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Spirulina spp. and its processing products are employed in agriculture, food industry, pharmaceutics, perfumery and medicine. Spirulina has several pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial (including antiviral and antibacterial), anticancer, metalloprotective (prevention of heavy-metal poisoning against Cd, Pb, Fe, Hg), as well as immunostimulant and antioxidant effects due to its rich content of protein, polysaccharide, lipid, essential amino and fatty acids, dietary minerals and vitamins. This article serves as an overview, introducing the basic biochemical composition of this algae and moves to its medical applications. For each application the basic description of disease, mechanism of damage, particular content of Spirulina spp. for treatment, in vivo and/or in vitro usage, factors associated with therapeutic role, problems encountered and advantages are given.
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Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, 13, 1231-1237 1231
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Nutritional and Medical Applications of Spirulina Microalgae
S.M. Hoseini1, K. Khosravi-Darani2* and M.R. Mozafari3
1Department of Food Science and Technology, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research Institute, Faculty of
Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box:
19395-4741, Tehran, Iran; 2Department of Food Technology Research, National Nutrition and Food Technology
Research Institute, Faculty of Nutrition Sciences and Food Technology Research Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of
Medical Sciences, P.O. Box: 19395-4741, Tehran, Iran; 3Australasian Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Initiative,
Monash University LPO, P.O. Box 8052, Wellington Road, Clayton, Victoria 3800, Australia
Abstract: Spirulina spp. and its processing products are employed in agriculture, food industry, pharmaceutics,
perfumery and medicine. Spirulina has several pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial (including antiviral and
antibacterial), anticancer, metalloprotective (prevention of heavy-metal poisoning against Cd, Pb, Fe, Hg), as well as
immunostimulant and antioxidant effects due to its rich content of protein, polysaccharide, lipid, essential amino and fatty
acids, dietary minerals and vitamins. This article serves as an overview, introducing the basic biochemical composition of
this algae and moves to its medical applications. For each application the basic description of disease, mechanism of
damage, particular content of Spirulina spp. for treatment, in vivo and/or in vitro usage, factors associated with therapeutic
role, problems encountered and advantages are given.
Keywords: anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, chemical composition, immunostimulant, metalloprotective, Spirulina.
Spirulina is the general name of filamentous,
multicellular, blue-green microalgae belonging to two
genera, namely Spirulina and Arthrospira, which consist of
15 species. Spirulina platensis is the most commonly
available and widely used genus, which has been extensively
studied in different fields specially food industry and
medicine [1]. Chemical analysis of microalgae Spirulina
indicates that it is an excellent source of some macro and
micronutrients. This rich content of protein, vitamins,
essential amino acids, dietary minerals, and essential
fatty acids provide Spirulina with several health beneficial
properties. Potential health effects include
immunomodulation, anticancer, antioxidant, antiviral and
antibacterial activities, as well as positive effects against
malnutrition, hyperlipidemia, obesity, diabetes, heavy metal/
chemical-induced toxicity, inflammatory allergic reactions,
radiation damage and anemia [2-5]. A coherent collection of
medical benefits of some algae and micro algae classes has
been presented elsewhere [6].
This entry focuses on some biological properties
of Spirulina including anticancer, antimicrobial,
metalloprotective, antioxidant and immunostimulant effects.
The biochemical composition of this microalga has been
reviewed. Recent data concerning clinical potential of
Spirulina, not covered previously in the literature, as well as
*Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Food
Technology Research, National Nutrition and Food Technology Research
Institute, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box: 19395-
4741, Tehran, Iran; Tel: +98-21-22376473; Fax: +98-21-22376473;
information related to the safety and side effects of Spirulina
are also provided.
Basically, Spirulina consists of 55-70% protein and 5-6%
lipid (w/w dried cell). Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)
constitute 1.5-2% of the total lipid content of this alga. In
fact, Spirulina spp. is rich in -linolenic acid (36% of the
total PUFAs), vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, B12, vitamin C, D
and E), minerals (K, Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, P, Se, Na and
Zn), pigments (chlorophyll a, xanthophyll, betacarotene,
echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, zeaxanthin, canthaxanthin,
diatoxanthin, 3-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin,
oscillaxanthin, phycobiliproteins, C-phycocyanin, and
allophycocyanin) and enzymes (e.g. lipase) [7-9]. Therefore,
the biomass of this rich source of elements is employed as
feed and food additives in many industries (e.g. agriculture,
food, pharmaceutics, and perfumery). In general, the
chemical characteristics of two species belonging to the
same microalgal category differ according to specific source,
culture condition, harvest time and extraction method, even
if their appearance is similar. General composition can be
summarized as follows (% of dry weight): Proteins: 50-70%;
carbohydrates: 15-25%; lipids: 6-13%; nucleic acids: 4.2-6%
and minerals: 2.2-4.8% [2,3,10,11].
The major polymeric component in S. platensis is a
branched polysaccharide, structurally similar to glycogen.
High molecular weight anionic polysaccharides with antiviral
and immunomodulating activities have been isolated from
Spirulina [12]. The antiviral and immunomodulating
1232 Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 8 Hoseini et al.
activities of polysaccharides of Spirulina will be discussed in
the related sections. A sulphated polysaccharide fraction
with antiviral property (calcium spirulan) has been
extensively purified and shown to be composed of rhamnose,
3-O-methylrhamnose (acofriose), 2,3-di-O-methylrhamnose,
3-O-methylxylose, uronic acids and sulfate [4,13].
Protein content of Spirulina (50-70% of dried weight),
which exceeds that of meat, eggs, dried milk, grains and
soybeans, contains all the essential amino acids specially
leucine, valine and isoleucine. However, it somewhat seems
deficient in methionine, cysteine, and lysine in comparison
to standard alimentary proteins (meat, eggs or milk), while it
is superior to all plant proteins including proteins from
legumes [2,14]. As alternative protein source, two important
nutritional values are estimated for Spirulina, the protein
efficiency ratio (PER) (weight gain of an experimental
animal, divided by the weight of proteins ingested using
reference proteins) and net protein utilization (NPU)
(percentage of nitrogen retained, when the source of proteins
is the only limiting nutritional factor). Protein contents of
Spirulina show very high digestibility (83-90% as compared
to 95.1% for pure casein) due to lack of cellulose walls.
