Jena University scientists investigate potential of duckweed
Wolffia globosa, a tiny, rootless duckweed, or water lens, apparently has what it takes to achieve great things.
Researchers at the University of Jena (Germany), together with colleagues in India and Germany, have investigated the potential of various duckweeds as a human food source. The results, which are very promising, have been published under the title ‘Nutritional value of duckweeds (Lemnaceae) as human food’ in the leading journal ‘Food Chemistry’.
“Duckweeds can definitely serve as a source of protein in human nutrition,” says Prof. Gerhard Jahreis of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. It is not without reason that duckweeds are dubbed ‘green machines’, the nutritional scientist adds. Jahreis explains that the protein content of duckweeds is comparable to that of lupins, rape or peas, with a protein yield of 30 per cent of dry weight.
What is more, these tiny plants contain valuable omega-3 fatty acids such as stearidonic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Possible uses for duckweeds would be in the ever-popular smoothies or gluten-free baked goods.
“Duckweeds multiply very rapidly, but do not require any additional cultivable land,” says Dr Klaus Appenroth, associate professor at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. In view of the decrease in areas of farmland, this gives duckweed a huge advantage over soya, for example. For thousands of years, duckweed species have been on the menu in Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia and Laos.
As a plant physiologist, Appenroth has dedicated nearly his entire research career at the University Jena to the tiny plants, and he has built up an extensive collection of Lemnaceae (commonly known as duckweeds or water lenses), among other things. He singles out in particular the species Wolffia globosa, which is served up in Asia in the form of soup, as a vegetable or in omelette. In the latest tests by the research group, Wolffia globosa showed itself to be the most promising.
As yet these duckweeds have not been cultivated, but simply ‘harvested’ from bodies of water. However, there are some initial experimental facilities in Israel and the Netherlands, where duckweeds are produced on an industrial scale. Wolffia globosa measure only 0.7 to 1.5 mm, are oval in shape and rootless.
They multiply so rapidly that in a short time they can cover the entire surface of a body of water. A further argument in favour of having these plants as part of the human diet is that duckweeds easily absorb trace elements that are dissolved in water. This means that with little expense and effort, they can be used to relieve deficiency symptoms due to malnutrition.
Other potential applications for duckweeds are fish farming and water purification. The minute plants could also be used for producing bio-ethanol.
Klaus-J. Appenroth, K. Sowjanya Sree, Volker Böhm, Simon Hammann, Walter Vetter, Matthias Leiterer, Gerhard Jahreis: ‘Nutritional value of duckweeds (Lemnaceae) as human food’; Food Chemistry; DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2016.08.116
Dr Klaus Appenroth (Privatdozent, Associate Professor)
Institute of General Botany and Plant Physiology of Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dornburger Straße 159, 07743 Jena, Germany
Phone: ++49 3641 / 949233
Prof. Gerhard Jahreis
Institute of Nutrition of Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dornburger Straße 24, 07743 Jena, Germany
Phone: ++49 3641 / 949610
Stephan Laudien | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Helping to Transport Proteins Inside the Cell
21.11.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
UNH researchers create a more effective hydrogel for healing wounds
21.11.2018 | University of New Hampshire
Innsbruck quantum physicists have constructed a diode for magnetic fields and then tested it in the laboratory. The device, developed by the research groups led by the theorist Oriol Romero-Isart and the experimental physicist Gerhard Kirchmair, could open up a number of new applications.
Electric diodes are essential electronic components that conduct electricity in one direction but prevent conduction in the opposite one. They are found at the...
Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.
Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
19.11.2018 | Event News
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences
21.11.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.11.2018 | Life Sciences