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Debosmita Kundu, Dymphna Joyce John*, Teresa Adhikari*, Purnam Ghosh, Sharanya Sarkar and Arup Kumar Mitra


The phytorid system of wastewater management has gained a lot of importance in recent times. The system involves the construction of a wetland based on specific plants such as Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpurem), Cattalis (Typha spp.), Reeds (Phragmites spp.), Canna spp. and Yellow flag iris (Iris pseudocorus). The phytorid system basically consists of three zones. The inlet zone composed of crushed bricks and stones of different sizes followed by treatment zone that contains the same media as the inlet zone along with the concerned plant species. The final zone being the outlet zone, discharges the treated effluent which can be used for various purposes. The plant of interest is Canna indica, belonging to the family Cannaceae. In recent times it is being extensively used as an important component of the phytorid system. For this particular study, a sample of infected Canna plant was collected from CSIR/NEERI unit, University of Mumbai, and further tests were carried out to comprehend its role in the phytorid system. A particular fungus was isolated from the infected leaves of the plant and was later characterized to be Alternaria spp. on the basis of spore structure. Conventionally, this fungus is considered to be a leaf pathogen causing early blight in potato and tomato plants but it is not a major pathogen in Canna indica. An experiment was designed to determine the ability of the plant to filter waste and the chosen pollutant was lead. The LD50 value of lead was determined for the fungus of interest as 40 ppm. The spore assay carried out with two fungicides-Bavistin (Carbendazim) and Blitox (dicopper dichloride trihydroxide), against the fungus, established Bavistin as a more effective fungicide against Alternaria spp. Following this the bioassay was set up to study the effect of the fungal infection on the metal uptake capacity of the plant. The assay consisted of four samples including two controls (with and without plant of interest) and two infected plant samples with the fungus of interest where one sample had been treated with the effective fungicide Bavistin. The quantity of lead absorbed for each sample was measured using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy, where the infected plant showed 13.9% increase in its lead uptake capacity in comparison to the plant control, indicating the possibility that the fungus when infested in the rhizosphere, enhanced the metal uptake capacity of Canna indica. Therefore Canna indica with Alternaria spp. In the rhizosphere can be used to enhance the effectiveness of the phytorid system and wastewater treatment plants.

Keywords: Water pollution, wastewater treatment, phytorid technology, Canna indica, Alternaria spp.Bioremediation.

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