Azolla nutritional values

The following nutritional values for fresh and dry Azolla as a livestock feed are from Feedipedia: ‘an on-line encyclopedia of animal feeds’.

Feedipedia is an open access information system on animal feed resources that provides information on nature, occurrence, chemical composition, nutritional value and safe use of nearly 1400 worldwide livestock feeds.

Feedipedia is a joint project of INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, French National Institute for Agricultural Research), CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement, French Agricultural Research Center for International Development, AFZ (Association Française de Zootechnie, French Association for Animal Production) and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations).

The main objective of Feedipedia is to provide extension and development workers, planners, project formulators, livestock farmers, science managers, policy makers, students and researchers with the latest scientific information to help them identify, characterize and properly use feed resources to sustainably develop the livestock sector. This is particularly important in emerging and developing countries where feed resources available locally are often under-utilized due to lack of information. Providing global knowledge on feed resources, including unconventional and lesser known ones, contributes to the development and use of innovative and appropriate feeding options and strategies.

Feedipedia’s datasheets contain the following information:

  • Feed names, including vernacular and scientific names
  • Description of the plants or plant parts/products used as feed
  • Feeding recommendations for the main livestock species: cattle, sheep, goats, camels, poultry, pigs, rabbits, horses, fish and crustaceans
  • Tables of composition and nutritive value
  • Illustrations, including photos and processing charts
  • Distribution and basic agronomic information
  • Forage management
  • Processes for improving nutritional value
  • Potential constraints such as presence of anti-nutritional and toxic factors
  • Environmental impact of the production and use of feeds

Feedipedia can be contacted here.


The values below from Feedipedia are for fresh Azolla:

Main analysisUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb
Dry matter% as fed6.
Crude protein% DM20.63.513.928.115
Crude fibre% DM153.511.322.89
NDF *% DM43.85.935.452.36
ADF **% DM31.86.42438.95
Lignin% DM11.41.79.313.55
Ether extract% DM3.
Ash% DM15.93.59.821.612
Starch (polarimetry)% DM4.12.75.52
Gross energyMJ/kg DM17*
Calciumg/kg DM114.15.8178
Phosphorusg/kg DM6.15.50.315.511
Potassiumg/kg DM17.43.710.922.57
Sodiumg/kg DM94.32.812.54
Magnesiumg/kg DM50.83.96.15
Manganesemg/kg DM76243820814295
Zincmg/kg DM382811775
Coppermg/kg DM16710285
Ironmg/kg DM3900379471182005
Amino acidsUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb
Alanine% protein6.415.37.43
Arginine% protein5.
Aspartic acid% protein9.318.210.33
Cystine% protein1.
Glutamic acid% protein12.6111.613.53
Glycine% protein5.
Histidine% protein2.
Isoleucine% protein4.
Leucine% protein8.41.279.23
Lysine% protein4.
Methionine% protein1.
Phenylalanine% protein5.
Proline% protein4.
Serine% protein4.
Threonine% protein4.70.745.33
Tryptophan% protein1.8 1.522
Tyrosine% protein3.
Valine% protein5.
Ruminant nutritive valuesUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb
OM digestibility, ruminants (gas production)%641
ME ruminants (gas production)MJ/kg DM7.41
Pig nutritive valuesUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb
Energy digestibility, growing pig%63.41
DE growing pigMJ/kg DM10.41

KEY: Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used.

* NDF: fraction of the cell walls considered to be roughly equivalent to hemicellulose, true cellulose and lignin.

** ADF: Acid Detergent Fiber, fraction of the cell walls according to Van Soest, considered to be roughly equivalent to true cellulose and lignin.


AFZ, 2011. io – La Banque de données de l’Alimentation Animale / French feed database. Association Française de Zootechnie

Becerra, M. ; Murgueitio, E. ; Reyes, G. ; Preston, T. R., 1990. Azolla filiculoides as partial replacement for traditional protein supplements in diets for growing fattening pigs based on sugar cane juice. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 2 (2): 15-22

Buckingham, K. W. ; Ela, S. W. ; Morris, J. G. ; Goldman, C. R., 1978. Nutritive value of the nitrogen-fixing aquatic fern Azolla filiculoides. J. Agric. Food Chem., 26 (5): 1230-1234.

CIRAD, 1991. Laboratory data 1963-1991. CIRAD

Huggins, D., 2007. Evaluation of Azolla plant as an alternative stockfeed source. 13th December 2007 Prepared For: Goulburn Broken Catchment Authority.

Leterme, P. ; Londoño, A. M. ; Muñoz, J. E. ; Suarez, J. ; Bedoya, C. A. ; Souffrant, W. E. ; Buldgen, A., 2009. Nutritional value of aquatic ferns (Azolla filiculoides Lam. and Salvinia molesta Mitchell) in pigs. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 149 (1-2):135-148.

Ly, J. ; Pok Samkol ; Preston, T. R., 2002. Nutritional evaluation of aquatic plants for pigs: pepsin/pancreatin digestibility of six plant species. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 14 (1): 1-6

Malek, M. A. ; Khan, M. J. ; Islam, K. M. S., 2008. Nutritional improvement of ensiled rice straw through supplementation of urea, molasses, soybean seed meal and aquatic plants. Indian J. Anim. Sci., 78 (12): 1404-1407.

Murthy, T. N. K. ; Ashok, M. ; Thirumalesh, T. ; Umesh, B. U. ; Nataraju, O. R., 2013. Effect of partial replacement of Azolla for concentrate supplement on lactating crossbred cows. Environment and Ecology, 31 (2): 415-417.

