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Regent's Canal towpath
© Sara Melhuish

Forget kale – duckweed from London's canals could be the next superfood

Isabelle Aron

Anyone for a duckweed smoothie? We wish we were joking. Apparently the green sludge growing on the surface of the water in London's canals could join the ranks of quinoa, kale and avocados as the next superfood. 

Sure, duckweed doesn't sound particularly appetising, but scientists from The Welcome Trust in Euston are currently investigating whether it could be used as a high-protein soy replacement.

But before you go collecting up duckweed to stick in your Nutribullet, there's one tiny hitch: it might not be edible. A spokesperson from the trust said: 'It is not a given that it’s edible. There are places in Southeast Asia where it is eaten but it is grown there in very different environments.' Even if it turns out it is edible, the trust will need to test whether or not humans can access the protein. 

Tim Mulligan, who works for Canal & River Trust, said he sees plenty of ducks tucking into duckweed but he hoped nobody would be 'foolish enough to eat it from the canals here in London'. Better stick to kale, then.

Want to go on the hunt for duckweed? Go for a walk around London's canal system


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