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GALLERY: Lotus Flower

Nelumbo nucifera , also known as Indian lotus , sacred lotus , bean of India , Egyptian bean or simply lotus , is one of two extant species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae . It is often colloquially called a water lily. Under favorable circumstances the seeds of this aquatic perennial may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China . [1]

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Nelumbo nucifera shows high potential for usage in wastewater treatment removing polluting compounds and heavy metals. It is able to grow in variable water conditions and in low light intensity. Various studies show the successful use of N. nucifera to counteract water eutrophication. The leaves of the floating lotus reduce sunlight reaching the lower part of the water. This suppresses algae growth in N. nucifera aquatic systems and thus, the oxygen content is up to 20% higher than in other aquatic plant systems. Due to intense agricultural practices, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution are major problems in aquatic systems. N. nucifera is able to assimilate a higher content of phosphorus than aquatic plants currently used for water remediation (such as water hyacinth). It also assimilates nitrogen ("denitrification") and creates a habitat for bacterial growth in the water body. Through rhizofiltration heavy metals – including arsenic, copper and cadmium – can be removed efficiently from the water. The results observed are impressive showing 96% of copper and 85% cadmium metals removed after a seven-day incubation period. The accumulation of heavy metals doesn't show morphological symptoms of metal toxicity; however, the rhizome quality for human consumption needs further study.

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