Enviro Friendly Spirulina

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There are many advantages to the cultivation of Spirulina:

  • Spirulina does not need fertile land for cultivation and therefore conserves fertile land and soil.
  • Spiruilna has over 60 % protein that is higher than any other food besides benefits of rapid growth and higher yield.
  • Spirulina requires less energy input per kilo than soy, corn, or bovine protein. As cheap energy sources are depleted, costs of energy dependent foods will rise up with energy prices .
  • Spirulina uses less water per kilo of protein than other foods as the water is recycled back to the ponds after harvesting .
  • Spirulina is a big oxygen producer that is even more efficient than trees and forests to absorb Carbon dioxide and release Oxygen.
  • Spirulina production uses non-fertile land and brackish water and is a potent remedy to deforestation to cultivate food. As people eat lower on the food chain, the pressures to destroy wilderness can be halted and help re-green our planet.
  • Spirulina has no externalized hidden costs in terms of depletion of fresh water, fertile top soil and forests, pollution from pesticides, herbicides, and toxins. No long term medical costs from unhealthy foods with chemical additives.

Spiruilina Farm Environmentally Friendly

 

Historical Use of Spirulina

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND ON THE USE OF SPIRULINA AS HUMAN FOOD AND ANIMAL FEED 

In the sixteenth century, when the Spanish invaders conquered Mexico, they discovered that the Aztecs living in the Valley of Mexico in the capital Tenochtitlan were collecting a “new food” from the lake (Sasson, 1997). Spanish chroniclers described fishermen with fine nets collecting this blue coloured “techuitlatl” from the lagoons and making a blue-green cake from it. Other legends say Aztec messenger runners took spirulina on their marathons.

Aztecs harvesting Spirulina for Food

Techuitlatl was mentioned by naturalists until the end of the sixteenth century, but not after that, probably reflecting the loss of the lakes as they were drained for urban and agricultural development. The only remnant today, Lake Texcoco, still has a living algae spirulina population.


The Kanembu population living along the shores of Lake Chad collects the wet algae in clay pots, drain out the water through bags of cloth and spread out the algae in the sandy shore of the lake for sun drying.  The semi-dried algae is then cut into small squares and taken to the villages, where the drying is completed on mats in the sun (Abdulqader, Barsanti and Tredici, 2000). When dry, women take these algae cakes for sale in the local market. Dihé is  crumbled and mixed with a sauce of tomatoes and peppers, and poured over millet, beans, fish or meat and is eaten by the Kanembu in 70 percent of their meals (www.spirulinasource.com). Pregnant women eat dihé cakes directly because they believe its dark colour will screen their unborn baby from the eyes of sorcerers (Ciferri, 1983).

Spirulina is also applied externally as a poultice for treating certain diseases. Abdulqader, Barsanti and Tredici (2000) further noted  that the local trading value of the dihé annually harvested from Lake Kossorom in Chad (about 40 tonnes) amounts to more than US $100,000, which represents an important contribution to the economy of the area.

 

Rediscovery of Spirulina

In 1940, a French phycologist Dangeard published a report on the consumption of dihé by the Kanembu people near Lake Chad (Dangeard, 1940). Dangeard also noted these same algae populated a number of lakes in the Rift Valley of East Africa, and was the main food for the flamingos living around those lakes.

Twenty-five years later during 1964-65, a botanist on a Belgian Trans-Saharan expedition, Jean Léonard, reported finding a curious greenish, edible cakes  being sold in native markets of Fort-Lamy (now N’Djamena) in Chad (Léonard, 1966). When locals  said these cakes came from areas near Lake Chad, Léonard recognized the connection between the algal blooms and dried cakes sold in the market.

Kanembu women collect spirulina in Lake Chad 


In 1967 spirulina was established as a “wonderful future food source” in the International Association of Applied Microbiology (Sasson, 1997).  Analysis of the nutritional properties of spirulina showed first and foremost an exceptionally high protein content, of the order of 60–70 percent of its dry weight; it also showed the excellent quality of its proteins (balanced essential amino acid content). This first data was enough to launch many research projects for industrial purposes in the 1970s, because micro-organisms (yeast, chlorella, spirulina, some bacteria and moulds) seemed at that time to be the most direct route to inexpensive proteins – the iconic “single cell proteins”. 

At the same time when Léonard rediscovered spirulina in Africa, a request was received from a company named Sosa-Texcoco Ltd by the “Institut français du pétrole” to study a bloom of algae occurring in the evaporation ponds of their sodium bicarbonate production facility in a lake near Mexico City. As a result, the first systematic and detailed study of the growth requirements and physiology of spirulina was performed. This study, which was a part of Ph.D. thesis by Zarrouk (1966), was the basis for establishing the first large-scale production plant of spirulina (Sasson, 1997). 

