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Macrophytes as Biomonitors of Polychlorinated Biphenyls

Waste Water Treatment

  1. Karina S.B. Miglioranza1,2,
  2. Mirta L. Menone1,2,
  3. Julia E. Aizpún De Moreno3,
  4. Víctor J. Moreno3

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.ww123

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Miglioranza, K. S., Menone, M. L., Aizpún De Moreno, J. E. and Moreno, V. J. 2005. Macrophytes as Biomonitors of Polychlorinated Biphenyls. Water Encyclopedia. 1:714–718.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Mar del Plata, Argentina

  2. 2

    Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Buenos Aires, Argentina

  3. 3

    Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata, Mar del Plata, Argentina

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


Biomonitoring is the use of organisms in situ to identify and quantify toxicants in an environment. This technique takes advantage of the ability of organisms to accumulate contaminants in their tissues through bioaccumulation and bioconcentration. In general, three historical stages exist in the biomonitoring with plants, based on the use of different parameters: (a) various physiological, morphological, and community parameters; (b) environmental concentrations of pollutants in plant tissues; and (c) early warning systems or biomarkers (histological, biochemical, or genetic).

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are one of the more ubiquitous and toxic organic pollutants. PCBs are very hydrophobic contaminants and preferentially adsorb onto sediment particles. Depending on their morphology, aquatic macrophytes grow at the interface of distinct environments, such as water, sediment, and air. Despite not many studies being conducted using aquatic macrophytes for biomonitoring PCBs in freshwater ecosystem—as evidenced by a lack of literature reports—research under field conditions have demonstrated that rooted macrophytes play a crucial role in the removal of PCBs from the environment, not only accumulating but transforming them. For this reason, phytoremediation has been proposed as an alternative or complementary technique to treat sediment polluted by PCBs, but still needs much basic research.


  • polychlorinated biphenyls;
  • macrophytes;
  • biomonitoring;
  • biomonitor