Open Access

Use of Duckweed (Lemna L.) in Sustainable Livestock Production and Aquaculture – A Review


The aim of this study was to determine the possibility of using duckweed in sustainable livestock production and aquaculture. Duckweed is a small plant which grows in water and is exploited in biotechnology, dietetics, phytotherapy, and ecotoxicology. It is also used for biological waste-water treatment, and for biogas and ethanol production. This study provides the characteristics of duckweed and presents results indicating its applicability in livestock feeding. Duckweed is a rich source of proteins and amino acids, and contains many macro- and micronutrients as well as vitamins and carotenoids. Unfortunately, it accumulates considerable amounts of toxic metals and compounds from the aquatic environment, which may limit its use as a feed ingredient. Fresh or dried duckweed is willingly consumed by animals (poultry – laying hens, broiler chickens, ducks; cows, sheep, goats, swine, fish) and is a valuable protein source to them. It has been scientifically demonstrated that its use in moderate amounts or as a partial replacement of other protein feed materials, including soybean meal, has a beneficial effect on the productivity, fattening, and slaughter performance of livestock and poultry as well as on the quality of their meat and eggs. Research addressing duckweed use as a feed ingredient should focus on developing various growth media technologies, including the use of slurry digestate, to obtain high biomass yields. Another research direction should be to determine risks in the production chain (collection, processing), which limit its use in monogastric and ruminant diets.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Zoology, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine