Scientific Literature and Links

Scientific Publications

Below is a list of some scientific publications which are relevant for the Newtrients project.

Because many scientific papers cannot be freely accessed, links usually give access to an abstract. Open access to the full article/report is indicated where available. Inclusion of articles on this page does not necessarily indicate our agreement with, or endorsement of, their content.

  • Chakrabarti Rina, Clark William D., Sharma Jai Gopal, Goswami Ravi Kumar, Shrivastav Avanish Kumar, Tocher Douglas R. 2018. Mass Production of Lemna minor and Its Amino Acid and Fatty Acid Profiles. Frontiers in Chemistry, 6: This paper looks at the nutritional value of duckweeds and their production potential in the pond conditions. Duckweed biomass may thus be used to replace commercial fish-meal that is currently used in aquaculture.
  • Tsang Y.F., Kumar V., Samadar P., Yang Y., Lee J., Ok Y.S., Song H., Kim K.-H., Kwon E.E., Jae Jeon Y. 2019. Production of bioplastic through food waste valorization. Environment International, 127: 625-644.  This open access paper looks at the development of a biorefinery platform for food waste.
  • Karan H., Funk C., Grabert M., Oey M. & Hankamer B. 2019.  Green Bioplastics as Part of a Circular Bioeconomy. Trends in Plant Science, 24 (3): 237-249.  The rapid accumulation of plastic waste is driving international demand for renewable plastics with superior qualities (e.g., full biodegradability to CO2 without harmful byproducts), as part of an expanding circular bioeconomy. Higher plants, microalgae, and cyanobacteria can drive solar-driven processes for the production of feedstocks that can be used to produce a wide variety of biodegradable plastics, as well as bioplastic-based infrastructure that can act as a long-term carbon sink. The plastic types produced, their chemical synthesis, scaled-up biorefinery concepts (e.g., plant-based methane-to-bioplastic production and co-product streams), bioplastic properties, and uses are summarized, together with the current regulatory framework and the key barriers and opportunities.
  • Apprenroth K.-J., Sowjanya Sree K., Bohm V., Hammann S., Vetter W. Leiterer M., Jahreis G. 2017. Nutritional value of duckweeds (Lemnaceae) as human food.  Food Chemistry, 217: 266-273.  This paper investigates the value of various species of duckweed as human food.
  • de Beukelaar, Myrthe FA, Gertrude G. Zeinstra, Jurriaan J. Mes, and Arnout RH Fischer (2019). Duckweed as human food. The influence of meal context and information on duckweed acceptability of Dutch consumers.Food quality and preference 71: 76-86. This interesting paper investigates the acceptability to people of using duckweed as food. Through face-to-face interviews and online surveys, they found a mostly positive attitude towards duckweed consumption.
  • Sree, K. Sowjanya, Kai Adelmann, Cyrus Garcia, Eric Lam, and Klaus-J. Apprenroth (2015). Natural variance in salt tolerance and induction of starch accumulation in duckweeds.  Planta 241, no. 6: 1395-1404. These experiments show that there is a natural variation in the tolerance of different duckweed clones to high salt concentrations. Ten clones had impressive EC50 values of 100 mM NaCl or higher. This is relevant in the context of growing duckweed on dairy processing wastewater as that can contain high concentrations of salt.
  • de Visser, C. L. M., Schreuder, R., & Stoddard, F. (2014). The EU’s dependency on soya bean import for the animal feed industry and potential for EU produced alternatives. OCL-Oleagineux Corps Gras Lipides21(4).( An analysis of the dependency of EU countries on imported soy bean for animal feed. A high percentage of animal feed is imported from outside the EU. It is argued that this dependency reduces the self-sufficiency of the EU, exposing it to scarcity, price fluctuations and sustainability problems. The authors suggest ways of improving the production of EU grown alternatives.
  • Ishizawa, H., Kuroda, M., Morikawa, M., & Ike, M. (2017). Evaluation of environmental bacterial communities as a factor affecting the growth of duckweed Lemna minor. Biotechnology for biofuels10(1), 62. ( A look at how bacterial communities impact the growth of L. minor. Bacterial communities can have good, bad and neutral effects on L. minor growth. They found significant differences in L. minor growth due to co-cultivation with one or more bacterial communities. This shows there is the potential to improve L. minor growth by regulating bacterial communities. 
