Once I learnt about the multiple benefits of Spirulina my very next thought was, “How can I grow Spirulina myself? It can’t be that hard!”.
Growing Spirulina would enable me to consume the fresh product. I would be certain of its purity and not be concerned about where and how it was grown, packaged and stored. Although there are many reputable organizations producing Spirulina tablets and powder, one can never be absolutely sure that the batch from which you purchased the product is 100% OK.
Processing Spirulina (especially drying) can degrade its nutritional potency, therefore fresh Spirulina from your own tank would be the best. Growing Spirulina is a really rewarding and interesting adventure.
However, after embarking on this project I discovered that the instructions given by the experts often omitted some important practical information. So I decided to record my journey and then to make the inside story (with as many pictures as possible) available to other aspiring home algae farmers.
Benefits of Spirulina
Spirulina has received the most attention of all the micro-algae because of its great potential as a food supplement. Spirulina is unique because of the range of micro-nutrients and the extraordinarily high protein content (50-70%).
Names like earth food and super food have been used to describe this wonderful organism. Here are some comments made about the nutrients that Spirulina culture contains:
1. More beta-carotene than carrots
2. More iron than spinach
3. More calcium than whole milk
4. More protein than meat or tofu
5. More antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity than any vegetable
6. More phytonutrients than blueberries, apples or spinach
Another wonderful characteristic of Spirulina is that its cell walls are composed of mucopolysaccharides (complex sugars) that are readily digestible without cooking. By contrast, most fruit and vegetables contain a significant amount of indigestible cellulose. Spirulina therefore promotes digestion and improves bowel function.
What is Spirulina?
Most people have very little knowledge about this amazing micro-organism, Anthrospira platensis, commonly called Spirulina. I am certainly one of those who never heard the name before and had no idea what it was.
Spirulina is the name everybody knows, so for the purposes of this manual, Spirulina equates to Anthrospira platensis. Spirulina is classed loosely among the blue-green algae and occurs naturally, growing rapidly in some alkaline lakes and warm brackish waters worldwide. In certain African and Latin American countries, the green dried Spirulina cakes are utilized as a staple food. In scientific jargon, Spirulina is a photoautotrophic, filamentous, multicellular cyanobacterium.