Hence, cooking is not necessary for increasing the proteins
availability. The NPU and PER values of Spirulina are
calculated to be between 53-92% and 1.8-2.6, respectively.
This is while the PER values of pure casein, maize, rice and
wheat are 2.5, 1.23, 2.2 and 1.15 respectively [2, 3]. The
major protein constituents with significant beneficial health
effects are the phycobiliproteins phycocyanin C and
allophycocyanin (at approximately 10:1 ratio), which have
linear tetrapyrrole prosthetic groups (phycocyanobilin)
covalently linked to specific cysteine residues of the
proteins. Phycocyanins constitute about 15-25% of the dry
weight of the microalgae [15,16]. Phycocyanins can be
considered as a safe natural food colorant in non-acidic
foodstuffs such as chewing gum, confectionaries and dairy
products [16,17].
The chromophore phycocyanobilin (PCB) of Spirulina,
which represents about 4.7% of the dried mass of
phycocyanin significantly decreases Nicotinamide adenine
dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase activity by being
reduced to phycocyanorubin. This close homolog of bilirubin
inhibits the activity of th e enzyme complex. PCB
supplementation may be employed for the prevention and
therapy of various diseases mediated by NADPH oxidase
hyperactivity e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetic
complications, metabolic syndrome, allergic reactions,
rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's
disease. Oral uptake is possible via whole Spirulina,
phycocyanin protein or isolated tetrapyrrole chromophore
Lipids, contents of Spirulina, are separated into a
saponifiable fraction (83%) and a non-saponifiable fraction
(17%), containing essential pigments, paraffin, sterols and
terpene alcohol. Half of the total lipids are fatty acids
(mostly -6 [12,14]) and Cholesterol (< 0.1 mg/100 g of
Spirulina dry mass) [14], which is a component of Spirulina
sterol fraction [19]. S. maxima and S. platensis contain -
linolenic acid (GLA) , which comprise 10-20% and 49% of
their fatty acids, respectively. Therefore, after human milk
and some vegetable oils such as evening primrose, borage,
blackcurrant seed and hemp oil, Spirulina can be considered
as a good source of GLA S. maxima also contains
unsaturated oleic and linoleic acids as well as saturated
palmitic acid, which constitute more than 60% of its lipids.
Monogalactosyl- and sulfoquinovosyl-diacylglycerol as well
as phosphatidylglycerol are the major Spirulina lipids (20-
25% each) [20].
Spirulina is claimed to be the richest whole-food source
of vitamin B12 (and even its corrinoid forms, analogs and
pseudovitamin B12) and provitamin A ( carotene). Only 20g
of this microalgae fulfils body requirements of vitamins B1
(thiamine), B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) [2,3,14,21].
Although Spirulina does not fulfill the specific functional
roles of vitamin B12 for humans [22] but its intake does not
interfere with mammalian B12 metabolism [23]. A very
sensitive microbiological test shows that 36% of vitamin B12
molecules present in Spirulina spp. are active in humans [5].
S. platensis consists of biologically active form of vitamin
B12, methylcobalamin, at concentration of 35-38 μg/100 g of
dry Spirulina biomass [24].
The high levels of several micronutrients - especially
minerals (iron 0.58-1.8, calcium 1.3-14, phosphorus 6.7-9.0
and potassium 6.4-15.4 g/kg) - in Spirulina, which have
made it suitable nutritional supplement for vegetarians, are
due to absorption of these elements while growing.
Consequently, mineral content of Spirulina depends on
source and culture conditions. Calcium, phosphorus and
magnesium are present in quantities comparable to those
found in milk. Spirulina is considered to be an iron rich food,
with an iron content of ten times higher than common iron
rich foods. Absorption of Spirulina iron is 60% more than
ferrous sulphate (present in iron supplements) [2,3].
There is no risk for the consumer in taking in of
excessive iodine by Spirulina consumption (3 μg in 10g of
dried biomass) [25,26], since the upper safe levels for total
daily intake of iodine established by European Food Safety
Authority (EFSA) and Scientific Committee on Food (SCF)
is reported to be 600μg for a 60kg bodyweight adult.
The potential cancer chemopreventive effect of Spirulina
has been reported [27, 28]. Carcinogenic steps can be
inhibited or reversed by some specific agents (natural or
synthetic) before the onset of cancer [27]. Grawish reported
a tumor suppressive effect in hamster cheek pouch mucosa
by Spirulina extract due to repair of the damaged DNA.
Repair of DNA damage is due to endonuclease activity,
which can be stimulated by the unique polysaccharide
contents of Spirulina [28].
Studies suggest a relation between cancer and high level
of prostaglandins (PGs) [29]. Cyclooxygenase (Cox, PGs H
synthase) is a bifunctional enzyme, which catalyzes
Nutritional and Medical Applications of Spirulina Microalgae Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 8 1233
biosynthesis of PGs from arachidonic acid as a substrate.
Cyclooxygenase-1 (Cox-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2)
are the two observed forms of this bifunctional enzyme.
Cox-1 (as a constitutive enzyme) is responsible for
maintaining normal physiologic function and the produced
PGs play a protective role. Cox-2 (as an inducible form
whose stimulators are mitogens, oncogenes, tumor
promoters, and growth factors) is responsible for the
production of PGs at inflammation sites [30]. It was shown
that activity of Cox-2 (and not Cox-1) increases in malignant
tissues of the colorectal cancer as well as human gastric and
breast tumors [31]. S.platensis produces C-phycocyanin as a
selective inhibitor of Cox-2. This inhibition is due to the
conformation and big structure of phycocyanin (Fig. 1),
which facilitates the proper binding to the active site of Cox-
2 [29]. It has recently been shown that selenium enriched S.
platensis inhibited the growth of MCF-7 human breast
cancer cells [32].
Fig. (1). Chemical structure of C-phycocyanin.
The major polymer in S. platensis is a branched
polysaccharide, with a structure similar to glycogen. High
molecular weight anionic polysaccharides isolated from
Spirulin a [33] possess antiviral and immunomodulating
activities. A sulphated polysaccharide fraction with antiviral
action (calcium spirulan) has extensively been purified and
shown to be composed of rhamnose, 3-O-methylrhamnose
(acofriose), 3-O-methylxylose, 2,3-di-O-methylrhamnose,
uronic acids and sulphate [34]. An acidic polysaccharide
fraction isolated from S. platensis has also been reported
which induces the synthesis of Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
(TNF-) in macrophages [33].
The most promising active constituents of Spirulin a are
the protein phycocyanin [13], sulfated polysaccharide
fractions [33], GLA [25] and certain sulfolipids [26].
Sulfated polysaccharide of Spirulina exerts its antiviral effect
by inhibiting the replication of herpes simplex, human
cytomegalovirus, influenza A, measles, mumps, human
immunodeficiency and white spot syndrome viruses [2]. The
effective concentration of calcium spirulan that can reduce
viral replication by 50% is 11.4-2600 μg/ml [35]. It is known
that Spirulina contains 2–5% of sulfolipids, which are
effective against human immunodeficiency virus by
selectively acting against DNA polymerase. For 50%
inhibition of the virus, a minimum concentration of 24nM is
required. Both the sulfonic acid moiety and the fatty acid
ester side chain have a significant effect in potentiating the
extent of inhibition [36]. A protein-bound pigment (i.e.
allophycocyanin) purified from S. platensis, has shown an
antiviral activity against enterovirus 71 [14]. This pigment
inhibits 50% of enterovirus 71-induced cytopathic effect,
viral plaque formation and viral-induced apoptosis at
concentrations of 0.056–0.101 μM. Kaushik et al. [37]
showed that addition of allophycocyanin to the cells before
viral infection has a great impact on preventing enterovirus
infection due to interfering with adsorption and penetration
of the virus.
Antimicrobial activity of Spirulina extracts obtained
using different solvents has been studied. Demule et al. [38]
reported that the antimicrobial activity of the methano lic
extract of S. platensis is due to the presence of -linolenic
acid, an antibiotically-active fatty acid present in a high
concentration in this alga. Mendiola et al. [39] studied
the antimicrobial activities of Spirulina extract against
Staphylococcus aureus (gram positive bacterium),
Escherichia coli (gram negative bacterium), Candida
albicans (yeast) and Aspergillus niger (fungus). Results
showed that C. albicans were the most sensitive
microorganism to all Spirulina fractions, which were
obtained by the supercritical fluid extraction. This
antimicrobial activity could be related to a synergic effect of
fatty acids. Mala et al. [40] studied the antibacterial activities
of various organic and aqueous extracts of S. platensis
against different species of human pathogenic bacteria by the
agar-solid diffusion method. Maximum and minimum
antimicrobial activity of water extract was observed against
Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus vulgaris, respectively.
Acetone extract also showed the highest biological activity
against Klebsiella pneumonia [40].
Different metals damage certain tissues by causing
oxidative stress. Aerobic organisms can be protected against
free radicals by antioxidants, which are endogenously
synthesized compounds such as reduced glutathione (GSH),
superoxide dismutase (SOD) and nitric oxide (NO) [41].
Some examples of the protection effects of Spirulina against
metal poisoning are given in the following sections.
Cadmium induces cellular thiol depletion that may cause
an imbalance between the pro-oxidant and antioxidant
systems. Cadmium increases the production of reactive
oxygen species (ROS) in tissues and inhibits the activity of
some enzymes of the antioxidative defense system. ROS
(e.g. H2O2, O2
- and OH radical), which are formed and
degraded by all aerobic organisms, can readily react with
some biomolecules including lipids, proteins, lipoproteins
and DNA. The protective effect of S. platensis against
cadmium-induced oxidative stress could be either indirect
through the enhancement of the activity of GSH peroxidase
and superoxide dismutase (free radical scavengers) or direct
by inhibiting peroxidation of lipid and scavenging of free
radicals. These characteristics are due to the high
concentration of antioxidant components of S. platensis [41].
1234 Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 8 Hoseini et al.
Lead poisoning causes morphological changes in bone
marrow cells, pathophysiological changes in tissues and
necrosis in proximal tubular cells. Furthermore, it causes
dysfunction in kidney, alters glomerular filtration rate,
decreases sperm count and causes changes in the
composition of proteins and lipids of the red blood cell
membrane. The later inhibits hemoglobin (Hb) synthesis and
leads to insufficient erythrocyte production and reduced red
cell survival. Spirulina showed a protective effect against
cadmium and lead induced alteration in the counts of T
lymphocyte, reticulocyte, red and white blood cells in rats
[19]. Spirulina may improve the metabolism of iron and Hb
in rats with Pb, Cd, Zn, and Hg induced poisoning [41, 42].
This phenomenon is attributed to the metal-binding
capacities of the blue-green algae [21].
One of the most important agents that cause oxidative
stress and decline of neuronal functions is iron. Oxidative
stress and formation of the reactive oxygen species (ROS)
are caused by iron interactions with many cellular processes.
Iron toxicity also induces a significant elevation in lactate
dehydrogenase (LDH) release due to cellular necrosis.
Spirulina extract (especially phycocyanin) increases the
cellular antioxidant enzymes (glutathione reductase and
glutathione peroxidase), which are known to protect the
body against the deleterious effects of ROS [20].
