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Duckweed has been investigated in the Nutri2Cycle project for its ability to close CNP loops


Recently, two scientific publications on the cultivation of this interesting plant have been published.

Wastewater and manure treatment has become an important aspect in improving the sustainability and circularity of conventional agriculture. A frequently used method to remove excess nutrients from manure is by subsequently centrifugation of manure and biological treatment of the liquid fraction. As a result, N and P are strongly reduced from the liquid fraction of manure. To further reduce N and P content of the effluent, a wetland is a technique commonly used worldwide. However, all previous mentioned processes are a cost for farmers. Additionally, no nutrients are recycled within the system. Therefore, floating wetland plants like duckweed can be used in order to convert the removed nutrients in the wetland to proteins which can be a source for feed and substitute commonly imported protein sources.

During the last years, Inagro and Ghent University are doing research on this wonderful small plant. They are now happy to share with you two papers that result from this research. The first paper proves that duckweed can effectively remove nutrients from agriculture wastewaters while producing quality protein. In the second publication, the nitrate accumulation of this plant was investigated. It was found that duckweed’s nitrate content is below safety limits for human consumption. However, there could be a potential risk for ruminants as these are more sensitive to nitrate conversions in their gastro-intestinal track. Nevertheless, the nitrate content depended strongly on the medium composition. The results indicate that pH and nitrate content might be very important driving forces which might minimize nitrate accumulation risks.

Check out the two open access publications below:

Agronomic and environmental performance of Lemna minor cultivated on agricultural wastewater streams—A practical approach

Effect of the growth medium composition on nitrate accumulation in the novel protein crop Lemna minor

If you would like to find out more on this small plant, get in touch with Reindert Devlamynck.

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