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From Waste to Wonder: The Tale of the Ugly Duckweed

Green Lifestyle  (tags: environment, protection, waste )

- 1973 days ago -
A little over a centimeter long, the common duckweed, Spirodela polyrrhiza, is often found colonizing ponds and lakes in a carpet of green. With a global distribution, the duckweed family claims the Guinness for some of the smallest, simplest, and

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Tamra Fakhoorian (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 10:06 am
Great article on the benefits of duckweed, not only as a high protein food for wildlife, but as a newly-emerging animal feedstock, soil enhancer, bioenergy, and bioremediation tool for cleaning up wastewater. Grow duckweed easily in your urban farm backyard or a bit larger on a 30-40 ton per acre scale.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 1:26 pm
That is an interesting article but I have a question. If it sucks up so much of the contaminants is the duckweed processing them internally and rendering them 100% harmless through bioremediation? If not feeding it to livestock could have negative connotations over time for us. We do need to know more about it; promising as it does seem. I've heard too many horror stories about plants and processes that were going to help us turn out at the very least to be problematic and at the worst, dangerous for us.

. (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:23 pm
Good article. Thanks, Cher.

penny C (83)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 3:33 pm
Thanks Cher.

Christeen A (371)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 4:00 pm
This sounds good to me. Thank you.

Ana Passos (2)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 5:23 pm
I really don't think it should be used to feed anyone.. you never know what sort of chemicals end up in residual waters which can then accumulate in this organism..

Tamra Fakhoorian (0)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 7:53 pm
IN a fast-growing state, duckweed's normal habit is to pull out the P, K, N, first out of a water column, nitrogen being the primary one. In a "starved" setting, duckweed will begin to pull out the residual phosphorus, heavy metals and toxins. Duckweed grown in industrial wastewater would not be used for the same purposes as duckweed grown in ag run-off for example. Common sense will dictate the end use of harvested biomass.

Patricia R (13)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 8:35 pm

Colleen L (3)
Sunday January 27, 2013, 9:55 pm
Interesting article. Thanks Cher

Lydia Weissmuller Price (181)
Monday January 28, 2013, 8:09 am
Very interesting article. Duckweed indeed grows in lakes, ponds, and estuaries across the US. However it requires a large carp population to keep it's growth in check. Without enough large fish {and ducks, of course} to consume it, it will entirely cover the surface area of the water and choke out the oxygen from other aquatic life. First the fish and mussels die, then the frogs {tadpoles require oxygen too}. Grown in waste-water from humans it will absorb heavy metals and chemicals from medications and agricultural use. To feed this to livestock {or humans} would be entirely unsuitable and cruel. We should stop the slaughter of animals and devote our land to the growing of crops suitable for human consumption. The use of natural manure from dairy and egg production is a far better fertilizer than chemicals and itself contains bacteria beneficial to the soil. Stop flushing medications and industrial waste down our drains. One of the biggest sources of water pollution is from the hide-tanning industry. Let's not eat animals OR duckweed.

Tamara Hayes (185)
Monday January 28, 2013, 10:00 am
Great article Cher. It is interesting to hear both sides of the coin. And therein lies the rub.

Ruth C (87)
Monday January 28, 2013, 11:39 am
Thanks Cher.

Tamra Fakhoorian (0)
Monday January 28, 2013, 1:17 pm
Lydia, I agree with you on many of your points, however duckweed is a good guy, not a bad guy. I'd rather see a pond covered with duckweed and know that it is pulling the excess nutrients and toxins out of the water than see a clear pond that I know is a toxic soup and expect the fish, etc... to struggle to survive. if the duckweed is grown on wastewater sources such as farm run-off, why not kill two birds with one stone and produce a healthy, high-protein feedstock from it for animals? Your concerns of feeding toxin-laden duckweed to animals are noted. Purposely-grown duckweed from whatever source is tested to insure a high quality feedstock as good or better quality than current animal feeds. Lastly, you don't have to eat it if you don't want to, although people in several countries do just that.

Carol H (229)
Monday January 28, 2013, 4:15 pm
interesting, thanks Cher, noted
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