Mercury causes many adverse health effects (renal,
neurological, respiratory, dermatologic, immune, reproductive
and developmental sequel). Mercuric chloride causes
significant increase in lipid peroxidation level, serum
glutamic oxloacetic transminase (SGOT) and serum glutamic
pyruvic transminase (SGPT) activity and significant decrease
in the activity of reduced glutathione, superoxide dismutase,
catalase and glutathione-S-transferase activity in liver.
Spirulina significantly increases liver glutathione (GSH)
level, superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and
glutathione S- transferase (GST) activity as antioxidant
potential and thereby decreases the level of lipid peroxidation,
which in turn reduces the transaminases (SGOT & SGPT)
activity in serum [43]. The metalloprotective role of
Spirulina may be related to its contents of vitamins E and C,
beta-carotene, as well as enzyme superoxide dismutase,
selenium and brilliant blue polypeptide pigment phycocyanin
[43, 44].
Spirulina has antioxidant properties as indicated by the in
vitro and in vivo studies [38, 45-47]. The protective effects
of Spirulina against CCl4-induced liver toxicity are due to
free radical scavenging. This observation is attributed to its
high contents of proteins, lipids, minerals (zinc, manganese,
magnesium and selenium), and some vitamins (beta
carotene, riboflavin, cyanocobalamin, alfa-tocopherol, and
alfa-lipoic acid).
For evaluating the antioxidant activity of different
natural products, metal-chelating activity is widely used.
Bermejo et al. [4] demonstrated that S. platensis protein
extract possessed an excellent antioxidant activity. Results
showed that the protein extract of S. platensis scavenged
hydroxyl and peroxyl radicals and also had inhibitory
activity against lipid peroxidation. Scavenging of these free
radicals by S. platensis can be an effective prevention for a
living organism against oxidative stress. An antioxidant can
function either by inhibiting the processes that activate free
radical formation (by intercepting the formation of the
reactive radical species), or inhibiting free radical action (by
scavenging the radical) or suppressing amplification of the
radical damage (by further intercepting the attack of
secondary-derived radicals on their biological components)
or reducing iron ions which are known to catalyze many
processes leading to the appearance of free radicals (by iron-
chelating properties) [45]. Gad et al. [46] reported that the
chelating activity of Spirulina exhibited a strong inhibition of
errozine–Fe2+ complex formation due to its antioxidant
compounds as electron donors.
Spirulina facilitates production of antibody, increases
activated peritoneal macrophages, and induces growth of
spleen cells in response to Concavalin A (Con A).
Production of IL-1 and antibody was enhanced by the
addition of the Spirulina extract to the cultured spleen cells
[48]. The initial target cells for Spirulina are macrophages. In
myeloid cells, Spirulina exhibits an additive effect on Toll-
like receptor (TLR)-mediated cytokine production pathways.
Spirulina glycolipids serve as Toll ligands for stimulation of
TLR2 & 4 together with bacillus calmette-guerin (BCG) cell
wall skeleton [49].
Watanuki et al. [50] studied the immunostimulant effects
of the dietary S. plantensis in carp, Cyprinus carpio. Fish
were fed with Spirulina and the parameters of non-specific
defense mechanisms (phagocytosis and superoxide anion
production) were performed on the 1st, 3rd and 5th day.
Spirulina enhances responses of phagocytic activity and
superoxide anion production in kidney phagocytic cells (for
at least 5 days). The expression of interleukin (IL)-1 and
tumor necrosis factor (TNF)- genes also increased in fish
treated with Spirulina. The expression of IL-10 gene was
decreased. Furthermore, the numbers of Aeromonas
hydrophila were decreased in the liver and kidney of
Spirulina-treated fish [50]. Antimicrobial (including antiviral
and antibacterial), metalloprotective and immunostimulant
effects as well as antitumor and antioxidant activities of
Spirulina are summarized in Table 1.
In general, Spirulina is considered a generally recognized
as safe (GRAS) nontoxic dietary supplement [14] at normal
levels of consumption. However, information on the possible
interactions with pharmaceutical compounds or other dietary
supplements is lacking. Few side effects have been reported
from the ingestion of Spirulina including headache, stomach
ache, flushing of the face and muscle pain [51]. A few cases
of severe side-effects of hepatotoxicity [52] and rabdomyolysis
[51] are also reported. Spirulina spp. should be avoided by
phenylketonuria patients [51] and patients with autoimmune
diseases [53,54] (due to its immunomodulatory activity). It
has been reported that Spirulina caused diarrhea and
Nutritional and Medical Applications of Spirulina Microalgae Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 8 1235
erythema after consumption of amounts corresponding to
four Spirulina tablets over a 3-h period, in a 14-year old
individual [55]. A study in a mouse model of Amytrophic
Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has revealed a neuroprotective effect
of Spirulina consumption which is believed to be due to
slowing down or stopping of motor neuron degeneration
[55]. Until better efficacy and safety studies are published,
the ALSUntangled Group does not support the use of
Spirulina in patients with ALS [56].
Limited consumption of natural food stuff in the 21st
century leads to deficiency of vitamins and main minerals in
the human population. Production of blue green microalgae
S. platensis, serves as an alternative approach as feed and
food additives due to their rich contents of protein, poly-
unsaturated fatty acids (-linolenic acid), vitamins as well as
minerals, pigments and enzymes. Spirulina has several
pharmacological activities such as anticancer, antiviral,
antibacterial, metalloprotective, antioxidant and
immunostimulant effects. Mechanisms of anticancer,
antiviral and antimicrobial effects of Spirulina are due to its
content of endonuclease (which repair damaged DNA),
calcium sulfated polysaccharide (which inhibits in vitro
replication of viruses) and fatty acids (specially high content
of -linolenic acid), respectively. In addition, the
metalloprotective role of Spirulina may be attributed to the
presence of beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, enzyme
superoxide dismutase, selenium and brilliant blue
polypeptide pigment phycocyanin. Research has also
focused on the immunostimulant effects of Spirulina. Some
experimental observations indicate that phycocyanin,
sulfated polysaccharide fractions, GLA and certain
sulfolipids are the most promising active constituents of
Spirulina. Nevertheless, more research is needed to rate the
effectiveness of Spirulina as a source of potential
pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Different chemical composition and various
pharmacological activities have been reported for the
microalgae. These contradictory results may be related to
differences in the geographical origin, harvesting period,
aqueous medium characteristics as well as genetic variations,
post-harvest processing conditions, the method of extraction
and type of solvents used. Furthermore, interaction of
microalgae with intrinsic or extrinsic properties of the
consumed food e.g. pH, fat, protein, water content,
antioxidants, oxygen concentration and preservative, needs
more investigation.
