Is duckweed from London canals the next superfood?

Experts warn people not to try it for themselves just yet

Duckweed from London's Canals Could Be the New Superfood

Forget Amazonian acai or Himalayan goji berries, the latest superfood could come from a much less exotic location. But if you balk at the idea of drinking beetroot juice, you probably won't be first in the queue for a bowl of duckweed harvested from London's canal water.

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Prolific aquatic weed
The small aquatic plant is capable of doubling in size in 24 hours and is prolific on the surface of the capital's canals. It will also be a familiar sight to pond-owners everywhere.

It currently has to be skimmed off and disposed of, but now – due to its high protein content - it is being investigated as a potential replacement for soy in our foods.

It is claimed to be composed of up to 43 per cent protein – along with vitamins C, A, B6, and Niacin.
The Wellcome Trust – based near the Regents Canal in London – is sponsoring Dutch scientists to look into its potential as a human food.

Eastern promise
One genus of the plant is already widely eaten in Thailand, where it is grown in clean water, with its flavour being compared to sweet cabbage.

But a word of warning before you head down to your local canal: it's not yet known whether duckweed is actually fit for human consumption.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: "Don't eat it, don't fish it out of your canal, not the garden pond. Not from anywhere.

"We don't know if it's safe, we're still doing the studies. We also don't know if humans can digest it, so until we have the evidence – don't eat it."