Parashuramulu, S. ; Swain, P. S. ; Nagalakshmi, D., 2013. Protein fractionation and in vitro digestibility of Azolla in ruminants. Online J. Anim. Feed Res. (OJAFR), 3 (3): 129-132.

Pozy, P. ; Dehareng, D., 1996. Composition et valeur nutritive des aliments pour animaux au Burundi. Institut des Sciences Agronomiques, Atelier du Burundi / Université Catholique de Louvain / Université du Burundi – Publication Agricole n°37.


The values below are for dried Azolla:

Main analysisUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb 
Dry matter% as fed91.91.988.694.98 
Crude protein% DM21.55.310.731.818 
Crude fibre% DM16.14.37.324.317 
NDF *% DM49.58.336.962.19 
ADF **% DM40.410.824.556.89 
Lignin% DM8.9 4.513.22 
Ether extract% DM3. 
Ash% DM19.25.81136.118 
Gross energyMJ/kg DM16.4     
Calciumg/kg DM12.51.610.814.34 
Phosphorusg/kg DM6.752.112.94 
Potassiumg/kg DM12.5   1 
Sodiumg/kg DM0   1 
Magnesiumg/kg DM3.5   1 
Manganesemg/kg DM174   1 
Zincmg/kg DM88   1 
Coppermg/kg DM17   1 
Ironmg/kg DM756   1 
Amino acidsUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb 
Alanine% protein5.8   1 
Arginine% protein6.41.558.98 
Aspartic acid% protein8.3   1 
Cystine% protein0.9 0.80.92 
Glutamic acid% protein9.6   1 
Glycine% protein4.9 4.65.22 
Histidine% protein1. 
Isoleucine% protein3. 
Leucine% protein8.71.47.411.48 
Lysine% protein5. 
Methionine% protein1.5 1.51.62 
Phenylalanine% protein4.7 4.64.72 
Proline% protein4   1 
Serine% protein4.1 44.22 
Threonine% protein4. 
Tryptophan% protein1.2 0.51.82 
Tyrosine% protein3.1 33.22 
Valine% protein4. 
Poultry nutritive valuesUnitAvgSDMinMaxNb
AMEn broilerMJ/kg DM4.4   1

KEY: Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used.

* NDF: fraction of the cell walls considered to be roughly equivalent to hemicellulose, true cellulose and lignin.

** ADF: Acid Detergent Fiber, fraction of the cell walls according to Van Soest, considered to be roughly equivalent to true cellulose and lignin.


Alalade, O. A. ; Iyyar, E. A., 2006. Chemical composition and the feeding value of Azolla (Azolla pinnata) meal for egg-type chicks. Int. J. Poult. Sci., 5 (2): 137-141.

Ali, M. A. ; Leeson, S., 1995. The nutritive value of some indigenous Asian poultry feed ingredients. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 55 (3-4): 227-237.

Basak, B. ; Pramanik, A. H. ; Rahman, M. S. ; Tarafdar, S. U. ; Roy, B. C., 2002. Azolla (Azolla pinnata) as a feed ingredient in broiler ration. Int. J. Poult. Sci., 1 (1/3): 29-34.

Basak et al., 2002; Datta et al., 2011; Domínguez et al., 1996; Gavina, 1994; Khatun et al., 1999; Kumar et al., 2012; Leterme et al., 2010; Naegel, 1997; Namra et al., 2010.

Datta, S. N., 2011. Culture of Azolla and its efficacy in diet of Labeo rohita. Aquaculture, 310 (3/4): 376-379.

Domínguez, P. L. ; Molinet, Y. ; Ly, J., 1996. Ileal and in vitro digestibility in the pig of three floating aquatic macrophytes. Livest. Res. Rural Dev., 8 (4).

Gavina, L. D., 1994. Pig-duck-fish-azolla integration in La Union, Philippines. NAGA, The ICLARM Quarterly, 17 (2): 18-20.

Khatun, A. ; Ali, M. A. ; Dingle, J. G., 1999. Comparison of the nutritive value for laying hens of diets containing azolla (Azolla pinnata) based on formulation using digestible protein and digestible amino acid versus total protein and total amino acid. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 81: 43-46.

Kumar, D. S. ; Prasad, R. M. V. ; Kishore, K. R. ; Rao, E. R., 2012. Effect of Azolla (Azolla pinnata) based concentrate mixture on nutrient utilization in buffalo bulls. Indian J. Anim. Res., 46 (3): 268-271.

Leterme, P. ; Londoño, A. M. ; Ordoñez, D. C. ; Rosalesa, A. ; Estrada, F. ; Bindelle, J. ; Buldgen, A., 2010. Nutritional value and intake of aquatic ferns (Azolla filiculoides Lam. and Salvinia molesta Mitchell.) in sows. Anim. Feed Sci. Technol., 155 (1): 55–64.

Naegel, L. C. A., 1997. Azolla meal as a supplemental feed ingredient for tilapias. In: Fitzsimmons, K. (ed.) Proceedings from the Fourth International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture. Northeast Regional Agriculture Engineering Service, Ithaca, New York, pp. 20–30.

Namra, M. M. M. ; Hataba, N. A. ; Wahed, H. M. A., 2010. The productive performance of growing fayoumi chicks fed restricted diets supplemented with free fresh azolla. Egypt. Poult. Sci. J., 30 (3): 747-762.

Share Button