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International Journal of Agronomy
Volume 2010, Article ID 152158, 5 pages
Research Article

Azolla-Anabaena as a Biofertilizer for Rice Paddy Fields in the Po Valley, a Temperate Rice Area in Northern Italy

Department of Crop Science, Milan University, Via G. Celoria, 2-20133 Milan, Italy

Received 11 September 2009; Revised 5 January 2010; Accepted 24 February 2010

Academic Editor: Jagdish K. Ladha

Copyright © 2010 Stefano Bocchi and Antonino Malgioglio. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Azolla is a floating pteridophyte, which contains as endosymbiont the nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Anabaena azollae (Nostocaceae family). Widely cultivated in the Asian regions, Azolla is either incorporated into the soil before rice transplanting or grown as a dual crop along with rice. To examine the feasibility of its use in flooded rice fields sited in the Temperate European Areas, we carried out a series of experiments in PVC tanks during 2000–2002 in Po Valley (northern Italy) conditions, to study the growth-development dynamics and the resistance/tolerance to low temperatures and to commonly used herbicides of several different Azolla strains. Three out of five strains tested survived the winter, with an increase in biomass from March to May producing approximately 30–40 kg  h a 1 of nitrogen. One of these strains, named “Milan”, emerged as the most resistant to herbicide and the most productive. Of the herbicides tested, Propanil permitted the survival of growing Azolla.