Free Nutrition Newsletter - Exclusive Health Tips for Indians Close

Spirulina - Introduction

Spirulina is a human and animal food or nutritional supplement made primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.

Spirulina is a cyanobacterium has been used as food for centuries by different populations and only rediscovered in recent years. It grows naturally in the alkaline waters of lakes in warm regions. It exists in the form of tiny green filaments coiled in spirals of varying tightness and number, depending on the strain.

A number of features from the nutritional standpoint have been demonstrated: a balanced protein composition, and the presence of rare essential lipids, numerous minerals and even vitamin B12.

The cell walls of Spirulina are similar to that of Gram-positive bacteria, since they consist of glucosamines and muramic acid associated with peptides. Although not digestible, these walls are fragile and make the cell content readily accessible to digestive enzymes. This is a major advantage in comparison to organisms with cellulosic cell walls like yeast and chlorella.

Spirulina is a human and animal food or nutritional supplement made primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.

1kg of Spirulina has the same nutrients found in about 1000 kgs of assorted vegetables

Spirulina Application

"Spirulina spp. and its processing products are employed in agriculture, food industry, pharmaceutics, perfumery and medicine. Spirulina has several pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial (including antiviral and antibacterial), anticancer, metalloprotective (prevention of heavy-metal poisoning against Cd, Pb, Fe, Hg).

Spirulina Production

"Spirulina ( Arthospira sp) used for the production of single" cell protein. The commercial producers of Spirulina are located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Pakistan, Burma and Chile.

Spirulina Composition

    Spirulina contains about 60% (51-71%) protein of its dry weight. The protein content varies by 10-15% according to the time of harvesting in relation to daylight.

Cultivation and Growth Requirements

"The optimum temperature for growth is 35oC, but above 38oC spirulina is in danger. Growth only takes place in light (photosynthesis), but illumination 24 hours a day is not recommended.

Spirulina – Facts & Factoids

"Spirulina is not considered to be a reliable source of Vitamin B12. The standard B12 assay, using Lactobacillus leichmannii, shows spirulina to be a minimal source of bioavailable vitamin B12.

Spirulina – Market

"Spirulina is now commercially available in tablet or powder form. During 1970-1980, at the time when spirulina was launched on the market, the market for food supplements was not organised and regulated as is the case today.

Related Links