In this study, the chromium removal capability and photosynthetic capacity response of plants were investigated in vertical flow wetland microcosms (VFWM) treated with Cr(VI) bearing domestic sewage. Two plants, Cyperus alternifolius (C. alternifolius) and Coix lacryma-jobi L. (C. lacryma-jobi L.) grown in the VFWM enhanced the purification of Cr(VI) enriched domestic sewage. Cr concentration in the effluent fell below detection limit (<0.03 mg L−1), except for the C. alternifolius wetland treated with 40 mg L−1 Cr(VI). The biomasses of both plants species were increased at 10 and 20 mg L−1 Cr(VI) exposure but inhibited at 40 mg L−1 Cr(VI). The photosynthetic capacities of both plants were not affected at 10–40 mg L−1 Cr(VI) exposure during the days 20–60. However, they were inhibited significantly (P < 0.05) at 40 mg L−1 Cr(VI) exposure during days 80–100. These results demonstrated that a VFWM with C. alternifolius and/or C. lacryma-jobi L. was capable of maintaining its efficiency and recovering its vegetation. VFWM with C. alternifolius and/or C. lacryma-jobi L. was promising for purifying wastewater which contains low to medium concentrations of Cr(VI) (<20 mg L−1).

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