Walsh, Éamonn, Coughlan, Neil E., O’Brien, Seán, Jansen, Marcel A. K. and Kuehnhold, Holger (2021) Density Dependence Influences the Efficacy of Wastewater Remediation by Lemna minor. Plants, 10 (7). p. 1366. DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071366.

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As part of a circular economy (CE) approach to food production systems, Lemnaceae, i.e., duckweed species, can be used to remediate wastewater due to rapid nutrient assimilation and tolerance of non-optimal growing conditions. Further, given rapid growth rates and high protein content, duckweed species are a valuable biomass. An important consideration for duckweed-mediated remediation is the density at which the plants grow on the surface of the wastewater, i.e., how much of the surface of the medium they cover. Higher duckweed density is known to have a negative effect on duckweed growth, which has implications for the development of duckweed-based remediation systems. In the present study, the effects of density (10-80% plant surface coverage) on Lemna minor growth, chlorophyll fluorescence and nutrient remediation of synthetic dairy processing wastewater were assessed in stationary (100 mL) and re-circulating non-axenic (11.7 L) remediation systems. Overall, L. minor growth, and TN and TP removal rates decreased as density increased. However, in the stationary system, absolute TN and TP removal were greater at higher densities (50-80% coverage). The exact cause of density related growth reduction in duckweed is unclear, especially at densities well below 100% surface coverage. A further experiment comparing duckweed grown at 'low' and 'high' density conditions with the same biomass and media volume conditions, showed that photosynthetic yield, Y(II), is reduced at high density despite the same nutrient availability at both densities, and arguably similar shading. The results demonstrate a negative effect of high density on duckweed growth and nutrient uptake, and point towards signals from neighbouring duckweed colonies as the possible cause.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA1
Research affiliation: Ecology > Experimental Aquaculture
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10071366
ISSN: 2223-7747
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2022 15:35
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:31
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/4803

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