The authors confirm that this article content has no
conflicts of interest.
Declared none.
PER = Protein efficiency ratio:
NPU = Net protein utilization
PCB = Chromophore phycocyanobilin
NADPH = Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate
GLA = -linolenic acid
EFSA = European Food Safety Authority
SCF = Scientific Committee on Food
Table 1. Summary of some Studied Biological Effects of Spirulina Microalgae.
Biological Properties Specific Effects Bioactive Component References
Repairing of damaged DNA Polysaccharides [5]
Selective Inhibition of Cyclooxygenase-2 C-phycocyanin [6]
Induction of G1 cell cycle arrest, mitochondria mediated apoptosis in MCF-7
human breast carcinoma Se-enriched Spirulina [9]
Blocking virus adsorption and penetration into vero cells Calcium spirulan
(sulfated polysaccharide) [10-12]
I Inhibition of the DNA polymerase activity Sulfolipids [13]
Inhibition of enterovirus 71-induced cytophtic effect, viral plaque formation,
and viral-induced apoptosis Protein-bound pigment
allophycocyanin [14]
Antibacterial Fatty acids e.g. GLA [15-19]
Metalloprotective Inhibiting lipid peroxidation, scavenging free radicals, enhancement of the
activity of GSH peroxidase and superoxide dismutase Antioxidant components [20-24]
Antioxidant Metal-chelating activity, free radical scavenging activity Carotenoids, vitamin E,
Phycocyanin, and chlorophyll [25-27]
Immunostimulant [28-30]
1236 Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2013, Vol. 13, No. 8 Hoseini et al.
PGs = Prostaglandins
Cox = Cyclooxygenase
TNF- = Tumor necrosis factor-alpha
GSH = Glutathione
SOD = Superoxide dismutase
NO = Nitric oxide
ROS = Reactive oxygen species
Hb = Hemoglobin
LDH = lactate dehydrogenase
SGOT = Glutamic oxloacetic transminase
SGPT = Serum glutamic pyruvic transminase
GSH = Glutathione
SOD = Superoxide dismutase
CAT = Catalase
GST = Glutathione S- transferase:
TNF = Tumor necrosis factor
TLR = Toll-like receptor
BCG = Bacillus calmette-guerin
GRAS = Generally recognized as safe:
ALS = Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis
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Received: July 08, 2012 Revised: December 21, 2012 Accepted: March 18, 2013
... It can be a nutritional source for animals and humans [13]. Spirulina is primarily used as a dietary supplement in the pharmaceutical industry (in the form of tablets or powder) and in the aquaculture, aquarium, and poultry industries [14]. Dried Spirulina is protein-rich, containing between 51%-70% protein. ...
... This product also contains 24% carbohydrates, 8% fat and 5% water, and various vitamins and minerals [15]. Spirulina extracts contain two secondary metabolites responsible for their antibacterial effects: phenolic compounds, such as gallic acid, and alkaloids, such as atropine [14]. This study aimed to investigate the antibacterial effects of Spirulina extracts against P. aeruginosa. ...
... Previous studies have suggested that the antibacterial activity of S. platensis is closely linked to the presence and quantity of phenolic compounds [12]. In addition to phenolic compounds, fatty acids, hydroxyl unsaturated fatty acids, and glycolipids have also been identified as contributing to the antimicrobial activity of microalgae [14]. Additional biochemical analyses are necessary to identify the specific compounds responsible for the antibacterial activity exhibited by the algal extract. ...
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Introduction: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative bacterium, is the cause of infections in immunocompromised individuals, resulting in various conditions, including pneumonia, and urinary tract, skin, and bloodstream infections. This pathogen produces tissue-destructing toxins, leading to significant morbidity and mortality in affected patients. Conventional antibiotics, including rifampicin and colistin, are often ineffective in treating P. aeruginosa infections due to the emergence of bacterial resistance within affected communities. Alternatively, algae have been explored as a promising source for controlling pathogenic bacteria. In this study, we investigated the antibacterial effects of ethanol and aqueous extracts of Spirulina platensis against P. aeruginosa. Methods: Ethanol and aqueous extracts of S. platensis were prepared at concentrations of 0.125, 0.25, 0.5, and 1 mg/mL. The antibacterial effect of Spirulina blue-green algae against P. aeruginosa was conducted using a disc diffusion test in an LB medium with 7-mm wells. We measured the inhibition zone and statistically analyzed the data by comparing the means using the Duncan multiple range test. Results: The ethanol extract of S. platensis significantly inhibited the growth of P. aeruginosa. Furthermore, applying the ethanol extract of S. platensis at a concentration of 1 mg/mL resulted in the largest inhibition zone (20 mm) compared to the control. In contrast, the S. platensis aqueous extract did not significantly inhibit P. aeruginosa growth. Conclusions: The ethanol extracts of S. platensis algae exhibited a significant antibacterial effect against P. aeruginosa. This alga represents a promising source of antibacterial metabolites, which could be a suitable alternative to common antibiotics. Further investigations are necessary to identify and purify the specific antibacterial substance in S. platensis.
... Furthermore, there is evidence that this effect is associated with the size of the testicle since the seminiferous epithelium and the seminiferous tubules are expanding (El-Khalifa et al., 2013). In addition, SP contains a high protein content of about 60%-70% by dry weight (Hosseini et al., 2013). Likewise, protein supplementation increased performance and enhanced testis growth as well as increased the quality and quantity of semen (Fernández et al., 2004). ...
