Science Serving Maryland's Coasts

Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2005-04


The effects of barley straw (Hordeum vulgare) on the growth of freshwater algae.




Ferrier, MD; Butler, BR; Terlizzi, DE; Lacouture, R


Bioresource Technology 96(16):1788-1795




Bioassays were conducted to determine the efficacy of barley straw liquor in controlling algal growth of 12 freshwater species of algae representing three divisions. Barley straw liquor inhibited the growth of three nuisance algae common in freshwater: Synura petersenii, Dinobyron sp., and Microcystis aeruginosa. However, Selenastrum capricornutum, Spirogyra sp., Oscillatoria lutea var. contorta, and Navicula sp. had significantly increased growth in the presence of straw liquor. The growth of the remainder, Ulothrix fimbriata, Scenedesmus quadricauda, Chlorella vulgaris, Anabaena flos-aquae, and Synedra sp. showed no significant difference from controls. In a related field study, we treated four of six ponds with barley straw and monitored their chlorophyll a levels for one growing season. While phytoplankton populations in all ponds decreased in midsummer, the phytoplankton biomass in treated ponds did not differ significantly from that of control ponds, suggesting that the application of barley straw had no effect on algal growth in these systems.

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