About Azolla

Introduction

The Natural Resources Development Project (NARDEP) in India has been working on azolla for the last three to four years, studying its potential as a feed for farm animals and exploring cost efficacious methods for the mass multiplication of azolla in farmers’ homesteads. Azolla is a floating fern and belongs to the family of Azollaceae.

Azolla hosts a symbiotic blue green algae, Anabaena azollae, which is responsible for the fixation and assimilation of atmospheric nitrogen. Azolla, in turn, provides the carbon source and auspicious environment for the magnification and development of the algae. It is this unique symbiotic relationship that makes azolla a sublime plant with high protein content.

Azolla is facile to cultivate and can be utilized as an ideal feed for cattle, fish, pigs and poultry, and additionally is of value as a bio-fertilizer for wetland paddy. It is popular and cultivated widely in other countries like China, Vietnam, and the Philippines, but has yet to be taken up in India, in a sizably voluminous way.

Dairy farmers in South Kerala and Kanyakumari have commenced to take up the low cost engenderment technology and we hope that the azolla technology will be taken up more widely by dairy farmers, in particular those who have too diminutive land for fodder engenderment.

Why is Azolla unique?

Azolla is unique because it is one of the most expeditious growing plants on the planet – yet it does not require any soil to grow.

Unlike virtually all other plants, Azolla is able to get its nitrogen fertilizer directly from the atmosphere. That betokens that it is able to engender biofertilizer, livestock feed, food and biofuel precisely where they are needed and, concurrently, draw down astronomically immense amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, thus availing to reduce the threat of climate change.