Duckweed vs Azolla Nutrition: Which Is Better?

Duckweed vs Azolla Nutrition: Which Is Better?

Duckweed vs Azolla, aquatic plants commonly found in various water bodies, serve multiple purposes, including as nutritional supplements for humans and animals.

Both plants boast high nutritional value, offering essential nutrients for animals and humans. However, the nutritional content can differ based on species, ecological conditions, and processing methods.

The question of whether Duckweed or Azolla is superior will be addressed in this article.


How to Distinguish Between Duckweed and Azolla?

Duckweed (left) va Azolla (right)

Duckweed typically consists of small floating plants with a single leaf and root hanging beneath the water surface. Conversely, Azolla is characterized by small, floating fern-like leaves that grow in clusters.

Duckweed is a common tiny native plant that floats freely on the water's surface. Its leaves are green on top and red underneath.

They typically have three (sometimes five) veins and small air pockets to aid flotation. It can possess several oval-shaped leaves ranging from 1 to 8mm long, each with a single root hanging in the water. [1]

Azolla, a water fern, is commonly seen floating on the surface of freshwater bodies like ponds, rivers, and flooded fields in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. It usually measures between 1 and 2.5 cm in diameter, although some species can grow as large as 15 cm or even more. [2]

Duckweed vs Azolla Nutrition: Which is In Common?

Valuable Protein Content

Duckweed vs Azolla Nutrition

Determining the nutritional composition and some anti-nutritional factors of leaf protein extracted from Duckweed and Duckweed plants is always of interest to researchers. Here are some related data:

  • Protein content: Leaf protein concentrate (LPC) from Azolla (71.3%) [3] is higher than Wolffia globosa, which contains high protein content [45.54%]. [4]
  • Lipid and fiber content: LPC from both plants is low in lipid and fiber content. [3]
  • Cyanide content: LPC from both Azolla and Duckweed have low cyanide content. [3]

Research also shows that both Azolla and Duckweed LPC are lower in cyanide, tannin, and phytin than fresh or dried and contain high protein content.

The Growth and Nutritional Value

Wolffia globosa demonstrates significant outdoor and indoor growth ability, with daily growth rates ranging from 64.62 to 120.6 g/day outdoors and 0.675 to 1.50 g/day indoors. Specific growth rates and daily productivity also show promising results. [4]

Azolla pinneta showed higher biomass production (173.33g). A. pinneta has a shorter doubling time (5.55 days). Relative growth rate (g/g/d) is higher in A. pinneta (0.124). [5]

Both species exhibit good nutritional values, with A. pinneta showing better results.

Amino Acid

The amino acid content of Duckweed and Azolla is as follows:

  • The amino acid analysis of Wolffia globosa reveals the presence of 15 types of amino acids, with essential amino acids comprising 52.318% and non-essential amino acids containing 47.682% of the total amino acid content. [4]
  • Azolla: Azolla contains up to 18 amino acids, numerous minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and manganese, as well as vitamins such as A and B12, beta-carotene, and some probiotics and biopolymers. [5]
  Duckweed Wolffia Globosa  Azolla
Valuable Protein Content 45.54 % 71.3 %
The Growth and Nutritive Value Lower Higher
Amino Acid Composition 52.318 % 62.8 %

The comparison table of Duckweed Wolffia Globosa and Azolla

Duckweed vs Azolla: Which is More Nutritious?

Duckweed vs Azolla: Which is More Nutritious?

Vitamins and Mineral Supplements

Duckweed and Azolla are valuable aquatic plants with high nutritional content and can grow rapidly.

  • Protein Content: Leaf protein concentrate (LPC) from Azolla (71.3%) [3] is higher than Wolffia globosa, which contains high protein content [45.54%]. [4]
  • Wolffia globosa may contain essential vitamins and minerals necessary for aquatic organism growth and health, as it is described as a potential alternative feed source. [3] Azolla is known to contain various vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for livestock. [4]

Overall, both Duckweed and Azolla can serve as valuable sources of nutrition and are suitable for various applications, including aquaculture, animal feed, and potentially human consumption.

