Effects of Formulation of Soilless Growth Media from Azolla Pinnata sp on Water Absorption, Water Loss, and Water Retention


  • ROSNAH SHAMSUDIN Department of Process and Food Engineering, Engineering Faculty, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. Institute of Advanced Technology, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 UPM, Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia. http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4849-9675
  • SUSILAWATI KASIM Department of Land Management, Agriculture Faculty, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Malaysia. http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0997-6643
  • MUHAMMAD AMMAR SYAHEED RAHMAT Department of Process and Food Engineering, Engineering Faculty, Universiti Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia.




Most plants require soil as a growth media. Soilless media has been introduced to overcome the lack of soil for plant cultivations. An Azolla cube was developed as soilless growth media with nutrient-rich and water-storing capabilities through the usage of Azolla pinnata sp. Azolla cube is a new research product, providing an alternative to the existing products, such as Midorie Pafcal and Jiffy-7 pellets. This research introduced four samples of Azolla cubes at different formulations to evaluate the performance of the cubes on water absorption, water loss, and water retention. This product was developed by using two types of binder method: tapioca starch (Cassava starch) and Bentonite clay. Based on the results, sample C held an estimation of 5.94 g ± 0.01 of 10 g of water within 6 hours at room temperature while that of Sample A, B, and D was 5.45 g ± 0.01, 3.37 g ± 0.01, and 4.70 g ± 0.01, respectively. Sample C also lost an estimation of 2.56 g ± 0.01 of water within 2 days of observation. The results also showed that sample C had the highest percentage of moisture content (15.4%) after undergoing four stages of applied pressure, 0 kPa, 1 kPa, 33 kPa, and 1500 kPa, for the water retention test, in which the value of water movement remained constant. In conclusion, Azolla cube was shown to be capable of providing the nutrients needed for plants and absorbing more water compared to the current products.


Ahmad, Ghias-ud-din., (1941). Effect of light intensity and temperatures on the growth of Azolla filiculoides. J. Indian Bot. (20), 213–226.

Ashton, P.J. (1974). Effect of some environmental factors on the growth of Azolla filiculoides Lam. In: Orange River Progress Report, pp. 124–138. Inst. for Environmental Sci., Univ. O.F.S. Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Beaumont, J.H. and F.A.K.Bowers., (1954). Inter-relationships of fertilization, potting media and shading on Cattleya orchids. Proc. Fla. State Hawaii Agr. Expt. Sta. Tech. Paper 334:16

Bekker, A., Holland, H. D., et.al. (2004). Dating the rise of atmospheric oxygen. Nature, 427(6970), 117-120. doi:10.1038/nature02260

Cibes, H.R., et. al. (1949). Vanilla: Physiological studies. Puerto Rico (Mayaguez) Fed. Expt. Sta. Rpt. 1946. p. 36-38.

Davidson, (1960). Principles of orchid nutrition. Proc. Third World Orchid Conf. p. 224- 233.

Davidson, O.W. (1957). New orchid potting medium lowers cost of production. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bul. 26:409-411

Fennell, T. (1951). Food for thought on orchid feeding. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bul. 20:455-459.

G. M. Wagner, “Azolla: a review of its biology and utilization,” Botanical Review, vol. 63, no. 1, pp. 1–26, 1997.

Han, X., et. al., (2019). Growing seasonal characteristics of soil and plants control the temporal patterns of bacterial communities following afforestation. Catena, 178, 288-297.


Hossiny H, et.al., (2008). Using of silage Azolla in Guilan male calves nutrition. Proceedings of Third National Congress of Recycling and Reuse of Reneweable Organic Resources in Agriculture Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan branch (Isfshan) Agricultural faculty, waste and water research centre.

Hill, D.J. (1975). The pattern of development of Anabaena in the Azolla Anabaena.Planta 122, 179–184.

Hillel, D. (1980). Fundamentals of Soil Physics. San Diego, CA: Academic Press

Indira D, Sarjan RK, Suresh J, Venugopal N.K, Ravi A., (2009) Azolla (Azolla pinnata) as feed supplement in Buffalo calves on Growth performance. Indian Journal of Animal

Liu, K. (2019). Effects of sample size, dry ashing temperature and duration on the determination of ash content in algae and other biomass. Algal Research, 40, 101486. doi:10.1016/j.algal.2019.101486

Lunt, O. R. and A.M. Kofranek., (1961). Exploratory nutritional studies on Cymbidium using two textures of fir bark. Amer. Orchid Soc. Bul. 30:297-302.

Nimmo, J. R., (1991). Comment on the treatment of residual water content in “A consistent set of parametric models for the two-phase flow of immiscible fluids in the subsurface”, by L. Luckner, et al. Water Resour. Res. 27:661–662.

Markosa et. al., (2018). Determination of water retention characteristics of perlite and peat. doi:10.17707/AgriculForest.64.3.10

Poole, H.A and T.J. Sheehan. (1970). Effects of levels of phosphorus and potassium on growth, composition and incidence of leaf-tip die-back in Cattleya orchids. Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 83:465-469.

Prabina BJ, Kumar K., (2010) .Dried Azolla as a nutritionally rich cost effective and immuno-modulatory feed supplement for broilers. The Asian Journal of Animal Science 5: 20-22.

Sadek MF, et. al., (2010). Using of azolla silage in growing rabbits feeding. Egyptian Journal of Rabbit Science 20: 67-82.

Scully, R. M. (1951). Should orchids be fertilized? Amer. Orchid Soc. Bul. 20:137-139

Sheehan, T.J. (1961). Effects of nutrition and potting media on growth and flowering of certain epiphytic orchids. Amer.Orchid Soc. Bul. 30:289-292.

Silvester, W. B. (1977). Dinitrogen fixation by plant associations excluding legumes. Page 141in R.W. F. Hardy & A. H. Gibson (eds.), A treatise on dinitrogen fixation: Section IV, agronomy and ecology. Wiley-Inter Science, New York.

T. A. Lumpkin and D. L. Plucknett, Azolla, (1982) as a Green Manure: Use and Management in Crop Production, Westview, Boulder, Colo, USA, 1982.

Watanabe, (1982). “Azolla–Anabaena symbiosis–its physiology and use in tropical agriculture, in Microbiology of Tropical Soils and Plant Productivity, Y. R. Dommergues and H. S. Diem, Eds., pp. 169–185, Martinus Nijhoff, The Ague, The Netherlands, 1982.