Lampakanay: The Collaborator

Lampakanay (Source:

The Cattail or Lampakanay goes beyond handicraft work.

Typha spp or Lampakanay is just as aggressive as the water hyacinth and this makes it good for controlling soil erosion common in shorelines.  This plant thrives in shallow swamps, freshwater and brackish aquifers.  Water hyacinth dies off in brackish water, making Cattail the choice as soil bioremediator in shallow, salty bodies.  Bioremediation which is the use of biological living things to clean up our buildup of environmental problems as defined by Cornell University, is the answer to the pollution in our soil and waterways.  A study on Lampakany found naturally growing at an acid mine drainage was found to effectively take up Aluminum, Manganese, Magnesium and Iron contaminants.

Due to countless studies, remediation has branched to endophytic remediation.  The toxins in the water do affect the effectivity of Lampakanay. But specific bacteria that can reside in the plant’s tissue have been found to gobble up these metallic toxins and therefore, detoxy and help the plant cope with the environmental stress.  This is known as endophyte-assisted phyto-remediation.  And Lampakanay is one of the floras where the introduction of these bacteria into the plant results into a mutual collaborative clean-up relationship.

The Lampakanay’s rhizome is composed of 40-60% starch (comparable to potatoes) which can be converted to ethanol and used as biofuel.  The ethanol yield is said to be 3x that of corn, without the harmful effects of fertilizers.

This is another plant from the grass family that offers multiple, cost-effective solutions to our environmental and detritus problems.  More studies are needed to take advantage of what Lampakanay has to offer Mother Earth.

Cutright, Teresa J., et al. 2012. Evaluation of phytoextraction potential at an acid-mine-drainage-impacted site. Soil and Sediment Contamination. 21: 970-984.
Krahmer, Kristen and Wreh, Elijah (2009) “Evaluation of Pretreatment Methods in the Production of Ethanol from Cattail Leaves,” Journal of Undergraduate Research at Minnesota State University, Mankato: Vol. 9, Article 8.

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