A hydroponic system was used to evaluate atrazine (ATZ) removal and uptake by three emergent hydrophytes, Iris pseudacorus, Lythrum salicaria and Acorus calamus, determining their potential as phytoremediation agents for ATZ-contaminated water. After 20 days of exposure, the relative growth rate of plants in sterile conditions was less than in natural conditions. ATZ amount in a culture solution planted with emergent plants decreased significantly compared with an unplanted solution, and the removal rate of ATZ in natural conditions was greater than in sterile conditions (p < 0.05). The degradation contributions of I. pseudacorus, L. salicaria and A. calamus were 75.6, 65.5 and 61.8%, respectively. Those of the corresponding microbial population in the solution were 5.4, 11.4 and 17.4%, respectively. Emergent plants play a dominant role in reducing the ATZ level in the water body and could be used as phytoremediation agents.

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