They all fall into the amorphous category of superfoods, those nutritionally-dense comestibles that tend to splash on to the scene and suddenly appear on every menu. While all nutritious to be sure, superfoods do frequently ride onto the scene on a wave of hype that can lead to overstated claims.
But what if there was a foodstuff that could really deliver when it comes to packing in the protein, vitamins and fiber we all need? What if there was a plentiful and easy way to cultivate plants with the potential to efficiently feed our growing global population?
Meet the Duckweeds. This adorably-named family of aquatic plants, also known as bayroot or watermeal, can be found floating atop still or slow-moving bodies of the world over. And, the world’s largest collection of duckweed specimens and strains can be found at Rutgers University, where biologist Eric Lam is spearheading an investigation into the plant.
Already a popular food in Southwest Asia, duckweed is a potent source of protein, which accounts for 40 percent of its dry weight, outpacing even soybeans. It also has the distinction of being the fastest growing plant in the world. All this means that with a little work, duckweed could soon become a powerhouse crop.