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GALLERY: Lotus Flower

While all modern plant taxonomy systems agree that this species belongs in the genus Nelumbo , the systems disagree as to which family Nelumbo should be placed in, or whether the genus should belong in its own unique family and order.

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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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