The optimum temperature for growth is 35°C, but above 38°C spirulina is in danger. Growth only takes place in light (photosynthesis), but illumination 24 hours a day is not recommended. During dark periods, chemical reactions take place within spirulina, like synthesis of proteins and respiration. Respiration decreases the mass of spirulina biomass ; its rate is much greater at high temperature so cool nights are better on that account, but in the morning beware that spirulina cannot stand a strong light when cold (below 15°C).
Spirulina thrives in alkaline, brackish water. Any water-tight, open container can be used to grow spirulina, provided it will resist corrosion and be non-toxic.
Composition of Spirulina
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. Spirulina contain about 15-25% carbohydrates (dry weight). 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. In strains of spirulina used, the nucleic acid levels vary from 4.2-6% of dry matter.
Spirulina's lipid content is about 7% by weight, and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA),eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA). Spirulina contains vitamins B1, B2 , B3 , B6 , B9 , vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zinc. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophylls, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatocanthin, 3’-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin.
Applications and Health Benefits of Spirulina
The nutritional profile of Spirulina is not complete and will be more effective when combined with a healthy and balanced diet as part of a preventive strategy for self-care. 1 kg of Spirulina has the same nutrients found in about 1,000 kg of assorted vegetables. Some of the key health benefits of using Spirulina are:
• Boosts the immune system
• Improve digestion
• Reduce fatigue
• Build endurance
• Detoxifier – cleanses the body
• Boosts energy levels
• Controls appetite
• Keeps a tab on cardiovascular function
• Helps proper liver and kidney functioning
• Reduces inflammation and allergies
Industrial production of a biomass of Spirulina is highly remunerative. The main consumers of productions are such branches as pharmacology, food-processing industry, perfumery, agriculture: animal industries, poultry farming, fish-breeding, silk breeding.
Nowadays a number of the significant biotechnological factories on spirulina production are active in America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Cultivation of spirulina concerns an agricultural production and should correspond to the requirements shown to modern agro technologies. As a whole the technology of a biomass of microseaweed consists of the following stages:
• Building of basin cultivators (photo bioreactors);
• Preparation of a sowing material of suspension of micro seaweed (inoculate);
• Preparation of nutrient mediums (nutritious solutions);
• Sowing of micro seaweed (refueling of cultivators);
• Cultivation of micro seaweed and the control of parameters of cultivation;
• Harvesting - superficial gathering of a biomass;
• Recultivation of nutrient mediums (to fuse of a parts of suspension, to added feeding solutions);
• Preparation (washing) of a biomass for processing;
• To manufacture ready products (concentrated fresh weight, granules, a powder (flour), and special products)
• Packaging and marking of ready products
The basic advantages of industrial equipment for cultivation Spirulina:
• Installations for cultivation of seaweed provide fast growth of a biomass;
• Glasstubed photo bioreactors represent closed, operated, automated systems of continuous action that allows supporting a biomass control. The size of the reactor is not limited, as the offered bioreactors are equipped by with increased productivity;
• The Equipment differs with its simplicity in operation and high efficiency; In the photo reactor natural light (solar illumination) is used as much as it possible. It significantly increases productivity of suspension hashing;
• Glasstubed photo bioreactors can be installed established vertically and horizontally. Installations can be installed as indoors, and as well as beyond behind its limits (in the open air). Modular designs allow saving a floor space (place) of biofactory considerably.
Special appeal has basin biomass technologies open-air. Such method of cultivated seaweed will allow simplifying the technology of getting a biomass. In this case biomass manufacture uses atmospheric carbonic gas (СО2) which is necessary for biomass cultivation. Basin photo bioreactors for open-air cultivation of Spirulina in San Diego the USA. Thanks to new technological methods and constant tests, we will improve the design of the equipment. The equipment is economically effective as it does not demand big capital investments.
AIDS/HIV, arthritis, athletic nutrition, enhancing natural cleansing and detoxification, supporting cardiovascular function and healthy cholesterol, strengthening the immune system, improving gastrointestinal and digestive health, reducing cancer risks with antioxidant protection, general and long term health.
Spirulina is now commercially available in tablet or powder form. Some health tonics contain spirulina as part of their ingredients.