Study on nitrogen removal from rice paddy field drainage by interaction of plant species and hydraulic conditions in eco-ditches

  • Huanhao Han
  • Yuanlai Cui
  • Rong Gao
  • Ying Huang
  • Yufeng Luo
  • Shizhou Shen
Research Article


Eco-ditches (ecological ditches) not only drain water from rice paddies, but also facilitate the removal of nitrogen (N). We established an experiment with both static and flowing water in 2017 to observe N removal from rice paddy drainage by eco-ditches containing three different types of monoculture vegetation: Zizania aquatica, Canna indica L., and Pontederia cordata. Results showed that ammonia volatilization and plant uptake contributed little to N removal. Harvest of Z. aquatica from the eco-ditch during the late growing season had an appreciable effect on N removal. However, harvest of C. indica L. and P. cordata had negligible effects. During static test, the concentration of total N (TN) and ammonium N (NH4+-N) and the pH all decreased from the surface to the bottom of water. The concentration of nitrate N (NO3-N) did not exhibit stratification. In a flowing water experiment, ditches with Z. aquatica, C. indica L., and P. cordata had the following average removal rates: TN 15.8%, 11.6%, and 27.9%; NO3-N 4.2%, 8.4%, and 17.8%; NH4+-N 22.8%, 16.4%, and 37.5%, respectively. The removal rates of TN and NH4+-N decreased with the increase of water level, while that of NO3-N increased significantly. Nitrogen removal rates decreased with the increase of influent TN concentration or flow rate. Nitrogen removal rate of P. cordata ditch was highly dependent on the influent TN concentration, but the flow rate was not as important due to the great drag caused by its large density. While the contrary was observed in the C. indica L. ditch. For Z. aquatica ditch, both the flow rate and the TN concentration had a strong negative correlation with the N removal rate.


Ecological ditch Non-point source pollution Rice paddy Nitrogen removal efficiency Ammonia volatilization Erhai Lake irrigation zone 



This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of China (51779181) and Yunnan Provincial Science and Technology Department (2015BB019).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Huanhao Han
    • 1
  • Yuanlai Cui
    • 1
  • Rong Gao
    • 1
  • Ying Huang
    • 2
  • Yufeng Luo
    • 1
  • Shizhou Shen
    • 3
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering ScienceWuhan UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Yunnan Institute of Water Conservancy and Hydropower ScienceKunmingChina
  3. 3.Dali Agricultural Comprehensive Experimental Station, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural AffairsInstitute of Environmental ProtectionDaliChina

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