The removal of the non-ionic surfactant Triton X-100, dosed at 30 and 300 mg/L in a pilot-scale subsurface horizontal flow reed bed, and the aerobic heterotrophic cultivable community associated with the roots and with the substrate gravel in both absence and presence of Triton X-100
were investigated. t-Octylphenol (OP) and its mono-, di- and tri-ethoxyl derivatives, among others, were found in the outlet. A mass balance allowed us to calculate that approximately 40% of the Triton X-100 metabolites OP and octylphenol polyethoxylate derivatives flowed out of the
reed bed during the dosage and postdosage experiments. More aerobic heterotrophic microorganisms adhered to the roots than to the gravel. The appearance of new strains (Aeromonas, Flavobacterium, and Aquaspirillum) and the increased presence of others (Pseudomonas) during the dosage of Triton
may be linked to the capacity of these bacteria to adapt to the presence of the surfactant or to use it as a nourishment.
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