36 Belay - Extra Materials

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Spirulina (Arthrospira) Production Under Nature
and Nurture
Amha Belay
Earthrise Nutritionals LLC
PO Box 270 Glendale CA 91204
USA
Online with Ecology of Cyanobacteria II
Whitton BA (ed.) (2012) Springer, Dordrecht.
Images copyright of author of article
[email protected]
Spirulina in Nature
 Highly alkaline water with
pH up to 11; important for
Spirulina (Arthrospira), but
not so for other algae
 Soluble NPK and trace
elements from runoff and
recycling
 Shallow and mixed by wind
 Hot Arid areas of the
tropics and subtropics;
marginal land unsuitable for
conventional agriculture
Historical Aspects
 The earliest photosynthetic
organisms that made
oxygenic life possible.
 Cyanobacteria are the most
conserved species with little
evolutionary change.
Historical Aspects
Spirulina grew wild in the great soda
lakes of Central Mexico and was
prized by the ancient Aztecs. It
was collected from surface water
with fine-meshed nets and dried
into cakes. The explorer, Cortes,
noted in 1519 that it was traded
as a commodity in the street
markets like cheese. Spirulina
continued to be harvested from L.
Texcoco until about 5 years ago.
Historical Aspects
Lake Chad and surrounding lakes
Bodou and Rombou in Africa
have sustained dense populations
of Spirulina algae for centuries.
The local Kanembu people
harvest Spirulina with baskets
and sun dry them into cakes
called dihe’.
Today, it is still collected and
consumed as a main source of
protein and is used in about 70%
of their meals.
Spirulina
A Storehouse of Nutrients
–A Superfood
 Contains one of the richest
Protein
Carbodrates
Fats
Minerals
Moisture
concentrations of nutrients
known in any food, plant,
grain or herb.
 Among the highest protein
contents of any living
organism
 Low in calories and fat; low
in sodium. One of a few
sources of GLA fatty acid
High in bioavailable iron A
real vegetarian food
Spirulina Components of Benefit
Health promoting
Phytonutrients
 A rich source of beta-carotene

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(Vitamin A) and zea-xanthin
antioxidants
Chlorophyll for cleansing
Unique blue pigment,
phycocyanin, with antiinflammatory and antioxidant
effects
SOD for scavenging of oxygen
radicals
Polysaccharides for cell
protection, immune defense &
prebiotic effects
A source of vitamin B12
important in red blood cell
regeneration
Spirulina as food

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Green powdered mixes
Smoothies
Confectionery
Food bars
Baked desserts
Pasta
Crackers
Breakfast cereals
Frozen desserts
Specialty beer!
Spirulina as a Dietary Supplement
 Bottled powder
 Tablets
 Capsules
 Caplets
Spirulina health benefits
Spirulina Production in Nature
• In Lake Nakuru, Kenya, (1973/73) almost a million
flamingoes on the lake consumed about 60 t (dry weight)
of Spirulina a day
• The combination of consumption by grazers and algal
respiration often nearly balances daily production and
leads to a surprisingly constant cyanobacterial biomass
density for months and even years
• Lake Arenguade, Ethiopia has the highest recorded areal
primary productivity of any natural system
Temperature
Epilimnion
PS
Depth
Depth
Metalimnion
Hypolimnion
Light
Buoyancy regulation during stratification and
nocturnal mixing may help reduce photoinhibition
and nutrient limitation
Why So Productive?
90
80
70
60
50
East
West
40
North
30
20
10
0
1st Qtr
2nd Qtr
3rd Qtr
4th Qtr
Huge reserve of carbon in the form of
carbonate/bicarbonate with good buffering
capacity
High photosynthetic activity
Very high biomass densities resulting in selfshading and avoidance of photoinhibition
during stratification
Recycling of nutrients aided by nocturnal
cooling and mixing
CO2 recycling by flamingos?
Size exclusion of predation
NATURE PROVIDES
 Light
 Mixing Energy
 Carbon (Alkalinity)
 Nutrients
 Algal Contamination
Sun
Wind
Soda lakes
Recycling
Predation
Spirulina Mass Production: The Earthrise Way
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Culturing
Harvesting
Drying
Packaging
Closed loop system with
almost complete
recycling of materials
Spirulina in Mass Culture
Spirulina Production
Features and Problems
Light Climate
Temperature Effects
Mixing and Recycling and
associated Problems
Control of Contamination &
Predation
Harvest Efficiency and
associated Problems
Earthrise Farms - California
S
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O
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Earthrise Farms
California, USA
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