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Fate of metallic engineered nanomaterials in constructed wetlands: prospection and future research perspectives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207–222
Number of pages16
JournalReviews in Environmental Science and Bio-Technology
Issue number2
Early online date5 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Metallic engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) undergo various transformations in the environment which affect their fate, toxicity and bioavailability. Although constructed wetlands (CWs) are applied as treatment systems for waste streams potentially containing metallic ENMs, little is known about the fate and effects of ENMs in CWs. Hence, literature data from related fields such as activated sludge wastewater treatment and natural wetlands is used to predict the fate and effects of ENMs in CWs and to analyze the risk of nanomaterials being released from CWs into surface waters. The ENMs are likely to reach the CW (partly) transformed and the transformations will continue in the CW. The main transformation processes depend on the type of ENM and the ambient environmental conditions in the CW. In general, ENMs are expected to undergo sorption onto (suspended) organic matter and plant roots. Although the risk of ENMs being released at high concentrations from CWs is estimated low, caution is warranted because of the estimated rise in the production of these materials. As discharge of (transformed) ENMs from CWs during normal operation is predicted to be low, future research should rather focus on the effects of system malfunctions (e.g. short-circuiting). Efficient retention in the CW and increasing production volumes in the future entail increasing concentrations within the CW substrate and further research needs to address possible adverse effects caused.


  • Discharge, Effluent, Nanoparticle, Transformation, TSS, Wastewater

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland