Toxicity of Boron to the Duckweed, Spirodella Polyrrhiza

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Boron is an essential nutrient for plants and the potential exists for efficient removal of this element by wetland treatment systems due to accumulation by plants. To evaluate the efficacy of using Spirodella polyrrhiza to treat boron-contaminated wastewater or to be a suitable species for removing other nutrients from boron-containing wastewater the toxicity of this micronutrient was determined using standard methods. Frond production is apparently a more sensitive endpoint than either growth rate or the presence of abnormal fronds. Frond production in S. polyrrhiza was significantly reduced at 3.55 mg B/l. Significant reductions in growth rate and the percentage of abnormal (chlorotic, necrotic, and dead) fronds were observed at 18.9 and 22.4 mg B/l, respectively. The EC50 for frond production, frond growth rate, and abnormal fronds were 14.3, 11.7, and 17.7 mg B/l, respectively. S. polyrrhiza did not remove significant amounts of boron from the treatment solutions under the conditions and concentrations existing in this study. The inability of S. polyrrhiza to remove even small amounts of boron from the test solutions indicates this species is not suitable for treating boron-containing wastewater, even those with low boron concentrations.