 

While finally no micro-organism fulfilled its promise of cheap protein, spirulina continued to give rise to research and increasing production, reflecting its perceived nutritional assets (Falquet, 2000). Ref1.

 

Today, Spirulina is being produced in more than 22 countries and used in over 77 countries.

 While finally no micro-organism fulfilled its promise of cheap protein, spirulina continued to give rise to research and increasing production, reflecting its perceived nutritional assets (Falquet, 2000).

Today there is a thriving Spirulina economy throughout the world, publishing its own Algae Industry Magazine with Spirulina and other algaes now being considered for use in:

  • nutritional supplements
  • high end cosmetics
  • algal oils
  • water purification
  • algae biofuels

 

Ref. 1 This information is excerpted from the World Food And Agriculture Organization's Review On Culture, Production And Use Of Spirulina As Food For Humans And Feeds For Domestic Animals And Fish 

Habib, M.A.B.; Parvin, M.; Huntington, T.C.; Hasan, M.R.

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular. No. 1034. Rome, FAO. 2008. 33p.

 

 

 

Nutritional Profile of Spirulina

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Composition of Spirulina 

Protein about 60% ( 51 to 71 )
Carbohydrate about 14%
Lipids about 6%
Amino Acids
(essentials)
Spirulina
grams
Egg Protein
per 100 grams of
FAO Standard proteins
Isoleucine
Leucine
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Threonine
Tryptophane
Valine
6.4
10.4 
4.5 
2.2 
5.4 
5.4 
1.5 
7.5
5.8
9.0 < 
6.7 
3.0 
5.3 
5.3 
1.8 
7.2
4.0
7.0 
5.5 
5.5* 
6.0 
4.0 
1.0 
5.0

* includes cystine 
Table from Busson, F., Spirulina Platensis (Gom) Geitler et. Spirulina geitleri, J.Dr Toni, Cynophycées Alimentaires, Armée Française, Service de Santé, Parc de Pharo, Marseill,1971.


CarbohydratesPer 100 grams
Ramnose 9.0
Glucane 1.5
Phosphorolated Cyclitols 2.5
Glucosamine Muramic acid 2.0
Glycogen 0.5
Scialic acid and others 0.5
Lipids (Principal Ones)mg/Kg
Palmitic acid (saturated fatty acid) 16-,500 to 21,141
Linoleic acid (unsaturated FA) 10,920 to 13,784
Gamma linoleic acid (omega 6) 8,750 to 11,970
Alpha linolenic acid (omega 3) 699 to 7,000
Chlorophyll-a 6,100 to 7,600
Beta sitosterol 30 to 97
Beta carotene average 1,700
Vitaminsmg/Kg
Biotin 0.4
Cyanocobalmin ( B12 ) 0.45 ( analogs not included )
Delta-calcium Panthothenate 11.0
Folic acid 0.5
Inositol 350
Nicotinic acid ( PP ) 118<
Pyridoxine ( B6 ) 3
Riboflavine ( B2 ) 40
Thiamin ( B1 ) 55
Tocopherol ( E ) 190
Ascorbic acid ( C ) 90

Carbohydrates, Lipids, and Vitamins; Source- SOSA TEXCOCO, Mexico 

Safety of Spirulina

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Safety of Spirulina

Scientists have confirmed that spirulina has been safely consumed for hundreds of years by traditional peoples and shown nutritional and therapeutic health benefits. Most kinds of blue-green algae have not been subject to spirulina’s long safety testing. Hundreds of published scientific studies over the past thirty years have documented no toxicity.

Spirulina had three great advantages over other microalgae:

1.       Documented history of safe human consumption.

2.       Grows well in warm, highly alkaline and high pH water, and in those conditions can grow as a pure culture.

3.       With a long spiral shape filament, it is relatively easy to harvest.

However naturally grown Spirulina can be contaminated with microbes, heavy metals (including mercury, cadmium, lead, or arsenic), and radioactive divalent and trivalent metal ions. 

That is why it is important to obtain your Spirulina supplements from a reliable and ethical source.

Pure, Clean and Green!

OxyMin® pure organically grown Spirulina has been available in Australia since 2005 and has always been of the highest quality.

Independent Australian Laboratory Testing carried out in 2009 and again in 2104 confirms that
OxyMin® Spirulina is:

  • Pure and organically grown
  • FREE from heavy metals
  • FREE from chemical contaminants
  • FREE from volatile impurities

 

 A full screening was conducted of more than 50 chemicals, pesticides, impurities and heavy metals. All results were below established levels of detection. 

