Common reed (Phragmites australis) as a bioindicators in Aras River and its potential monitoring contaminants.
Aquatic macrophytes have spread in different ecosystems of salt to fresh water and wetlands in particular having high potential heavy metals absorption . Rooted species have potential enough absorb heavy metals through roots and rhizomes because the latter provide an expanded area to trap articulate matter, absorb metal ions, and accumulate and sequester pollutants [21,20,5,9]. Aquatic macrophytes are also stationary and constantly exposed to contaminants such as metals .
Both biological such as species, generation, age and non-biological factors including pH, salinity, season, temperature, metal concentration effect on heavy metals absorption by plants. Heavy metals absorption by macrophytes would be affected by their concentration in water and sediments .
Having fibrous root systems with large contact areas in aquatic plants make them high heavy metals absorber of surrounding water .
Aquatic macrophytes have high potential heavy metals accumulation as far as tolerate high amount them in water so are suitable bio-indicators of heavy metals pollution. Common reed (Phragmites australis) as emergent aquatic macrophyte is one common species in aquatic ecosystems which can stable in severe environment of heavy metals [22,12]. Common reed (Phragmites australis) is used in constructed wetlands purifying municipal wastewater consisting of heavy metals [3,10,18]. It tolerates high amount Cu, Cd, Pb and Zn [8,17,22]. Common reed (Phragmites australis) is a rhizomatous plant of Poaceae family having wide spread . Because of its potential of high amount heavy metals absorption and also wide spread, however, we studied Cu absorption by it.
Considering copper mine as main industrial unit of the area, Cu concentration in water and in sediments and Common reed roots have examined. Absorption high amount heavy metals by Common reed roots through cortex parenchyma with large intercellular air spaces  are the criteria choosing this species.
The study area is located in northwest of Iran in East Azarbaijan Province between the borders of Iran and Armenia. From hydrological point of view, the study area comprises of Aras River basin originating from Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. This area lies between latitudes 38[degrees]-15'and 39[degrees]-25'N, and longitudes 44[degrees]-00' and 46[degrees]-20' E. Beginning point of the study area is situated at a distance of 60 away from Jolfa. Figure 1 illustrates geographical area of the study area.
Material and Methods
Water samples have been collected from 11 stations along the River. For the selection of the stations, hydrological characteristics of the study area as well as its major urban, industrial, and agricultural activities have been considered. Figure 3 demonstrates a schematic view of the River course and water and sediment sampling points. Considering figure 3, sediment samplings have been performed in stations S2, S4, S6, and S11. Name and specifications of sampling stations and reasons for their selection are presented in table 1. Samplings have been performed uniformly during the four seasons of Fall, Summer, Winter, and Spring. In the labrotory, HN[O.sub.3] is added to water and sediment samples in order to decrease PH to less than 2 and then analysis of heavy metals is done using atomic absorption method, according to Standard method 3500. Considering the situation of copper mines (Figure 2) and the index plant habitat, one station before and one after the entry point of industrial sewage coming from Armenia copper mines have been selected for sampling purposes. Plant monitoring in view of plant's vegetative period is done in spring. Five samples are collected from each station. The extract obtained by dry ash method is directed towards the flame (mixture of air and acetylene gas) by nebulizer and is transformed into gas. The considered element turns into atom and the ray diffused by the lamp absorbs the hallow cathode. Amount of absorption is then measured by atomic device. Statistical analysis is performed for all samples of water, sediment and the root of emergent aquatic Macrophyte Phragmites australis based on variance analysis and t tests.
Result and Discussion
Results of Cu concentration in water, sediment, and the root of emergent aquatic Macrophyte Phragmites australis is presented in figures 4 to 6. Indices and standards applied in the present study include WHO drinking standard (WHO, 2008), EPA water quality standard (EPA, 1986), river water quality index , fresh water aquatic life standard (Cooper, 2007), water quality standard, and soil and sediment in Australia . Table1 presents a comparison of the average of the measured parameters with the relevant standards. Study of results in view of the above said diagrams reveals that concentration of Cu increases in station 3 (main drainage of copper mine). Reason for the increase in the concentration in the last station is because of the entry of some secondary branches coming from Armenia side of border into Aras River.
Cu is above Aquatic life standards and Krenkel&novotny standard (class A1) (p > 0.05)Results of sediment quality tests are compared and analyzed in view of water, soil, and sediment standard of Australia . At 95% confidence level for t-test, examining the amount of copper in sediments reveals that in station no.4 (after the entry of Karchivan branch) and station no.11 (after the entry of pollution branches from Armenia) amount of Cu is above the quality standard limits in Australia. With regard to Mo, although there is no standard for comparison, however changes in this parameter are consistent with changes in copper. Hence, it can be concluded that along with the increase in the PH of river water through adding carbonate, (in Karchivan branch), Cu and Mo are settled in river water and enter sediment. Investigation of Aras river riparian shows main changes in some zones due to pollutants spilling as below:
-Biodiversity decrease within vegetative units and strips
-Decrease width of strip vegetation
-Environment condition changes into resistant species development
-Vegetation condition changes into homogeneity instead of heterogeneity
-Strips stability decrease
-Strips lose their natural growing
-Strips vegetation vary their growing and flowering rhythm
-Decrease inter-node intervals considerably in comparison with natural plants
Vegetation of Aras river is comprised of Common reed, Tamarisk, Populus, Sedge distribute from terrestrial to riparian in suitable parts but Tamarisk and common reed is dominated in flooded, full of Potassium & Magnesium and having heavy metals respectively.
