Sewanee Wetlands | Posters in Environmental Health

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Sewanee Wetlands | Posters in Environmental Health

Anthony Wright (first year MS Environmental Health Science student) presented a poster to the Environmental Health Science Department’s Graduate Symposium on March 9, 2018.  The title of his poster is “Efficiency of Pharmaceutical Removal by the Sewanee Wetlands”.  The full author list is Anthony Wright, W. Matthew Henderson, and Marsha C. Black.

 

Devon Boullion (2018 CURO fellow, graduating senior in BS Environmental Health) presented a poster to the 2018 CURO Symposium on April 9, 2018, entitled “Potential for Phytoremediation by Emergent and Floating Plant Species in the Suwanee Wetlands”.  The full author list is Devon Boullion, Donovan Godbee, W. Matthew Henderson, Anthony Wright, and Marsha C. Black.

The Sewanee Wetland was constructed to provide tertiary treatment of municipal wastewater from mostly residential sources and has removed from 0-85% of individual pharmaceutical compounds as they move throughout the three wetland basins in pilot studies. However, information on where these contaminants are sequestered after their removal is still largely uncharacterized. Phytoremediation of emerging contaminants via wetlands is a growing area of interest because most pharmaceuticals are somewhat water- soluble and therefore uptake via plant roots is likely to occur. In the proposed research, we will extract and analyze pharmaceutical accumulation in the roots, stems and leaves of two emergent plant species from the wetlands: soft-stem bulrush (Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani) and pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) and in duckweed (Lemnaspp.), harvested from the water surface. Compounds such as caffeine and naproxen, which have been found at high concentrations in the Sewanee Wetlands, are known to have high uptake efficiencies by plants. By measuring plant uptake of the dominant pharmaceuticals and comparing interspecies contaminant concentration to biomass ratios, we can investigate correlations between the uptake rates of different pharmaceutical contaminants, variations in the vascular systems and exposure pathways in the three plant species. While all three plant species are predicted to accumulate pharmaceuticals, we predict that the highest concentrations of the pharmaceuticals and their metabolites will be found in the root tissues of the emergent species (bulrush and pickerelweed) compared to the stem tissues.