Growing populations in urban areas mean that we will have to change the way we grow our food if we are to care about environmental sustainability and our carbon footprint. The Earth’s population could increase by 30% by 2050, which would require an estimated increase in agriculture of about 60%. This is a difficult thing when you have no more farmland
Researchers at the University of Jena (Germany), together with colleagues in India and Germany, investigated the potential of different species of duckweed as a food source for humans. In particular, duckweed is not only considered an important animal feed but also considered by experts as a “superfood” in the future, bringing a lot of nutrition to humans. As an aquatic plant, duckweed does not occupy valuable arable land.

duckweed floating plant

What do you know about duckweed ?

The duckweed includes 37 species from all over the world. They are aquatic plants that float on water, and can grow on sewage. They multiply very quickly, especially in waters rich in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphate. Duckweed has a very high protein content, up to 30-40% dry weight. It contains about 7 times as much protein as soybeans and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

duckweed protein

What does duckweed taste like?

The duckweed has a rather mild taste, possibly with a slightly bitter aftertaste. You can mix it with cheese, or add it to ramen for extra protein. The fastest growing duckweed can produce about 20 grams (dried) per square meter per day. That’s about 1.4 million pounds per hectare annually — 50 times what you get from corn. At present, however, these duckweed are not farmed on a large scale, but are simply “harvested” from water bodies.
Some of the initial testing facilities in Israel and the Netherlands are currently trying to produce duckweed on an industrial scale.

duckweed sushi superfood

The duckweed has a rather mild taste, possibly with a slightly bitter aftertaste. You can mix it with cheese, or add it to ramen for extra protein

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