... Moreover, in the present study, SP supplementation increased the seminal plasma fructose concentration, which is agreeable with El-Ratel and Gabr (2020), suggesting that fructose levels in seminal plasma could have a positive correlation with most sperm characteristics. Besides, the beneficial outcomes of SP can be attributed to its content of significant mixtures such as protein and essential amino acids (Farag et al., 2016), essential fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and sub-Oleic acid (Mendes et al., 2003), nutrient pigments (Keservani et al., 2015), vitamins such as thiamine, niacinamide, riboflavin, folic acid, pyridoxine, vitamins A, D and E (Hosseini et al., 2013) and minerals such as calcium, potassium, chromium, copper, manganese, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, zinc, and selenium (Babadzhanov et al., 2004). ...
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Background: The fertility and genetic value of the flock can be enhanced by selecting lambs with highly developed early puberty characteristics. Spirulina (SP) has been evaluated as a natural product supplement to boost lamb growth, immunity, and productivity. Aim: Study growth performance, blood metabolites, puberty development traits, semen quality, and seminal plasma biochemical concentrations of growing Barki lambs when supplemented with SP at different levels. Methods: in a 24 weeks study, 30 Barki male lambs weighing an average of 21.78 ± 2.56 kg, with a body condition score of 3.20 ± 0.55 and an age of about 16 ± 0.24 weeks were used. The lambs were randomly assigned to three groups (10 lambs each) of daily SP supplementation levels per lamb of 0 ml (control), 50 ml (SP1), and 100 ml (SP2). The SP powder was made into a water suspension using SP to water ratio of 1 g:10 ml. The growth characteristics, as well as the development of puberty, blood metabolites, and semen quality analysis of every lamb, were measured. Results: The growth performance was greater (p < 0.05) in SP2 lambs compared with other lambs. While daily dry matter intake was not affected by SP treatment, feed efficiency had significantly improved in SP2 groups. Furthermore, the SP2 lambs have attained puberty at early ages than the control lambs. The testes volume of SP2 lambs was bigger (p < 0.05) than other groups throughout the pre-pubertal up to the puberty stage. The addition of SP had no effects on the total protein, glucose, and triglycerides concentrations. Meanwhile, the cholesterol concentration was lowest (p < 0.05) in the SP2 lambs. The blood and seminal plasma levels of alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase decreased (p < 0.05) in the SP lambs more than their control counterparts. The levels of superoxide dismutase reduced glutathione, and total antioxidants had increased (p < 0.05) in the treated lambs compared with the control group. Further, the malondialdehyde levels decreased (p < 0.05) in the SP-treated lambs. Additionally, the SP2 lambs produced better semen quality than the control lambs. Conclusion: SP supplementation (100 ml/head/day) enhanced growth performance, feed efficiency, and antioxidative status, exerting a positive influence on the physiological parameters and sexual behavioral patterns at puberty in Barki lambs.
... The principal cyanobacteria for producing natural green-blue pigments are from the genus Arthrospira, also known as Spirulina, a blue-green alga 1 . Specifically, Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima are the species largely used with a wide market such as food additives, health food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and medicine 2,3 . Recent reports, focusing on the presence of potential functional ingredients in S. platensis such as β-complex, vitamins, minerals, proteins, γ-linoleic acid, nutraceutical pigments like phycocyanin 4 , polyphenols, and βcarotene have demonstrated the relevant role of this alga in disease risk reduction 5 . ...
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Oxidative stress, hyperglycemia and insulin resistance are hallmarks of diabetes mellitus. The present study aimed to assess the antidiabetic activity of a local strain of Spirulina platensis produced at Pahou (Benin), known as “Spiruline Dou Bogan” (SPD), in fructose-fed rats. Glucose metabolism impairment was induced by feeding 8g/kg, body weight (bw), fructose solution orally to Sprague Dawley rats (n = 8) for 56 days, treated with SPD (18.75; 37.5 and 75 mg/kg, bw), and analyzed for plasma blood glucose, serum biochemistry and the markers of oxidative stress (Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power Assay (FRAP), Malondialdehyde (MDA), Reduced glutathione (GSH), DPPH radical scavenging assay. SPD concentrations, given orally for 42 days, significantly reversed the elevations in plasma blood glucose, MDA, and the reduction in kidneys glutathione activity. Oral administration of 18.75, 37.5, and 75 mg/kg doses of SPD also lowered serum Aspartate Aminotransferase (ASAT), Alanine Aminotransferase (ALAT), Triglycerides and Creatinine levels. SPD 75 mg/kg treatment in particular has significantly decreased serum Triglycerides level and increased HDL-Cholesterol levels, reversing the atherogenic potential of 56 days fructose administration. The consumption of S. platensis produced locally in Benin as a food supplement, easily accessible for low-income populations, may be helpful in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. Keywords: Oxidative stress; Spirulina platensis; hyperglycemia; insulin resistance, fructose diet
... Spirulina contains only 6-13% lipids mainly in form of fatty acids: monogalactosyland sulfoquinovosyl-diacylglycerol as well as phosphatidylglycerol [50]. Biomass used in the current study contains less than 1% lipids probably due to the culture conditions and strain's biological properties. ...
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Chlorella and Spirulina are the most used microalgae mainly as powder, tablets, or capsules. However, the recent change in lifestyle of modern society encouraged the emergence of liquid food supplements. The current work evaluated the efficiency of several hydrolysis methods (ultrasound-assisted hydrolysis UAH, acid hydrolysis AH, autoclave-assisted hydrolysis AAH, and enzymatic hydrolysis EH) in order to develop liquid dietary supplements from Chlorella and Spirulina biomasses. Results showed that, EH gave the highest proteins content (78% and 31% for Spirulina and Chlorella, respectively) and also increased pigments content (4.5 mg/mL of phycocyanin and 12 µg/mL of carotenoids). Hydrolysates obtained with EH showed the highest scavenging activity (95–91%), allowing us, with the other above features, to propose this method as convenient for liquid food supplements development. Nevertheless, it has been shown that the choice of hydrolysis method depended on the vocation of the product to be prepared.
