Heartland woman finds new uses for invasive plant - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Heartland woman finds new uses for invasive plant

Tamra Fakhoorian grows duckweed and has found uses for it in animal food. Tamra Fakhoorian grows duckweed and has found uses for it in animal food.
GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) -

Duckweed is that really small, leaf-like plant that pops up near the surface of shallow, still bodies of water.

Most people call it invasive because it can take over a pond in just a few days.

"Most people are used to seeing a very clear surface on a pond," said Tamara Fakhoorian. "They like the sparkle of the water and they want to be able to fish, or swim or whatever. So that's why when people see duckweed starting to grow, maybe along the shoreline they think 'uh oh this is bad.'"

But as a duckweed entrepreneur, Fakhoorian said it is a rather unique plant that has a lot of applications.

"Duckweed can be used for a wide variety of animal feeds, and it can also be used for bio energy, bioplastics. It can even be used for human food," Fakhoorian said.

Fakhoorian said she is one of the few people in America that purposely grows duckweed.

She said she got interested in the science of water at an early age.

But duckweed offers something for people that a lot of plants can't.

"I wanted something that the poorest people on the planet could grow easily and harvest easily to use to benefit their animals or themselves," she said.

Fakhoorian said duckweed can actually produce 10 times the amount of protein per acre than soy beans.

She produces the duckweed to be used in animal feed.

Fakhoorian said she even eats the plant.

She said it tastes like a mixture of lettuce and cabbage, with a hint of spinach.

Fakhoorian is hosting a duckweed open house on Sept. 13, to teach people how they can grow and use the plant.

If you're interested in the event, click here to RSVP. 

Copyright 2014 KFVS. All rights reserved.

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