Utilization of water chestnut for reclamation of water environment and control of cyanobacterial blooms

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2014 Feb;21(3):2249-2255. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-2102-2. Epub 2013 Sep 8.


Overgrowth of water chestnut (Trapa spp.) is a regional problem throughout Asia and North America because of waterway blockage and water fouling upon decomposition. In the present study, we investigated the potential of water chestnut to control cyanobacterial blooms, via a high content of phenolic compounds. In addition, we assessed the impact of biomass harvesting and crude extract application on nutrient balance. We showed that the floating parts of water chestnut contained high concentrations of total phenolics (89.2 mg g(-1) dry weight) and exhibited strong antioxidant activity (1.31 mmol g(-1) dry weight). Methanol-extracted phenolics inhibited growth of Microcystis aeruginosa; the half maximal effective concentration (EC50) of the extracted phenolics was 5.8 mg L(-1), which was obtained from only 103 mg L(-1) of dry biomass (the floating and submerged parts). However, the crude extracts also added important quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (1.49, 1.05, and 16.3 mg g(-1), respectively; extracted dry biomass weight basis); therefore, in practice, nutrient removal before and/or after the extraction is essential. On the other hand, biomass harvesting enables recovery of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from the water environment (23.1, 2.9, and 18.7 mg g(-1), respectively; dry biomass weight basis). Our findings indicate that water chestnut contains high concentrations of phenolics and exhibits strong antioxidant activity. Utilization of these resources, including nutrients, will contribute to reclamation of the water environment, and also to disposal of wet biomass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Cyanobacteria / drug effects
  • Cyanobacteria / growth & development*
  • Eleocharis / physiology*
  • Eutrophication / drug effects
  • Fresh Water / microbiology
  • Introduced Species
  • Microcystis / drug effects
  • Microcystis / growth & development*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • North America
  • Phenols / toxicity
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Plant Extracts / toxicity


  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen