Process Management

News last update:7 Aug 2012

Duckweed: valuable animal feed source

Due to increasing raw material cost for animal feed, the search goes on to find cheap alternative feedstuffs. Duckweed, with its high quality protein content and balanced amino acid profile, could be one of these alternatives.


Duckweed (DW) is a fast growing organism, which can double its mass within 16-48 hours under conditions with the optimal supply of nutrients and sunlight, as well as the ideal water temperature. The protein found in DW contains a favourable array of essential amino acids (especially lysine, methionine and threonine) and has a close resemblance to animal protein.
Claims have also been made that DW has a feeding value potential comparable to soybean.

New study
Scientists from the Animal Sciences Group in Lelystad have recently started a pilot project to further investigate the use of DW as livestock feed, with specific focus on the application in dairy cattle diets. The project aims to achieve greater insights into the chemical characteristics of DW and variation therein resulting from differing conditions of preparation (e.g. water quality, species differentiation, eventual processing).

In addition, the nutrient value to livestock (both ruminants and monogastrics) will be investigated together with the effects on intake, animal health and animal performance. Duckweed with a low protein content (and therefore less suitable for use in animal diets) will be used as a biomass source to produce bio energy. The researchers hope that this pilot study will lead to the conscious production and harvesting in water retention areas, ponds and water rich areas.

Related website:
Animal Sciences Group

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