  • Zhao, Z., Shi, H., Liu, Y., Zhao, H., Su, H., Wang, M., & Zhao, Y. (2014). The influence of duckweed species diversity on biomass productivity and nutrient removal efficiency in swine wastewater. Bioresource technology167, 383-389.( This study compared monocultures of duckweed to cultures containing a mix of duckweed species. They found a mixture of species promoted growth and nutrient removal from wastewater.
  • Frédéric M., Samir L., Louise M., Abdelkrim A. (2006).  Comprehensive modeling of mat density effect on duckweed (Lemna minor) growth under controlled eutrophication. Water Res., 40(15):2901-10. S.M., van Nes E.H. & Roijackers R.M.M. (2005).  Growth limitation of Lemna minor due to high plant density.  Aquatic Botany, 81 (3), 245-251. two publications give a good overview on the importance of culture density for duckweed production. For the applications of duckweed as component in industrial waste water treatment, a detailed understanding of optimal growth parameters and management practises are of prime importance. Besides the key environmental parameters, temperature, light and water quality, plant density plays a crucial role. Plant density is directly linked to growth, whereby too low and too high densities lead to reduced growth rates. With decreased growth nutrient the capability of the plants to take up nutrients also cascades, which ultimately causes less filtration capacity of the whole production system.
  • Mohedano R.A., Costa R.H., Tavares F.A., Belli Filho P. (2012).  High nutrient removal rate from swine wastes and protein biomass production by full-scale duckweed ponds. Bioresour Technol., 112: 98-104. This publication shows a nice and straight forward study, which provides evidence that duckweed cultures can be successfully utilized as waste water filtration unit within an agriculture setting.
  • General Characteristics and Treatment Possibilities of Dairy Wastewater – A Review [A. KOLEV SLAVOV: Dairy Wastewater Treatment Review, Food Technol. Biotechnol. 55 (1) 14–28 (2017)]. This paper reviews current knowledge on dairy products and the resultant wastewater characteristics. It also discusses current treatment strategies and their effectiveness. (
  • A review: Driving factors and regulation strategies of microbial community structure and dynamics in wastewater treatment systems [Yangwu Chen, Shuhuan Lan, Longhui Wang, Shiyang Dong, Houzhen Zhou, Zhouliang Tan, Xudong Li. Chemosphere 174 (2017) 173-182]: This review investigates current knowledge on microbial community structure and dynamics in wastewater treatment systems. It also discusses how plant operational parameters and wastewater characteristics can impact the microbial diversity in these systems. (
  • Growing Lemna minor in agricultural wastewater and converting the duckweed biomass to ethanol [Xumeng Ge, Ningning Zhang, Gregory C. Phillips, Jianfeng Xu. Bioresource Technology 124 (2012) 485–488]: This paper investigates the potential of duckweed as a source of biofuel. It also explores the role of duckweed in wastewater treatment. Research like this can lead to new technologies and improvements for current ones. (
  • Nitrogen mass balance across pilot-scale algae and duckweed-based wastewater stabilisation ponds [O.R. Zimmoa, N.P. van der Steenb, H.J. Gijzen. Water Research 38 (2004) 913–920]: This paper is more technical, but none-the-less shows that duckweed can be used in nutrient removal. It focuses on nitrogen removal specifically, but duckweed also utilizes phosphorous, which further highlights the usefulness of duckweed in a wastewater treatment system. (
  • Challenges of scaling-up PHA production from waste streams. A review: This review is an up to date insight into the different strategies used to produce PHA from waste streams on a lab-, pilot-, and production-scale. It particularly highlights different carbon sources used and cultivation techniques applied, concluding that the biggest challenge to date is the price gap between oil derived and renewable plastics. (
