Serving up spirulina
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CTA. 2005. Serving up spirulina. Spore 116. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/47976
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore116.pdf
Edible blue-green micro-algae: Spirulina production
An edible blue-green micro-algae called spirulina grows naturally in the waters of Lake Chad in Africa. People in the Kanem region of Chad eat it daily after flattening it into biscuits and drying it in the sun. Easily cultivated, spirulina is exceptionally rich in nutrients. The dried algae is made up of 55 to 70% protein about twice as much as soy bean and three times more than beef and contains eight amino acids that the human body cannot make by itself. Spirulina also contains magnesium, phosphorous and calcium. Dietary programmes designed for children suffering from malnutrition have produced beneficial results after a treatment of 3 g of spirulina per day for 1.5 months. Spirulina was the subject of a number of studies during the 1970s, but was subsequently relegated to niche markets in industrialised countries. It has now returned to the international spotlight, with a good deal of research under way into its immunological properties including potential benefits against AIDS and cancer. An international symposium on spirulina in May 2004 brought together scientists, NGOs, humanitarian associations and producers. There has been much interest in the algae as a weapon against malnutrition and in simple technologies that would allow it to be produced locally in Africa. Over the past 15 years, Antenna Technologies, an international NGO network which was present at the symposium, has promoted the cultivation of spirulina (Spirulina maxima) in large 20 cm deep earthenware tanks. These are enriched with natural animal fertiliser and stirred manually every 2 hours. Antenna Technologies 29, rue de Neuchâtel 1201 Genève Suisse Fax: +41 22 731 97 86 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://www.antenna.ch/UK/StartSpi_UK.htm