Process-based modeling to assess the nutrient removal efficiency of two endangered hydrophytes: Linking nutrient-cycle with a multiple-quotas approach

Yongeun Kim, Yun Sik Lee, June Wee, Jinsol Hong, Minyoung Lee, Jae Geun Kim, Yeon Jae Bae, Kijong Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrophytes have been widely used to reduce nutrient levels in aquatic ecosystems, but only limited species with high nutrient removal efficiencies have been implemented. Thus, it is necessary to continually explore new candidate species with high nutrient removal efficiencies. To effectively explore the nutrient removal ability of hydrophytes, a new process-based model combining the multiple-quotas approach and nutrient-cycle model was developed. The multiple-quotas approach provides a theoretical framework to conceptually explain the uptake and response of autotrophs to multiple nutrients. The developed process-based model was validated using observational data from microcosm experiments with two emergent hydrophytes, Menyanthes trifoliata and Cicuta virosa. The results showed that both M. trifoliata and C. virosa effectively reduced nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in both water and sediment layers, but M. trifoliata showed a higher removal efficiency for both nutrients than C. virosa, particularly for total ammonia + ammonium-nitrogen (NHx-N) and nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) in the sediment layer (M. trifoliata: 0.579–0.976 for NHx-N, 0.567–0.702 for NO3-N; C. virosa: 0.212–0.501 for NHx-N, 0.466–0.560 for NO3-N). In addition, M. trifoliata achieved the maximum removal efficiency for N and P at higher nutrient exposure levels than C. virosa (M. trifoliata: exposure level of 0.725–0.775; C. virosa: exposure level of 0.550–0.575). The developed model well simulated the species-specific growth patterns of hydrophytes depending on the nutrient exposure level as well as the N and P dynamics in the water and sediment layers. The approach adopted in this study provides a useful tool for discovering candidate species to improve hydrophyte diversity and effectively remove nutrients from aquatic ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number144223
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Ministry of Education ( NRF-2020R1I1A1A01074894 , to Y.K.) and the Ministry of Science and ICT ( NRF-2019R1A2C1009812 , to K.C.). This research was also partially supported by a Korea University Grant and an OJERI (Ojeong Resilience Institute) Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Cicuta virosa
  • Emergent hydrophyte
  • Menyanthes trifoliata
  • Nutrient cycle
  • Nutrient removal efficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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