  • Bacterial synthesis of biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoates: Polyhydroxyalkanoates are a diverse group of biological polymers with varying synthesis pathways and physical properties. This review gives a good introduction into the topic of polyhydroxyalkanoates. ( [free access]
  • A review of the production and applications of waste-derived volatile fatty acids: Volatile fatty acids (VFA) are used in range of applications from bioplastic to energy and more. Today VFAs are mostly produced chemically, with an increased interest in finding new biological means of production to utilize waste streams. This study includes extensive insight into key factors for biological VFA production, as well as the technological approaches behind it. (
  • Isolation and recovery of microbial polyhydroxyalkanoates: Polyhydroxyalkanoates are produced within bacterial or plant cells, therefore making it necessary to recover them in the downstream process. Due to the current practice of using solvents, this step is a bottleneck in PHA production due to the cost and reduced sustainability. New methods are being tested and described in this study. (
  • Minescu, A., et al. (2016) Biopolymer production from Irish dairy industry wastewaters, EPA Research Report 190. (Open Access) This report shows the previous work on the topic in our working group and was used as the basis for the Newtrients Project.
  • Ghisellini, P., Cialani, C., and Ulgiati, S. (2015) A review on circular economy: The expected transition to a balanced interplay of environmental and economic systems. J. Clean. Prod. 14:11-32. This article can also be found on Researchgate. This review gives a background about the circular economy in general, its underlying principles and current application. Interesting for Newtrients since the project also includes a circular economy approach.
  • Cheng, J. J. and Stomp, A.-M. (2009), Growing Duckweed to Recover Nutrients from Wastewaters and for Production of Fuel Ethanol and Animal Feed. Clean Soil Air Water, 37: 17–26. doi:10.1002/clen.200800210.  This paper reviews the opportunities and challenges to growing Lemnaceae (commonly called duckweed) on wastewater. It provides an understanding of why there is interest in growing duckweed on waste. There are many reasons but primarily it is due to its rapid growth rate, high protein content and excellent remediation qualities. As well as providing an understanding of why duckweeds grow well on wastewater, this paper also covers the products that can be made from duckweed. Primarily there is interest in using duckweed as a feed for animals, but it can also be used for the production of fuel ethanol.
  • Appenroth, K.-J., et al. (2017) Nutritional value of duckweeds (Lemnaceae) as human food. Food Chem. 217:266-273. This paper gives an overview of the nutritional quality of different duckweed species and discusses their possible use in human nutrition. It investigates protein, fat, starch content, amino acid distributions and fatty acid distributions of a number of duckweed species. In addition to this it looks at one species of duckweed in closer nutritional detail, investigating mineral, antioxidant and phytosterol content. Their conclusion is that duckweeds could be eaten as part of a nutritious human diet. However, more research still needs to be conducted in this area.

Scientific Reports

Below is a list of some scientific reports which are relevant for the Newtrients project.

Online Videos

Below is a list of online videos which are relevant to the Newtrients project.  

This is for information purposes only. The Newtrients project does not endorse the content of online videos.

  • Wastewater Microbiology: This video describes the importance of monitoring the microbial populations in a treatment system. It describes different types of indicator organisms and how they can help identify problems in the plant operational procedure.
  • What Are Bioplastics?: A short introduction explaining the key aspects of bioplastics. (
  • The Circular Economy: A short introductory video on the topic of the circular economy. (
  • Plastic Pollution & Research into sustainable alternatives:  Video by Newtrients PI Dr Niall O’Leary produced for the Cork Discovers European Researchers Night 2019 explaining the problem with plastic pollution and research into sustainable alternatives.  (PLEASE NOTE: This event is now closed).


Novel Eco-Sensitive Wastewater Treatment Recovering Dairy Industry Effluent Nutrients