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Protein Plant as Disaster Relief Solution

Jun 19, 2024 | Food
A field of green plants growing on top of water

Our Take

During disasters, when importation is limited and resources are minimal, Carolina azolla can be a lifesaving source of food. This plant can double its biomass in as little as 2 days, and can be cultivated almost anywhere with water, even in containers. With Azolla, there will be less dependency on imported food aid and communities can become more self-reliant in cases where outside help is delayed or not an option. Its ability to grow quickly, provide essential nutrients, and use up minimal resources make it a promising method for boosting food security in the wake of disaster.

Source Summary

A new study led by the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State highlights the potential applications of Carolina azolla during disaster relief. Azolla is a fast growing, protein-rich plant that supplies itself with nutrients through nitrogen-fixation. This process revolves around a symbiotic relationship with microorganisms capable of converting atmospheric nitrogen into a usable form that is provided to the plant. This trait allows the plant to thrive in even the harshest of conditions with minimal access to resources.