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Family Salviniaceae
Azolla pinnata R.Br.
Man chiang hung

Scientific names Common names
Azolla pinnata R.Br. Asola (Tag.)
Infraspecific taxa Azolla (Engl.)
Azolla pinnata subsp. africana (Desv.) Saunders & Fowler Feathered mosquito fern (Engl.)
  Ferny azolla (Engl.)
  Green azolla (Engl.)
  Mosquito fern (Engl.)
  Water velvet (Engl.)
Azolla pinnata R. Br. is an accepted name with no recorded synonyms. The Plant List

Other vernacular names
CHINESE: Man chiang hung.
INDONESIAN: Mata lele, Kayu apu dadak, Kakarewoan.
JAPANESE: A-aka-ukikusa.
THAI: Nae daeng.

Azolla pinnata is an aquatic, free-floating, and clump-forming macrophyte, with short branches and slender roots. Leaves are 2-lobed and in two rows; one of the lobes afloat, about 1.5 millimeters, the other submerged and larger. Leaves are 1 to 2 millimeters long, green, blue-green to dark-red in color, coated by tiny hairs that imparts a velvety appearance and provides water-repellency which help keep the plant afloat.

- Found throughout the Philippines.
- In stagnant waters like pools and ponds.
- Native to much of Africa and Asia from China to Japan, India, Brunei.
- Widely distributed in southeast Asia, throughout the Pacific including Australia and New Zealand.

- Study of sun-dried Azolla pinnata for nutritive value as feed yielded dry matter (DM) of 89.73%, organic matter 75.73%, crude protein 23.49%, crude fiber 14.7%, ether extract 3.7%, total ash 24.26%, acid insoluble ash 7.94%, calcium 2.58%, and phosphorus 0.26%. (see study below) (5)
- Study of total phenolic content was 95.25 µg GAE/mg extract while total flavonoid content was 41.13 µg CE/mg extract. (see study below) (6)
- Phytochemical evaluation of various extracts yielded phenols, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, carboxylic acids, carbohydrates. Aqueous extracts demonstrated higher phytoconstituents, followed by acetone, benzene, chloroform and ethanol. (11)

- Studies have shown biosorbent, phytoremediative, antioxidant, antibacterial activities.


- In the Philippines, reported use by farmers as ingredient to salads, pinangat, mungo and omelet dishes. (15)
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
- Fodder / Feedstuff: Studies have shown enormous potential as livestock feed.
In Asia and parts of Africa, used to feed pigs, ducks, chickens, cattle, fish, sheep, goats and rabbits. (8) Study showed Azolla meal has potential as feedstuff for chicks, with chick diets formulated with inclusion of AZM up to 10%. (14) Deficiencies in methionine, histidine and fiber make A. pinnata unfit as sole feed for animals; however, amino acid composition compares well with reference protein sources, with lysine content more that twice that of maize. (15)

Adsorbent / Methyl Violet:
Study evaluated the potential of Azolla pinnata as adsorbent for methyl violet. Results suggest that asola has great potential as a low-cost adsorbent for the removal of methyl violet in real life application. (3)
Removal of Lead and Zinc from Polluted Water: Study evaluated the uptake of lead and zinc by Azolla pinnata (water velvet) in solutions enriched with 1.0, 2.0, 4.0, and 8.0 mg/l of the two metal ions. Uptake of both metal ions was highest at initial concentration of 1.0 mg/l. The effect of metal ions on biomass growth was also studies. (4)
Rhizofiltration of Pb: Study showed the potential of Azolla pinnata to remove Pb(II) from aqueous environment through rhizofiltration, one of the phytoremediation strategies. Results showed A. pinnata is a suitable candidate for removal of Pb from polluted waterways. (7)
Potent Feed Source for Livestock: Chemical analysis showed sun dried azolla is rich in crude protein content and has a potential as natural protein source for livestock feed. (see constituents above) (5) Enormous potential as livestock feed due to its high nutritive value (high proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, growth promoter intermediaries), its ability to proliferate without inorganic nitrogen fertilization, and its high rate of growth in water without displacing existing crops or natural ecological systems. (8)
Comparative Antioxidant Activity: Study evaluated the antioxidant potential of two Azolla species: A. pinnata and A. rubra by DPPH free radical scavenging assay and Ferric reducing assay. Azolla pinnata extract exhibited marked radical scavenging and reducing potential compared to A. rubra. Higher antioxidant efficacy was attributed to the higher content of total phenolics and flavonoids. Ascorbic acid was used as standard. (see constituents above) (6)
Anticaries Activity: Study investigated the anticaries activity of two Azolla species viz., A. pinnata and A. rubra. Inhibitory activity of methanolic extract was tested against six oral isolates of Streptococcus mutans. While the isolates were susceptible to both extracts, A. pinnata displayed higher inhibitory effect as evidenced by wider inhibition zones and low MIC values. Results suggest potential use in the treatment of dental caries. (9)
Alternate Protein Supplement to Ruminants: Study showed Azolla to be a good source of protein supplement with 21.37% crude protein with highest B protein fractions, moderate source of energy (1759 kcal ME/kg), high dry matter and organic matter digestibilities, and rich in trace minerals. (10)
Fertilizer Alternative and Additive: Nitrogen fertilizer recovery by lowland rice can be as low as 10% and rarely exceeds 60%. Azolla contributes to the nitrogen (N) nutrition of rice plant through biological N fixation. Study assessed the influence of A. pinnata on floodwater chemistry, rice yield, total dry matter and N uptake of rice. Results conclude Azolla brought an additive effect and has potential as efficient fertilizer alternative or supplement in rice cropping system in Dano. (13)


Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

October 2016

IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph / Azolla / © Akhilesh Kumar / click on image to go to source page / Feedipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: / File:Azolla pinnata2.jpg / Tpa2067 / Français : Azolla pinnata à Antananarivo / GNU Free Documentation License / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Azolla pinnata / The Plant List

Azolla pinnata / Wikipedia
Azolla pinnata: An Efficient Low Cost Material for Removal of Methyl Violet 2B by Using Adsorption Method / Muhammad Raziq Rahimi Kooh, Linda B. L. Lim, Muhammad Khairud Dahri, Lee Hoon Lim, J. M. R. Sarath Bandara / Waste and Biomass Valorization, August 2015, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 547–559 / doi:10.1007/s12649-015-9369-0
Azolla pinnata r.br. and lemna minor l. for removal of lead and zinc from polluted water / S.K. Jain, P. Vasudevan, N.K. Jha / Water Research, Volume 24, Issue 2, February 1990, Pages 177-183
A study on the nutritive value of Azolla pinnata / Cherryl DM*, RMV Prasad, S JagadeeswaraRao, P Jayalaxmi and D Srinivas Kumar / Livestock Research International, January-March, 2014, Vol 2, Issue 1, Pages 13-15
Antioxidant Activity of Azolla Pinnata and Azolla Rubra- A Comparative Study / Noor Nawaz A.S, Syed Junaid, Dileep N, Rakesh K.N, Prashith Kekuda T.R* / Sch. Acad. J. Biosci., 2014; 2(10): 719-723
Rhizofiltration of Pb by Azolla pinnata / Thayaparan.M, Iqbal.S.S, Chathuranga.P.K.D, Iqbal.M.C.M / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES Volume 3, No 6, 2013
Livestock feed / Azolla Foundation
Anticaries Activity of Azolla pinnata and Azolla rubra / Prashith Kekuda T.R / Science, Technology and Arts Research Journal, 3(3): pp 119-121, November 2014 / DOI: 10.4314/star.v3i3.21
Heavy Metal Accumulation by Azolla pinnata of Dal Lake Ecosystem, India / Nuzhat Shafi*, Ashok K. Pandit, Azra N. Kamili, Basharat Mushtaq / Journal of Environment Protection and Sustainable Development, Vol 1, No 1 (2015)
Phytochemical studies on Azolla pinnata R. Br., Marsilea minuta L. and Salvinia molesta Mitch / Muraleedharannair Jalajakumari Mithraja, Johnson Marimuthu Antonisamy*, Mony Mahesh, Zachariah Miller Paul, Solomon Jeeva / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2011) S26-S29
The Influenec of Azolla pinnata on Floodwater Chemistry, Grain Yield and Nitrogen Uptake of Rice in Dano, Southwestern Burkina Faso / Benedicta Y. Fosu-Mensah, Paul L. G. Vlek, Günther Manske, Michael Mensah / Journal of Agricultural Science, Vool 7, No 8 (2015)
Chemical Composition and the Feeding Value of Azolla (Azolla pinnata) Meal for Egg-Type Chicks
/ O.A. Alalade and E.A. Iyayi / International Journal of Poultry Science 5 (2): 137-141, 2006
Azolla pinnata (PROSEA) / Pl@ntUse

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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