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Eco Techniques Fertiliser » Azolla

Azolla

Azolla is a dichotomously branched free-floating aquatic fern, which naturally available on moist soils ditches marshy ponds. The dorsal lobe, which remains exposed to air, is having a specific cavity containing its symbiotic partner, a Blue Green Algae (BGA), the Anabaena Azolae. The fern is capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in the soil I the form of NH4+ and becomes available as a soluble nitrogen

Azolla multiplies rapidly and form a green mat like a carpet on water surface of ponds in just two weeks. This green Azolla is harvested in bamboo basket and transferred and released in the transplanted rice field for further multiplication, as dual cropping with rice for fixing nitrogen to rice crop. Harvested green Azolla could be converted in to compost by pounding in pits for a month which is then used like FYM for other crops grown under upland situation. About 2kg of soil in the azolla bed is almost equal to about 1 kg of commercial NPK fertilizer after six months.

On dry weight basis Azolla contains the following chemical compositions:
Protein: 25 - 35 %
Nitrogen: 5.0 %
Phosphorous: 0.5 %
Potassium: 2.0-4.5 %
Calcium: 0.1-1.0 %
Magnesium: 0.65 %
Manganese : 0.16 %
Iron: 0.26 %
Crude Fat: 3.0-3.3 %
Sugar: 3.4-3.5 %
Starch: 6.5 %
Chlorophyll: 0.34-0.55 %
Ash 10.0 %


Azolla is rich in almost all essential amino acids, vitamin A, vitamin B-complex, beta-carotene and minerals viz. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper and magnesium Fresh azolla collected can be mixed with commercial feed in the ratio 1:1 or given directly to livestock. It was found that the milk production in cattle increased by 10-12 per cent when they were fed with azolla and there was 20-25 per cent savings on buying commercial feeds.

Azolla can also be fed to poultry birds. It was observed that the birds grew faster and there was 10-12 per cent increase in their total body weight compared to the birds, which were given only normal diet. The egg yolk increased and the eggshell colour became glossy in appearance. In addition the azolla bed acts as a rain harvesting station and live mulch for the fields. We can provide azolla and its cultivation consultancy for our clients. For more information please write to info@harithaorganicfarms.com.