Development of sustainable high protein food from duckweed plant: a solution to protein-energy malnutrition in Nigeria


GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Round 3





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About the project

UK-registered Partner: University of Leeds – Idolo Ifie
Africa-registered Partner: Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Nigeria & LAUTECH Bakery – Islamiyat Bolarinwa

Traditionally, humans have relied on animal foods as their main source of protein. Animal proteins are, however, becoming more expensive and consequently unaffordable by majority of the Nigerian consumers, and being accessible only to the rich leaving low income families to suffer.

This is a major contributing factor to the problem of protein-energy malnutrition in Nigeria. Moreover, due to the impact of climate change on agriculture and the greenhouse gas emissions of animal proteins being twice as high as that of plant based counterparts, there is an urgent need to shift to plant protein sources globally.

This project aimed to produce high protein food from duckweed, which is an aquatic plant with protein contents of 35 – 43%. The project successfully processed duckweed into ready-to-use powder/protein isolate and fortified staple food (bread) and snack (cookies) with the powder/isolate to provide a cheap source of high quality protein in the diet and reduce protein-energy malnutrition.

Duckweed fortified cookies and bread samples were rich in nutrients and were accepted by consumers. Market survey of the products showed that consumers are willing to purchase the products. The project also embed new scientific knowledge on various methods of isolating duckweed protein.

Data provided on the production of the fortified foods from different blends will also serve as baseline data for further research on functional foods from duckweed. The project will contribute towards Nigeria’s sustainable economic development through the production of nutritious foods that can reduce protein-energy malnutrition among the citizens.

Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.


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