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Concept: Aquatic plants


The cleanup of accidental oil spills in water is an enormous challenge; conventional oil sorbents absorb large amounts of water in addition to oil and other cleanup methods can cause secondary pollution. In contrast, fresh leaves of the aquatic ferns Salvinia are superhydrophobic and superoleophilic, and can selectively absorb oil while repelling water. These selective wetting properties are optimal for natural oil absorbent applications and bioinspired oil sorbent materials. In this paper we quantify the oil absorption capacity of four Salvinia species with different surface structures, water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes) and Lotus leaves (Nelumbo nucifera), and compare their absorption capacity to artificial oil sorbents. Interestingly, the oil absorption capacities of Salvinia molesta and Pistia stratiotes leaves are comparable to artificial oil sorbents. Therefore, these pantropical invasive plants, often considered pests, qualify as environmentally friendly materials for oil spill cleanup. Furthermore, we investigated the influence of oil density and viscosity on the oil absorption, and examine how the presence and morphology of trichomes affect the amount of oil absorbed by their surfaces. Specifically, the influence of hair length and shape is analyzed by comparing different hair types ranging from single trichomes of Salvinia cucullata to complex eggbeater-shaped trichomes of Salvinia molesta to establish a basis for improving artificial bioinspired oil absorbents.

Concepts: Petroleum, Liquid, Absorption, Fern, Digestion, Aquatic plants, Oil spill, Trichome


This study reports data on arsenic speciation in two green algae species (Cladophora sp. and Chara sp.) and in five aquatic plants (Azolla sp., Myriophyllum aquaticum, Phylloscirpus cf. desserticola, Potamogeton pectinatus, Ruppia filifolia and Zannichellia palustris) from the Loa River Basin in the Atacama Desert (northern Chile). Arsenic content was measured by Mass spectrometry coupled with Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP-MS), after acidic digestion. Liquid chromatography coupled to ICP-MS was used for arsenic speciation, using both anionic and cationic chromatographic exchange systems. Inorganic arsenic compounds were the main arsenic species measured in all samples. The main arsenic species in the extracts of freshwater algae and plants were arsenite and arsenate, whereas glycerol-arsenosugar (gly-sug), dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) and methylarsonic acid (MA) were present only as minor constituents. Of the samples studied, algae species accumulated more arsenic than aquatic plants. Total arsenic content ranged from 182 to 11100 and from 20 to 248mgAskg(-1) (d.w.) in algae and freshwater plants, respectively. In comparison with As concentration in water samples, there was hyper-accumulation (>0.1% d.w.) in Cladophora sp.

Concepts: Algae, Water, Analytical chemistry, Chile, Aquatic plants, Arsenic, Atacama Desert, Desert


Invasive aquatic plants from Lake Fúquene (Cundinamarca, Colombia), water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes C. Mart.) and Brazilian elodea (Egeria densa Planch.) have been removed mechanically from the lake and can be used for edible mushrooms production. The growth of the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) on these aquatic macrophytes was investigated in order to evaluate the possible use of fruiting bodies and spent biomass in food production for human and animal nutrition, respectively. Treatments included: water hyacinth, Brazilian elodea, sawdust, rice hulls and their combinations, inoculated with P. ostreatus at 3 %. Water hyacinth mixed with sawdust stimulated significantly fruiting bodies production (P = 3.3 × 10(-7)) with 71 % biological efficacy, followed by water hyacinth with rice husk (55 %) and elodea with rice husk (48 %), all of these have protein contents between 26 and 47 %. Loss of lignin (0.9-21.6 %), cellulose (3.7-58.3 %) and hemicellulose (1.9-53.8 %) and increment in vitro digestibility (16.7-139.3 %) and reducing sugars (73.4-838.4 %) were observed in most treatments. Treatments spent biomass presented Relative Forage Values (RFV) from 46.1 to 232.4 %. The results demonstrated the fungus degrading ability and its potential use in aquatic macrophytes conversion biomass into digestible ruminant feed as added value to the fruiting bodies production for human nutrition.

