- Spirulina has been consumed for ages due to its high nutritional value (Colla et al., 2004).
- Spirulina was a food source for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century (Habib et al., 2008).
- Today, Spirulina is known as a secret, potent "superfood," and a "miracle from the sea” (Maddina et al., 2016).
- There are three types of edible Spirulina, namely Arthrospira platensis, Arthrospira maxisma and Arthrospira indica (Siva et al, 2015).
- Spirulina is also known as blue-green algae due to the presence of phycocyanin that gave its intense blue colour (Kuddus et al., 2013).
- Spirulina is now commercially available in powder and tablet form.
- Currently, SBC’s microalgae library has 1 locally isolated Spirulina and this strain is actively cultivated in large outdoor scale with Photo-bioreactor in SBC.
- Spirulina can be found in alkaline freshwater.
- SBC’s strain was found in the following natural habitats:
- Number of strain isolated in Sarawak:
|Division||No. of Strains|
- Size (nm)
- Typical size of an individual cell is around 8 µm in diameter (Masojídek & Torzillo, 2014).
- The Spirullina strains in the SBC's microalgae library ranged from 6 to 8 µm in diameter.
- No flagella
- Each individual cylindrical cell arranged to form unbranched and helical shape trichomes. The trichome maintains its helical shape when in liquid media and changed to spiral shape when in solid media (Ciferri, 1983)
- Any other published scientific info
- The existence of gas-filled vacuoles and helical shape of the filaments have enabled the cells to float (Habib et al., 2008).
- The cyanobacterium has cell wall similar to Gram-negative bacteria, consisting of peptidoglycan that gives its shape (Habib et al., 2008).
- It is a type of multicellular and filamentous cyanobacterium which grows in subtropical alkaline watery environment (Majisodek and Torzillo, 2014).
- It is composed of vegetative cells that undergo binary fission in a single plane (Vo, et al., 2015).
- It contains phycocyanin, a pigment-protein complex that is found only in blue-green algae.
- This pigment is used as natural food colouring, which has been approved by Food Drug Administration (FDA).
- Depending on the purity, the market price for phycocyanin is approximately USD$500 per kg to USD$100,000 per kg (Rybner et al., 2016).
- Animal feed/aquafeed
- Spirulina can be used as replacement for protein meal or feed additive in diets of poultry, fish and domestic animals. For example, feed additive of Spirulina is sold online (https://www.alibaba.com/showroom/spirulina-animal-feed.html)
- In another example, Spirulina Tabs is the herbal food for mainly herbivorous fish and invertebrates in fresh and marine (https://www.sera.de/en/product/freshwater-aquarium/sera-spirulina-tabs/).
- Spirulina has been one of the rich sources for proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, essential fatty acids and micro-elements (Siva et al, 2015).
- According to Godlewska et al. (2019), Spirulina-based products is consistent with sustainable agriculture that will cater the needs of increasing demands from rising populations.
- Spirulina is very well-known nutraceutical product and has been commercially available in the countries such as US, India, Thailand and Central Africa. There are numerous companies such as NOW, Nutrex Hawaii, HealthForce etc which use the health benefit of Spirulina and commercialize to nutraceutical product (https://top10supps.com/best-spirulina-supplements/).
- Preliminary studies done by Delsin et al. (2015) has revealed the formulations containing Spirulina extract showed antioxidant potential, skin compatibility and immediate effects on the skin micro relief and hydration.
- Alban Muller is using Spirulina extract as ingredient in cosmetic to replace synthetic ones (https://pro.albanmuller.com/en/type_offres/ingredients-available-in-the-catalogue/).
Delsin, S. D., Mercurio, D. G., Fossa, M.M. and Maia, C. P.M.B. G. (2015). Clinical efficacy of dermocosmetic formulations containing Spirulina extract on young and mature skin: Effects on the skin hydrolipidic barrier and structural properties. Clinical Pharmacology and Biopharmaceutics. 4(4), DOI: 10.4172/2167-065X.1000144.
Habib, M.A. B., Huntington, T. C. and Hasa, M. R. (2008). A Review on culture, production and use of Spirulina as food for humans and feeds for domestic animals and fish. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations Rome. FIMA/C1034.
Godlewska, K., Michalak, I., Pacyga, P., Basladynska, S. and Chojnacka, K. (2019). Potential applications of Cyanobacteria: Spirulina platensis filtrates and homogenates in agriculture. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 35(80), https://doi.org/10.1007/s11274-019-2653-6.
Kuddus, M., Singh, P., Thomas, G. and Al-Hazimi, A. (2013). Recent developments in production and biotechnological applications of C-Phycocyanin. BioMed Research International. doi: 10.1155/2013/742859.
Maddina, B. Y., Asthana, G. S. and Asthana, A. (2016). A review on current scenario of Spirulina drug delivery systems. World Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 4(7), 86-89.
Masojídek, J. & Torzillo, G. (2014) Mass cultivation of freshwater microalgae. Reference module in earth systems and environmental sciences. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09373-8.
Nutrex Hawaii (n.d.). What Is Spirulina? Benefits, sources and side effects of Spirulina. Retrieved July 11,2019, from https://www.nutrex-hawaii.com/blogs/learn/what-exactly-is-spirulina
Siva, K. R.R., Madhu, G.M., Satyanarayana, S.V., Kalpana, P., Bindiya, P. and Subba, R. G. (2015). Equilibrium and kinetic studies of lead biosorption by three Spirulina (Arthrospira) species in open raceway ponds. Journal of Biochemical Technology. 6(1), 894-909.
Rybner, T. V. (2016). Improving the biomass productivity and Phycocyanin concentration by mixotrophic cultivation of Arthrospira platensis. Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark.
Vonshak, A. (1997) Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira): Physiology, cell-biology and biotechnology (pp. 205-211)
Vo, T. S., Ngo, D. H. and Kim, S. K. (2015). Chapter 19 - Nutritional and pharmaceutical properties of microalgal Spirulina. In Kim, S. K., Handbook of Marine Microaglae (pp. 605). Academic Press.