The Effect of Duckweed on Natural Pollution

Topics: Wolffia, Water, Spirodela Pages: 4 (1158 words) Published: April 15, 2012
The Effect of Duckweed on Natural Pollutants: Part I- Introduction
Duckweed: What is it? When you type in “duckweed”, or Lemnaceae, if you choose to use the scientific name, on your computer, you see countless entries on how to get rid of duckweed from your pond, how much duckweed can be a nuisance when it gets stuck in your fish filter, etc. However, this is a plant that can be underestimated.

I chose to work with duckweed in my project because of the countless ways it can help the environment. This cheap aquarium plant can be bought at your local pet store, and is a source of food for not only animals, like fish and common livestock, but to us human beings as well. The main reason, however, why I chose working with this plant is because of how it can filter water, by breaking it down to biomass (the leaves and roots of duckweed), and treated water.

Duckweed is a simple, aquatic plant that consists of two-to-three small thalloids, or plate- like leaflets that floats on or just under the surface of the water, which may or may not have simple rootlets. As I have mentioned, the scientific name for duckweed is Lemnaceae. Lemnaceae is from the order Alismatales, and the family Araceae. The largest thalloids can get up to ¼ of an inch, while the smallest ones can get less than 2 millimeters long. The type of duckweed I used for my experiment, the “Wolffia Brasiliensis” has small, teardrop shaped thalloids.

Reproduction for duckweed is not a problem. As investigated by Landolt and Kandeler in their book “The Family of Lemnaceae - A Monographic Study,” “a thumb-sized planting can cover 1.2 acres in 55 days if undisturbed”. University of Toronto professor R.L. Jefferies conducted an experiment in 1991concerning the population growth, coming up with similar results. Duckweed reproduces asexually, by repeatedly cloning itself. On each plant, there are fronds, which gradually grow new buds in its meristematic zone as it matures. The meristematic zone, which is...
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