AN ANCIENT MARINER WHO'S TIME HAS RE-COME
Spirulina was here at the beginning of time and is one of the earth’s elder species. It floated around in the primordial seas over 3.6 billion years ago when life was just getting started. In fact, Spirulina and its cousins are among the origin species which gave rise to all other life forms.
The take home message here is that spirulina is a survivor. Perhaps as we go forward to an uncertain future Spirulina will help us survive too.
Spirulina (Athrospira platensis) is a microscopic blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. The important thing about cyanobacteria is that they photosynthesize. That is, just like trees, they capture the suns light energy into their bodies and use it to make carbohydrates from CO2. In so doing they release oxygen.
In primordial epochs, when life was just beginning, it , it was the action of Spirulina and other cyanobacteria that put oxygen in the atmosphere. This allowed life on earth to explode, thrive and diversify into all its wondrous forms. Including you and me.
Spirulina can take different forms
Just like the morphological variation that can be observed in the same species of animals or plants – think of the different races of human kind – Spirulina has different forms depending on where they originate and the conditions under which they are grown. The trichomes (multi-celled filaments) can be straight or tightly spiraled and anywhere in between. What they all have in common is their chemical make-up and, by extension, their nutrient profile.
In nature, Spirulina grows in mineral-rich lakes that are often found near volcanoes or places with thermal activity. The largest Spirulina lakes include lake Texcoco in Mexico, lakes along the Great Rift Valley in East-Africa; and lake Chad in Central Africa.
Spriulina has been harvested for centuries
Civilizations have eaten Spirulina for centuries, including the Mayans and Incas. Spirulina is still harvested for food by the Kanembu people living around Lake Chad. Women collect the spirulina and filter out the water in the sand. The dried ‘flatcakes’ – called dihé – are sold in local markets.
Spirulina is highly nutritious
Spirulina is so nutritious and easy to cultivate that the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) claim that Spirulina is “the most ideal food for mankind” and have called upon nations to look to Spirulina to fulfill their food security needs. Further, because Spirulina is so nutrient rich whist being resource use efficient, the United States Department of Agriculture declared that “Spirulina is the food for the future”. Further, NASA has investigated the cultivation of Spirulina for space travel.
It comes as no surprise therefore, that Spirulina is recognized as the most nutrient dense food on the planet. Find out more …
Not only is spirulina highly nutritious it also has a whole suite of health and medicinal benefits.
Is a humble blue-green algae key to solving our global food security issues and the associated ecological challenges?
Because Spirulina uses water, space, nutrients and energy so efficiently it leaves a significantly lower environmental footprint than any other food production system.
Further, Spirulina is climate change proof because it grows under hotter more harsh conditions and is immune to the suite of pests and diseases that constantly plague traditional crop and animal production systems . Find out more …
Not only is Spirulina highly nutritious it also has a whole suite of health and medicinal benefits. This, and the factors above, make it a perfect future food. Find out more …
The most resource use efficient food source known to human-kind
Perfect for urban farming
You can’t grow a cow, an almond tree, enough wheat to make a loaf of bread or enough chickpeas to make humous in your window sill, but you can grow enough spirulina for your own needs.
This is because spirulina only requires some water, nutrients and light to flourish. Further, growing it is totally scalable. You could farm it in soda bottle, a fish tank, a kids swimming pool or in a massive commercial pond.
In this context, spirulina is perfect for urban farming. Imagine the health benefits of growing your own spirulina at home.