Concepts: Nutrition, Cellulose, Aquatic plants, Mushroom, Aquatic plant, Edible mushroom, Eichhornia crassipes, Water hyacinth


The early diversification of angiosperms in diverse ecological niches is poorly understood. Some have proposed an origin in a darkened forest habitat and others an open aquatic or near aquatic habitat. The research presented here centers on Montsechia vidalii, first recovered from lithographic limestone deposits in the Pyrenees of Spain more than 100 y ago. This fossil material has been poorly understood and misinterpreted in the past. Now, based upon the study of more than 1,000 carefully prepared specimens, a detailed analysis of Montsechia is presented. The morphology and anatomy of the plant, including aspects of its reproduction, suggest that Montsechia is sister to Ceratophyllum (whenever cladistic analyses are made with or without a backbone). Montsechia was an aquatic angiosperm living and reproducing below the surface of the water, similar to Ceratophyllum. Montsechia is Barremian in age, raising questions about the very early divergence of the Ceratophyllum clade compared with its position as sister to eudicots in many cladistic analyses. Lower Cretaceous aquatic angiosperms, such as Archaefructus and Montsechia, open the possibility that aquatic plants were locally common at a very early stage of angiosperm evolution and that aquatic habitats may have played a major role in the diversification of some early angiosperm lineages.

Concepts: Plant, Water, Cladistics, Flowering plant, Aquatic plants, Ceratophyllum, Eudicots, Archaefructus


The Japanese cedar pollen allergen (Cry j1) and the mountain cedar pollen allergen (Jun a1) are glycosylated with plant complex type N-glycans bearing Lewis a epitope(s) (Galβ1-3[Fucα1-4]GlcNAc-). The biological significance of Lewis a type plant N-glycans and their effects on the human immune system remain to be elucidated. Since a substantial amount of such plant specific N-glycans are required to evaluate immunological activity, we have searched for good plant-glycan sources to characterize Lewis a epitope-containing plant N-glycans. In this study, we have found that three water plants, Elodea nuttallii, Egeria densa, and Ceratophyllum demersum, produce glycoproteins bearing Lewis a units. Structural analysis of the N-glycans revealed that almost all glycoproteins expressed in these three water plants predominantly carry plant complex type N-glycans including the Lewis a type, suggesting that these water plants are good sources for preparation of Lewis a type plant N-glycans in substantial amounts.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Asthma, Species, Immunology, Flowering plant, Pinophyta, Aquatic plants


Understanding and managing the biological invasion threats posed by aquatic plants under current and future climates is a growing challenge for biosecurity and land management agencies worldwide. Eichhornia crassipes is one of the world’s worst aquatic weeds. Presently, it threatens aquatic ecosystems, and hinders the management and delivery of freshwater services in both developed and developing parts of the world. A niche model was fitted using CLIMEX, to estimate the potential distribution of E. crassipes under historical and future climate scenarios. Under two future greenhouse gas emission scenarios for 2080 simulated with three Global Climate Models, the area with a favourable temperature regime appears set to shift polewards. The greatest potential for future range expansion lies in Europe. Elsewhere in the northern hemisphere temperature gradients are too steep for significant geographical range expansion under the climate scenarios explored here. In the Southern Hemisphere, the southern range boundary for E. crassipes is set to expand southwards in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand; under current climate conditions it is already able to invade the southern limits of Africa. The opportunity exists to prevent its spread into the islands of Tasmania in Australia and the South Island of New Zealand, both of which depend upon hydroelectric facilities that would be threatened by the presence of E. crassipes. In Europe, efforts to slow or stop the spread of E. crassipes will face the challenge of limited internal biosecurity capacity. The modelling technique demonstrated here is the first application of niche modelling for an aquatic weed under historical and projected future climates. It provides biosecurity agencies with a spatial tool to foresee and manage the emerging invasion threats in a manner that can be included in the international standard for pest risk assessments. It should also support more detailed local and regional management.