This study aimed to observe the potentiality of azolla extract as a cost-effective organic medium. An 18-day culture experiment of Spirulina platensis was conducted using various percentages of dried azolla extract (DAE, 10-50%) or boiled azolla extract (BAE, 10-40%) in place of inorganic Kosaric medium (control). Growth, pigmentation, minerals and lipids contents of S. platensis cultured were recorded. Compared with the control, similar results were obtained in biomass concentration and specific growth rate when up to 40% KM was replaced with 40% DAE or 20% BAE. The mineral and lipid contents of S. platensis were unaffected by the replacement of KM with azolla extracts, except that Ca, Zn, and Fe concentrations increased as the replacement amount of KM with DAE and BAE increased. The KM had the highest chlorophyll a content. Similar findings were observed for chlorophyll a of the S. platensis in DAE40 and BAE20. It was concluded that KM could be partially replaced with DAE or BAE as the novel organic media for S. platensis cultivation, where DAE is better than BAE.
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Peynir altı suyu proteini (whey proteini), peynir üretim prosesi sonucunda açığa çıkan, peynir altı suyunun en önemli bileşenidir. Peynir altı suyu; peynir üretimi sırasında pıhtının ayrılması işleminden sonra geriye kalan sarımsı yeşil renkli sıvı maddedir. Bu ürünün emülsifikasyon, jel oluşturma, köpürme, yağ bağlama, kıvam artırma gibi gelişmiş özellikleri vardır ve gıda endüstrisinde kullanımı yaygındır. Peynir altı suyu proteini, besinsel nitrojen ve amino asit sağlar ve bu sebeple her bireyin sağlığını iyileştirmesi ve koruması için kullanılabilir. Bu yazımızda, PubMed, Science Direct ve Google Scholar gibi farklı veri tabanlarında arama yaparak peynir altı suyu proteininin sağlık üzerindeki potansiyel etkilerini değerlendirmek amaçlanmıştır. Literatürün gözden geçirilmesi ile birlikte, peynir altı suyu proteininin yeni avantajlar yaratttığı ve fonksiyonel, besleyici ve tedavi edici özellikleri olduğu sonucuna varıldı. Yara iyileşmesi, hücre büyümesi kontrolü, antioksidan ve antiinflamatuar özellikleri farklı çalışmalarda belirtilmiştir. Ayrıca kanser, diyabet, obezite, kardiyovasküler hastalıklar, insan bağışıklık yetmezliği ve hepatit tedavisinde umut verici olumlu etkilere neden olabilir. Bebek, yaşlı ve sporcu beslenmesinde önemli bir gıda katkı maddesi olarak kullanılabileceği düşünülmektedir. Yüksek besin değeri, spesifik fonksiyonel özellikleri ve üretim sırasındaki sürdürülebilirliği göz önüne alındığında peynir altı suyu proteininin, gıda ve sağlık endüstrisinde birçok uygulama alanı olabilir.
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Spirulina consists of a cluster of green-colored cyanobacteria; it is commonly consumed as a food or food supplement rich in bioactive compounds with antioxidant activity, predominantly C-phycocyanin (C-PC), which is related to anti-inflammatory action and anticancer potential when consumed frequently. After C-PC extraction, the Spirulina residual biomass (RB) is rich in proteins and fatty acids with the potential for developing food products, which is interesting from the circular economy perspective. The present work aimed to develop a vegan oil-in-water emulsion containing different contents of Spirulina RB, obtaining a product aligned with current food trends. Emulsions with 3.0% (w/w) of proteins were prepared with different chickpea and Spirulina RB ratios. Emulsifying properties were evaluated regarding texture and rheological properties, color, antioxidant activity, and droplet size distribution. The results showed that it was possible to formulate stable protein-rich emulsions using recovering matter rich in protein from Spirulina as an innovative food ingredient. All the concentrations used of the RB promoted the formulation of emulsions presenting interesting rheological parameters compared with a more traditional protein source such as chickpea. The emulsions were also a source of antioxidant compounds and maintained the color for at least 30 days after production.
Monografia cu denumirea Factorii tehnologici și calitatea biomasei de spirulină sistematizează rezultatele cercetării impactului unor factori tehnologici asupra calității biomasei cianobacteriei Arthrospira platensis (spirulina), cultivată în condiții de laborator și de producere industrială. În calitate de factori tehnologici au fost analizate condițiile de cultivare cu modificarea regimului de iluminare și a regimului termic; impactul stimulatorilor chimici: compuși anorganici, compuși coordinativi, nanoparticule. Monografia a fost concepută drept suport informativ şi didactic și se adresează cercetătorilor, doctoranzilor şi lucrătorilor de la întreprinderile din domeniul ficobiotehnologiei, precum şi studenților de la specialitatea microbiologie și biotehnologie ș.a.
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Since the banning of antibiotics in animal feeds (2006), there has been an increase in the number of studies looking for alternatives to stimulate the gut immune system. The main objective of our review article is to underline the nutraceutical properties of Curcuma longa and Spirulina platensis in the broiler chicken industry, and the experimental data were obtained by analyzing literature sources. Spirulina platensis is widely recognized as a valuable protein source, containing approximately 55-70% protein, 25% carbohydrates, essential amino acids, and 18% fatty acids. It is also rich in various vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, vitamin B12, vitamin C, gamma-linolenic acid, phycocyanins, tocopherols, chlorophyll, beta-carotenes, carotenoids, exhibiting positive effects on growth performance, gut integrity, and immunity. The anti-inflammatory effect of spirulina supplementation at different levels showed a decrease in caspase-3 and the TNF-α immunolabeling index; a reduction in IL-1β, IL-2 and IFN-γ; and an increase in the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-4. Spirulina inhibits the synthesis of cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-gamma in addition to the activities of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) enzymes. Turmeric also positively influences the growth, egg production, and overall health of chickens. Cur-cumin, the most potent component of turmeric, possesses additional pharmacological activities, including hepatoprotective, immunostimulant, and anticancer effects. Its immunomodulatory properties greatly enhance the immune system response, acting as a natural antibiotic against pathogens and decreasing levels of proinflammatory interleukins IL-1β, IL-6, IL-2, IL-18, and TNF-α.