Studies done by  revealed Common reed (Phragmites australis) root able absorb high amount heavy metals through cortex parenchyma with large intercellular air spaces. Common reed (Phragmites australis) root is the best bio-monitor according to study by so that its potential of high rate heavy metal accumulation makes it suitable in phyto-remediation. Under organs act such as a filter to heavy metals . Studies have been shown Common reeds strips are dominant riparian community after spilling of Agarak wastewater in which absorb in high amount by them. Therefore, Common reed is considered as dominant and resistant species to copper by done measurements.
Heavy metals accessibility is affected by various environmental conditions, pH in particular. There is an inverse relationship of heavy metals and pH in water and soil. Aquatic plants and sediments indicate their surrounding heavy metals . Study done by Welsh and Denny  revealed copper absorption by roots. Copper is a necessary element of plants and accumulate in roots . Study done by  indicated roots and filters as far as Cu concentration has decreased 70% but roots damage in high amount .
Study of the results regarding the concentration of Cu in the root of emergent Macrophyte Phragmites australis reveals that concentration of Cu in the second station has experienced significant increase comparing to that of the first station. Study of the results involving water, plant, and sediment indicates that after the entry of some secondary rivers into Aras river (especially Karchivan River), the pollution load of the River increased. Very high concentrations of pollutants mentioned earlier, makes it impossible for any kind of organisms to live in the River and also does not allow the use of water for either drinking or agricultural purposes in neither the study area nor the downstream. Furthermore, it naturally affects ground waters.
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Secondary impacts of vegetation destruction resulted from Cu sewage and changing of cover features are important. Falling of carrying capacity, habitat destroying of threatened terrestrial and riparian species is critical phenomenon in which result irrecoverable damage. Tamarisk, Populus and Willow communities together other species have formed complex arrangement. Every threat of mentioned communities affect riparian and surrounding environment. Flora destruction impacts on some valuable fauna of pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), black partridge (Francolinus francolinus) severely both directly and indirectly. In past, extended common reed (Phragmites australis) strips supported huge pig (Sus scrofa) populations but Cu accumulation has decreased its density.
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[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]
[FIGURE 7 OMITTED]
[TABLE 1 OMITTED]
Conclusion and Summary:
Investigation of heavy metal densities in water, plant bodies and sediment have shown pollutant spill in Armenia side to Aras river.
Aras is one edge river and its protection by Iran is a practical approach but it may not have sufficient effectiveness. Due to its important of agricultural and providing food source partly and also avoiding the Caspian Sea pollution, however, some mitigation measures are required in cooperation with Armenia.
Common reed (Phragmites australis) is considered heavy metals bio-indicator with reference to this study so that it could be effective toward exclusion of throughout pollutants expansion. Its root, however, have potential enough absorption of heavy metals so could be suitable river pollution monitoring.
Investigation of Cu concentration shows its flow from Agarak to Aras river. Cu concentration, however, is more in sediment and common reed (Phragmites australis) than water. River pollution has created bad condition from Agarak to Ghrachilar in physical, chemical and biological cause unsuitable impact on aquatic and riparian organism. Secondary effects are also important due to Cu sewage and riparian plants deformation. Carrying capacity depression, removing terrestrial and riparian species are plant degradation consequences. Tamarisk, Populus and willow communities arrange beside the river along with some fauna such as pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), Francolin (Francolinus francolinus), pigs (Sus scrofa) which could be affected through plant degradation directly or indirectly.
Pollutant materials have created unsuitable quality condition which ceases fish movement upstream and also loss aquatic stocks.In the other hand, some other Armenia factories run their sewages into Aras river including Megri, Shvanidzor, Karchevan and Neuvadi. Instead, tributaries of Iran's side have suitable condition as a result of locating in protected area. Municipal and agricultural wastewater, however, are others pollutant reach into surface and ground waters increase BOD5,NO3-,NH4+,PO43- and so on. However, plants need low amount Cu concentration and increasing threshold level cause bioaccumulation process and change into toxic form and finally access human through food chain. According to some mentioned threats and also Aras river importance agriculturally and providing some part food supplying and lowering the Caspian Sea pollution it's monitoring is inevitable.
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Parisa Taban, Esmail Kahrom, Mahmood Karami: Common Reed (Phragmites australis) as a Bioindicators in Aras River and its potential monitoring contaminants
(1) Parisa Taban, (2) Esmail Kahrom, (3) Mahmood Karami
(1) M.Sc graduated of Environmental Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran.
(2) Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran
(3) University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.
Parisa Taban, M.Sc graduated of Environmental Sciences and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran.
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|Title Annotation:||Original Article|
|Author:||Taban, Parisa; Kahrom, Esmail; Karami, Mahmood|
|Publication:||Advances in Environmental Biology|
|Date:||Nov 1, 2012|
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