Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 2249–2255 | Cite as

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

  • Satoshi Akao
  • Yoshihiko Hosoi
  • Taku Fujiwara
Research Article


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.


Aquatic plant Microcystis aeruginosa Nitrogen Phosphorus Phenolic compounds Potassium Trapa natans 



This work was supported by the Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST, and Tottori Prefecture. The authors would like to thank Dr. Mongi and Mr. Masukawa for assistance with ICP-AES analysis, and Ms. Nagamatsu and Mr. Ogawa for help with experiments.


  1. Akao S, Maeda K, Hosoi Y, Nagare H, Maeda M, Fujiwara T (2013) Cascade utilization of water chestnut: recovery of phenolics, phosphorus and sugars. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:5373–5378. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1547-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Akiyama M, Kunii H (1989) Allelopathic effects of aquatic plants on algae. Bull Water Plant Society, Japan 37:11–16 (in Japanese)Google Scholar
  3. APHA, AWWA, WEF (1998) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 20th edn. American Public Health Association/American Water Work Association/Water Environment Federation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  4. Benzie IFF, Strain JJ (1996) The ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP) as a measure of “antioxidant power”: the FRAP assay. Anal Biochem 239:70–76. doi: 10.1006/abio.1996.0292 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burks RL, Jeppesen E, Lodge DM (2000) Macrophyte and fish chemicals suppress Daphnia growth and alter life-history traits. Oikos 88:139–147. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.880116.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ciou JY, Wang CCR, Chen J, Chiang PY (2008) Total phenolics content and antioxidant activity of extracts from dried water caltrop (Trapa taiwanensis nakai) hulls. J Food Drug Anal 16:41–47. doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2009.08.016 Google Scholar
  7. Gross EM (2003) Allelopathy of aquatic autotrophs. Crit Rev Plant Sci 22:313–339. doi: 10.1080/713610859 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hatano T, Okonogi A, Yazaki K, Okuda T (1990) Trapanins A and B, oligomeric hydrolyzable tannins from Trapa japonica Flerov. Chem Pharm Bull 38:2707–2711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kunii H (1988) Seasonal growth and biomass of Trapa japonica Flerov in Ojaga-ike pond, Chiba, Japan. Ecol Res 3:305–318. doi: 10.1007/BF02348588 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Lee HS, Widmer BW (1996) Phenolic compounds. In: Nollet LML (ed) Handbook of food analysis. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 821–894Google Scholar
  11. Li FM, Hu HY (2005) Allelopathic effects of different macrophytes on the growth of Microcystis aeruginosa. Allelopathy J 15:145–152Google Scholar
  12. Lindén E, Lehtiniemi M (2005) The lethal and sublethal effects of the aquatic macrophyte Myriophyllum spicatum on Baltic littoral planktivores. Limnol Oceanogr 50:405–411. doi: 10.4319/lo.2005.50.2.0405 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mori A (2010) Germination and growth characteristics of water chestnut collected from Lake Koyama. 51st Tottori Pref Environ Sanit Res Center Report (in Japanese). Accessed 24 April 2013
  14. Nagare H, Fujiwara T, Inoue T, Akao S, Inoue K, Maeda M, Yamane S, Takaoka M, Oshita K, Sun X (2012) Nutrient recovery from biomass cultivated as catch crop for removing accumulated fertilizer in farm soil. Water Sci Technol 66:1110–1116. doi: 10.2166/wst.2012.291 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Nakai S, Hosomi M, Okada M, Murakami A (1996) Control of algal growth by macrophytes and macrophyte-extracted bioactive compounds. Water Sci Technol 34:227–235. doi: 10.1016/S0273-1223(96)00749-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Parekh J, Chanda S (2007) In vitro antimicrobial activity of Trapa natans L. fruit rind extracted in different solvents. Afr J Biotechnol 6:766–770Google Scholar
  17. Park YW (1996) Determination of moisture and ash contents of food. In: Nollet LML (ed) Handbook of food analysis. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 59–92Google Scholar
  18. Parr AJ, Waldron KW, Ng A, Parker ML (1996) The wall-bound phenolics of Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis). J Sci Food Agric 71:501–507. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0010(199608)71:4<501::AID-JSFA608>3.0.CO;2-L CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rababah TM, Hettiarachchy NS, Horax R (2004) Total phenolics and antioxidant activities of fenugreek, green tea, black tea, grape seed, ginger, rosemary, gotu kola, and ginkgo extracts, vitamin E, and tert-butylhydroquinone. J Agric Food Chem 52:5183–5186. doi: 10.1021/jf0502810 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rahman MM, Mosaddik MA, Wahed MII, Haque ME (2000) Antimicrobial activity and cytotoxicity of Trapa bispinosa. Fitoterapia 71:704–706. doi: 10.1016/S0367-326X(00)00226-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Saito K, Matsumoto M, Sekine T, Murakoshi I (1989) Inhibitory substances from Myriophyllum brasiliense on growth of blue-green algae. J Natural Products 52:1221–1226. doi: 10.1021/np50066a004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Schultz R, Dibble E (2012) Effects of invasive macrophytes on freshwater fish and macroinvertebrate communities: the role of invasive plant traits. Hydrobiologia 684:1–14. doi: 10.1007/s10750-011-0978-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Smolders AJP, Vergeer LHT, Van Der Velde G, Roelofs JGM (2000) Phenolic contents of submerged, emergent and floating leaves of aquatic and semi-aquatic macrophyte species: why do they differ? Oikos 91:307–310. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.910211.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Song MC, Yang HJ, Kim DK, Jeong TS, Kwon BM, Kim JP, Park SK, Baek NI (2008) Bioactive flavonoids from Trapa pseudoincisa. J Korean Soc Appl Biol Chem 51:334–337. doi: 10.3839/jksabc.2008.057 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Su KL, Abul-Haji Y, Stabe EJ (1973) Antimicrobial effects of aquatic plants from Minnesota. Lloydia 36:80–87Google Scholar
  26. Tuchiya T, Iwaki H (1984) Seasonal changes in photosynthesis and primary production of a floating-leaved plant, Trapa natans L., community in Lake Kasumigaura, Japan. Jap J Ecol 34:367–374Google Scholar
  27. Uddin MR, Min SK, Kim JD, Park SU, Pyon JY (2012) Sorgoleone, a sorghum root exudate: algicidal activity and acute toxicity to the ricefish Oryzias latipes. Aquat Bot 98:40–44. doi: 10.1016/j.aquabot.2011.12.008 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management of Social Systems and Civil Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringTottori UniversityTottoriJapan
  2. 2.Agriculture Unit, Natural Sciences Cluster, Research and Education FacultyKochi UniversityNankokuJapan

Personalised recommendations