Chemical characteristics of water reed

The chemical composition of water reed depends on different edaphic (regarding soil) conditions. You can determine through different methods (direct, indirect, extractive etc.) the different properties (cellulose, lignin, fat, wax, elements, resin).

The chemical characteristics of water reed (Simionescu,1966)

cellulose 42,51 % – 45,04 %
lignin 22,09 % – 23,88 %
pentosan 23,88 % – 27,217 %
wax, fat and resin 1,15 % – 5,63 %
mineral substances 4,72 % – 5,63 %

Dry substance analysis of aerial plant part of water reed (Seidel, 1966 and 1969)

Ca 1,7 g/kg
Mg 0,82 g/kg
P 1,4 g/kg
K 8,1 g/kg
Na 1,1 g/kg
Fe 0,92 g/kg
Si 21,7 g/kg
Cu 4,2 mg/kg
Co 0,62 mg/kg
Zn 37 mg/kg
Ni 1,53 mg/kg
Mo 0,26 mg/kg
Mn 166 mg/kg
B 8,2 mg/kg Water reed has a high percentage of silicon. The consequence is, that a lot of animals refuse water reed spears as a nutriment although water reed contains substances which make it evident to a fodder plant.
The chemical composition of the rhizome isn’t identical with the water reed spear. The rhizome has a higher lignin and hemi cellulose percentage and a lower cellulose percentage. The water reed leaves contain the highest percentage of ash.

Commercial use

In the past and nowadays water reed has been and still is an important auxiliary material for the people living in the superior water reed growing areas. Water reed is one of the oldest natural building materials of our culture history. Mostly it is used for the building construction. During the first humans settled down and started with mixed farming they built their first barracks. As building material they used local materials: log, grass, water reed, moss and clay. Nowadays reinforcement, insulating wall panel (water reed panel) and dry lining elements are made out of water reed. Furthermore water reed is well known as a solid roofing material. In landscaping water reed is used as a material for fences, wind deflector walls, blinds meadows and tree protection. Moreover water reed was used as fuel to overwinter in sparsely areas. In sectors with a lot of water reed specially extended stoves in which the collars with the thicker site are inducted to burn them up and push them slowly in the stove can be found. With a quantity of heat produced of 3600-3800 cal/g per 10% of wood humidity water reed is a great substitution for wood and since centuries it was used for fuelling and cooking.
For prehistorically time water reed was used as fish barrier material and for building a fish catch. The hydrophyte water reed especially features its long-life cycle. Water reed plays an important role in the cellulose industry. Water reed is traditionally used for the production of paperboard, corrugated cardboard carton and paper above all in Romania, Russia and China. Thereby the cellulose, which is extracted from water reed is mixed with 50 % wood cellulose. A water reed area in the Danube delta of Romania generates 6,68 times more extent cellulose as a comparable area spruce forest. In the Netherlands water reed was used for silting parts of the Ijslemeer and to create new agricultural crop land. Water reed sprouts are used as vegetables in any regions. Again you can make flour for bread baking from the dried rhizome.