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Biomethanation of invasive water hyacinth from eutrophic waters as a post weed management practice in the Dominican Republic: a developing country


Anaerobic digestion of water hyacinth (Pontederia crassipes Mart.) from eutrophic water bodies could be a sustainable post weed management practice to generate bioenergy. Comparative analyses of the water quality, physicochemical characteristics, and biomethanation kinetics of water hyacinth from two sites with different water types (brackish versus freshwater) in the Ozama river, Dominican Republic, were conducted. Also, the energy produced from the anaerobic digestion and that consumed in harvesting was estimated. The highest non-structural components in the form of protein (18.8 ± 1.9%) and extractives (26.4 ± 0.1%) were found in brackish water hyacinth, whereas that from freshwater had the highest amount of holocellulose (41.2 ± 2.8%). Indicators of plant productivity, i.e., chlorophyll b and bulk density, were more than 30% higher in brackish than in freshwater hyacinth. The methane production rate in the digestion of water hyacinth from brackish water (22.5 N. L/kg VS added· day) was twice that from freshwater (10.0 N. L/kg VSadded· day). The higher nutrient content in the brackish water could have influenced the superior performance of water hyacinth from that source compared with that from freshwater. Overall, the maximum methane potential of the Ozama river water hyacinth was 399.2 ± 32.2 N. L CH4/kg VSadded. The estimated energy produced per ton of fresh biomass was 846.5 MJ, but only 57.9 MJ would be required for mechanical harvesting. The biomethanation of water hyacinth can mitigate weed management costs in developing countries.

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The authors acknowledge the support from the Microscopy Core Facility at Utah State University for the SEM results; Jose Antonio Sanchez Borbon and Willy Maurer for helping on the collection, and preparation of the biomass; and Natalia Ruiz and Dalia Jones under the supervision of Teodoro Classe from the Dr. Rafael M. Moscoso National Botanical Garden of Dominican Republic for their work on the identification of the macrophytes.


This research was financially supported by the National Research Fund for Science, Technology, and Innovation [FONDOCYT 2015-2A3-123] of the Dominican Republic Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MESCYT).

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Correspondence to Yessica A. Castro.

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Castro, Y.A., Agblevor, F.A. Biomethanation of invasive water hyacinth from eutrophic waters as a post weed management practice in the Dominican Republic: a developing country. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2020).

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  • Eutrophication
  • Eichhornia crassipes
  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Chemical composition
  • Biomethane
  • Chlorophyll
  • Brackish water
  • Kinetics