in vegetative biofiltration columns irrigated by synthetic greywater. Twelve species of ornamental plants (three plants from each species) were planted in the same designed 36 biofiltration columns. Samples of effluent water, soils, roots, shoots and leaves were collected and analyzed. It was observed that before irrigation, the distribution of copper was in soils (0%), roots (42%), leaves (37%) and shoots (21%). After irrigation, this distribution changed to soils (29%), roots (39%), leaves (17%) and shoots (15%). It was found that lead concentrations decreased in soils from (84% to 7%), but increased in plants (from 16% to 93%) following irrigation with greywater. In contrast, the distribution of zinc changed from leaves (46%), roots (22%) and soils (16%) before irrigation to 89% in leaves and soils and 11% in shoots following irrigation. The chromium distribution before and after irrigation was found to be almost unchanged in soils, shoots and effluent water, but it increased in roots (19.4% to 26.9%) and decreased in leaves (11.4% to 5.8%). The outcomes of this study demonstrated that heavy metals mostly accumulate in soils and roots, and it is necessary to investigate their potential detrimental effects on the receiving environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number747
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2020


  • Biofiltration
  • Greywater
  • Heavy metals
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Biochemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology


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