Helps Increase Digestion

Both Duckweed and Azolla are known to aid digestion due to their fiber content. Fiber is essential for maintaining digestive health as it adds bulk to the stool, promotes regular bowel movements, and supports the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

Results showed that Azolla pinnata exhibited higher biomass production, a shorter doubling time, and a higher relative growth rate than Duckweed.

Also, Azolla pinnata had significantly higher crude protein, ether extract, and fiber content, while Duckweed had substantially higher total ash content. The two species had No significant difference in the dry matter content. [5]

Duckweed Wolffia Globosa can be inferred that with its richness in protein, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, Wolffia globosa may help enhance digestion, providing benefits for the digestive system. [6]

Duckweed vs Azolla: Which One Should You Choose?

The choice between Duckweed and Azolla ultimately depends on personal preferences, specific dietary requirements, and availability.

Experimenting with both and observing their effects on your health and well-being could help determine which one is more suitable for you.

Some factors to consider include:

  • Protein content: If protein is the primary concern, Azolla may be the better choice due to its slightly higher protein content.
  • Amino acid profile: Duckweed may be the better option for a more balanced amino acid profile as it contains both essential and non-essential amino acids.

There are many ways to use Duckweed to provide nutrition to the body.

How to Use Duckweed to Provide Nutrition to the Body?

How to Use Duckweed to Provide Nutrition to the Body?

Duckweed can be incorporated into various dishes, including salads, soups, smoothies, and stir-fries. It can also be dried and ground into a powder for baking or added to beverages for an extra nutritional boost.

  • Dietary Supplement: Add to smoothies, salads, soups, or brew as tea. Duckweed enriches your diet with essential nutrients: protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Nutrient-Rich Additive: Mix into rice, pasta, stir-fries, or use as topping for pizzas and sandwiches to boost meal nutrients.
  • Smoothie Ingredient: Blend Duckweed with fruits, veggies, and other ingredients for nutritious smoothies. Boost protein and fiber, creating a satisfying snack or meal replacement.
  • Supplement Powder: Dry and grind Duckweed into powder for capsules or mix into drinks and smoothies for easy consumption of its nutritional benefits.


Duckweed vs Azolla are both valuable sources of nutrition, offering essential vitamins, minerals, and protein. Incorporating these aquatic plants into your diet can improve overall health and well-being. Thank you for reading this article on Duckweed vs Azolla – which is more nutritious? I hope this has helped you understand the nutritional value and potential uses.


[1] DUCKWEEDS A Comprehensive Guide To: I.D., Treatment and Prevention Authored by Brittany Pondeljak Aquatic Technologies, 2021. (n.d.).
[2] Yin Long Qiu, & Yu, J. (2003). Azolla — A Model Organism for Plant Genomic Studies. Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, 1(1), 15–25.
[3] E.A. Fasakin. (1999). Nutrient quality of leaf protein concentrates produced from water fern (Azolla africana Desv) and duckweed (Spirodela polyrrhiza L. Schleiden). Bioresource Technology, 69(2), 185–187.
[4] Said, D. S., Tjandra Chrismadha, N Mayasari, & Suri, A. R. M. (2022). Nutrition Value and Growth Ability of Aquatic Weed Wolffia globosa as Alternative Feed Sources for... ResearchGate; IOP Publishing.
[5] Mridushmita Sonowal, Bhattacharya, H. N., Kalita, M. C., & Boro, P. (2021, February 17). A comparative study on growth and nutritive value of Azolla pinneta and common duck weed (Lemna minor)... ResearchGate; unknown.
[6] Zhang, X., Zhao, F.-J., Huang, Q., Williams, P. N., Sun, G.-X., & Zhu, Y.-G. (2009). Arsenic uptake and speciation in the rootless duckweed Wolffia globosa. New Phytologist, 182(2), 421–428.
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Ralph S. Albert, with over 10 years of expertise in nutrition and research, now heads the Research division at Vinatura Supplements. His dedication and extensive knowledge ensure top-quality articles on nutrition and health, collaborating with a skilled team. He has successfully completed The VINATURA Expertise Research Training Program, underscoring his commitment to Vinatura's mission. Ralph has also published numerous articles and conducted valuable research in the field, making him a trusted resource for individuals on their wellness journey.

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