DNA Tested for Purity

A further test was commissioned from Dr Glenn Graham  - a leading forensic specialist from the  Qld Health Forensic and Scientific Services – to ascertain that OxyMin® Spirulina was true to label as Spirulina Maxima and no other potentially  toxic forms of algae were included.

In response to concerns of radiation content from ever aware consumers and health practitioners over the Fukushima incident OxyMin® have  now commissioned  a full radiation screening. Read more about this in Spirulina News: Radiation Testing All Clear

Spirulina Health Benefits

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Spirulina is now widely used as a dietary supplement in many countries. Many health benefits have been attributed to this remarkable superfood and preliminary findings appear promising, including:

Immune Support

A number of animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina increases production of antibodies, infection-fighting proteins, and other cells that improve immunity and help ward off infection and chronic illnesses such as cancer. However, it has not been tested in people.

 

Protein Supplement

Amino acids make up 62% of spirulina. Because it is a rich source of protein and other nutrients, spirulina has been used as a nutritional supplement.  The protein in spirulina is comparable to other plant proteins and, like other plant proteins, may be incomplete, as it is low in the following amino acids: methionine, cysteine and lysine.

 

Allergic Reactions

Animal and test tube studies suggest that spirulina may protect against allergic reactions by stopping the release of histamines, substances that contribute to allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose, watery eyes, hives, and soft-tissue swelling. But whether these preliminary studies will help people with allergies is not known.

 

Antibiotic-related Illnesses

Although antibiotics destroy unwanted organisms in the body, they may also kill "good" bacteria called probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. This can cause diarrhea. In test tubes, spirulina has boosted the growth of L. acidophilus and other probiotics. More research is needed to determine whether spirulina will have the same effect in people.

 

Infection

Test tube studies suggest that spirulina has activity against herpes, influenza, and HIV. But researchers don’t know whether it would also work in people.

 

Oral Cancer

 

In one placebo-controlled study, taking spirulina seemed to reduce a precancerous lesion known as leukoplasia in people who chewed tobacco. Lesions were more likely to go away in the spirulina group than in the placebo group. More research in this area is needed.


 

Supporting Research:

Blinkova LP, Gorobets OB, Baturo AP. [Biological activity of Spirulina.] Zh Mikrobiol Epidemiol Immunobiol. 2001;(2): 114-118.

Chamorro-Cevallos G, Garduno-Siciliano L, Barron BL, Madrigal-Bujaidar E, Cruz-Vega DE, Pages N. Chemoprotective effect of Spirulina (Arthrospira) against cyclophosphamide-induced mutagenicity in mice. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(2):567-74.

Deng R, Chow TJ. Hypolipidemic, antioxidant, and antiinflammatory activities of microalgae Spirulina. Cardiovasc Ther. 2010 Aug;28(4):e33-45. Review.

Khan Z, Bhadouria P, Bisen PS. Nutritional and therapeutic potential of SpirulinaCurr Pharm Biotechnol. 2005 Oct;6(5):373-9. Review.

Khan M, Shobha JC, Mohan IK, Rao Naidu MU, Prayag A, Kutala VK. Spirulina attenuates cyclosporine-induced nephrotoxicity in rats. J Appl Toxicol. 2006;26(5):444-51.

Lu HK, Hsieh CC, Hsu JJ, Yang YK, Chou HN. Preventive effects of Spirulina platensis on skeletal muscle damage under exercise-induced oxidative stress. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2006 Sep;98(2):220-6.

Mao TK, Van De Water J, Gershwin ME. Effect of spirulina on the secretion of cytokines from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. J Medicinal Food. 2000;3(3):135-139.

Mazo VK, Gmoshinski IV, Zilova IS. Microalgae Spirulina in human nutrition. Vopr Pitan. 2004;73(1):45-53.

Puyfoulhoux G, Rouanet JM, Besancon P, Baroux B, Baccou JC, Caporiccio B. Iron availability from iron-fortified spirulina by an in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture model. J Agric Food Chem. 2001;49(3):1625-1629.

Reddy CM, Bhat VB, Kiranmai G, Reddy MN, Reddanna P, Madyastha KM. Selective inhibition of cyclooxygenase-2 by C-phocyanin, a biliprotein from Spirulina platensis. Biochem Ciophys Res Commun. 2000;277(3):599-603.

 

Wang Y, Chang CF, Chou J, Chen HL, Deng X, Harvey BK, Cadet JL, Bickford PC. Dietary supplementation with blueberries, spinach or spirulina reduces ischemic brain damage. Exp Neurol. 2005;193(1):75-84.
University of Maryland Medical Center
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