Concepts: Water, Climate, Ecosystem, Climate change, Aquatic plants, Aquatic plant, Northern Hemisphere, Water hyacinth


The environmental DNA (eDNA) method has increasingly been recognized as a powerful tool for monitoring aquatic animal species; however, its application for monitoring aquatic plants is limited. To evaluate eDNA analysis for estimating the distribution of aquatic plants, we compared its estimated distributions with eDNA analysis, visual observation, and past distribution records for the submerged species Hydrilla verticillata. Moreover, we conducted aquarium experiments using H. verticillata and Egeria densa and analyzed the relationships between eDNA concentrations and plant biomass to investigate the potential for biomass estimation. The occurrences estimated by eDNA analysis closely corresponded to past distribution records, and eDNA detections were more frequent than visual observations, indicating that the method is potentially more sensitive. The results of the aquarium experiments showed a positive relationship between plant biomass and eDNA concentration; however, the relationship was not always significant. The eDNA concentration peaked within three days of the start of the experiment in most cases, suggesting that plants do not release constant amounts of DNA. These results showed that eDNA analysis can be used for distribution surveys, and has the potential to estimate the biomass of aquatic plants.

Concepts: Statistics, Species, Plant, Approximation, Estimation, Aquatic plants, Aquatic plant, Hydrilla


Spirodela polyrhiza is a species of the order Alismatales, which represent the basal lineage of monocots with more ancestral features than the Poales. Its complete sequence of the mitochondrial (mt) genome could provide clues for the understanding of the evolution of mt genomes in plant.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Organism, Species, Aquatic plants, Aquatic plant, Spirodela, Wolffia


Potential risk of endocrine disrupting compounds on non-target organisms has received extensive attentions in recent years. The present work aimed to investigate the behavior and effect of a synthetic steroid estrogen quinestrol in duckweed Spirodela polyrhiza L. Experimental results showed that quinestrol could be uptaken, accumulated, and biotransformed into 17 α-ethynylestradiol in S. polyrhiza L. The accumulation of quinestrol had a positive relation to the exposure concentration. The bioaccumulation rate was higher when the duckweed was exposed to quinestrol solutions at low concentrations than at high concentration. While the transformation of quinestrol showed no concentration-dependent manner. Quinestrol reduced the biomass and pigment content and increased superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and malondialdehyde contents in the duckweed. The results demonstrated that quinestrol could be accumulated and biotransformed in aquatic plant S. polyrhiza L. This work would provide supplemental data on the behavior of this steroid estrogen compound in aquatic system.

Concepts: Superoxide dismutase, Concentration, Endocrine disruptor, Aquatic plants, Aquatic plant, Spirodela, Wolffia, Lemnaoideae


This study was conducted to assess the pollutant uptake capability of water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes L.) in terms of bioaccumulation, enrichment, and translocation of heavy metals grown in sugar mill effluent. Results showed that the maximum fresh weight (328.48 ± 2.04 gm kg-1), total chlorophyll content (2.13 ± 2.03 mg g-1 fwt), and relative growth rate, RGR (11.89 gg-1 d-1) of P. stratiotes were observed at 75% concentration of the sugar mill effluent after 60 days of phytoremediation experiment. The bioaccumulation factor (BF) of different heavy metals was greater than 1 with 50% and 75% concentrations of sugar mill effluent and this indicated that P. stratiotes was hyperaccumulator or phytoremediator of these metals. The enrichment factor (EF < 2 for Cu, Fe, Cr, Pb, Zn, and Mn) and (EF > 2 for Cd) indicated that P. stratiotes mineral enrichment deficient and it moderately enriched the different heavy metals. Moreover, translocation factor (TF) was less than 1 which indicated the low mobility of metals in different parts (root and leaves) of P. stratiotes after phytoremediation. Therefore, P. stratiotes can be used for phytotreatment of sugar mill effluent up to 50% to 75% concentrations and considered as hyperaccumulator aquatic plant for different heavy metals and other pollutants from the contaminated effluents.

Concepts: Iron, Water, Water pollution, Toxicology, Heavy metal music, Aquatic plants, Heavy metal, Pistia