Organotin compounds (OTs) belong to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) group and are capable of persisting up to 40 years due to their chemical nature. Tributyltin (TBT) is an anti‐fouling agent and can easily leach out into water threatening the aquatic life. Molluscs are sensitive towards the presence of toxins in their surrounding environment and respond accordingly to overcome stress conditions. Lamellidens marginalis , a freshwater bivalve is popular for its food value and pink pearls. The present study focuses on the effect of Tributyltin chloride (TBTCl), a form of TBT, on Lamellidens marginalis under laboratory conditions. The 96 h median lethal concentration (LC 50 ) was calculated to be 1 mg L ⁻¹ . Bivalves were segregated into three sub‐groups that is, group I; control, group II; experimental (treated with 0.2 mg L ⁻¹ TBTCl that is, 1/5th of LC 50 value), group III; experimental (treated with 0.2 mg L ⁻¹ TBTCl + 0.003% w/v spirulina). A static non‐renewal toxicity assay was performed for 96 h. Estimation of total protein, acid phosphatase (ACP), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and glycogen was carried out. An overall decrease in the total protein, ACP, ALP, glycogen, and ALT was observed in both the experimental groups (Groups II and III) in comparison to the control group whereas, the concentration of AST was found to increase in hepatopancreas. Integrated biomarker response index (IBR) value was calculated to be 12.60 for control and 10.56 and 11.29 for groups II and III, respectively in hepatopancreas. Similarly, in gill tissue the values were 3.69, 1.37, and 3.43, respectively. After treatment with nutritional supplement spirulina, a higher BRI (biomarker response index) value of 3.3 for group III was observed, suggesting the therapeutic role of spirulina in test organisms. BRI value derived for group II was 2.7 indicating more severity of TBTCl compared to group III in the absence of spirulina.
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Algae are small microscopic unicellular organisms in which, there are two important subtypes (Spirulina platensis and Chlorella vulgaris) that recently have been extensively studied in different fields specially food industry and medicine. Since there is a highly vast data about algae, micro algae and their species, we tried to present a coherent collection of some algae and micro algae classes' medical benefits mostly through Spirulina platensis. Early interest in Spirulina focused mainly on its rich content of protein, vitamins, essential amino acids, minerals, and essential fatty acids. These factors bring the antiinflammation, anticancer, antihyperglycemia, antihypertension and lots of medically useful properties that in the following have been discussed about in detail. The objectives of this paper are categorized in 3 groups. First, reviewing the available literature on the potential health effects of algae and micro algae specially Spirulina platensis, second, providing an insight to the potential implications of the studies reviewed in the context of possible nutritional and therapeutic applications in health management, and third, identifying the fields of interests for future researches.
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Nutritional approaches to the treatment of aging and neurodegenerative diseases have been shown to have potential benefits. Fruits or vegetables provide a cocktail of phytochemicals with multiple actions. Spirulina, a blue green alga used for thousands of years as a food source by the Aztecs, is known to contain large amounts of β-carotene and several phycocyanins with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. We examined neuroprotective effects of a spirulina 0.1% supplemented diet in the G93A SOD1 mouse model of ALS beginning at 5 weeks of age and continuing for 10 weeks. Spirulina dietary supplement significantly maintained body weight and extension reflex, and reduced inflammatory markers and motor neuron degeneration in G93A mice. These findings provide initial evidence that nutrition supplementation with spirulina has a neuroprotective support for dying motor neurons. A spirulina supplemented diet may be a potential alternative or adjunctive treatment for ALS.
Spirulina (Arthrospira): Production and Quality Assurance, A. Belay Toxicologic Studies and Antitoxic Properties of Spirulina, G. Chamorro-Cevallos, Dr. B.L. Barron, and M. en C.J. Vazquez-Sanchez Spirulina and its Therapeutic Implications as a Food Product, Dr. U.V. Mani, Dr. U.M. Iyer, Dr. S.A. Dhruv, and Dr. I.U. Mani Therapeutic Utility of Spirulina, Dr. U.V. Mani, Dr. U.M. Iyer, Dr. S.A. Dhruv, Dr. I.U. Mani, and Dr. K.S. Sharma Antioxidant Profile of Spirulina: A Blue Green Microalga, Dr. K. Chopra and M. Bishnoi Antioxidative and Hepatoprotective Effects of Spirulina, Dr. L. Wu and Dr. J.A. Ho Drug-Induced Nephrotoxicity Protection by Spirulina, Dr. V.K Kutala, Dr. I.K. Mohan, Dr. M. Khan, M. Pharma, Dr. P.L. Narasimham, and Dr. P. Kuppusamy Spirulina and Immunity, A.T. Borchers, A. Belay, C.L. Keen, and M.E. Gershwin NK Activation Induced by Spirulina, T. Seya, T. Ebihara, K. Kodama, K.Hazeki, and M. Matsumoto Spirulina and Antibody Production, Dr. O. Hayashi, K. Ishii, and T. Kato Spirulina as an Antiviral Agent, Dr. B.L. Barron, Dr. J.M. Torres-Valencia, Dr. G. Chamorro-Cevallos, and Dr. A. Zuniga-Estrada Spirulina and Anti-Bacterial Activity, G. Ozdemir and M. Conk Dalay Spirulina, Aging and Neurobiology, J. Vila, C. Gemma, J.A. Haley, A. Bachstetter, Y. Wang, I. Stromberg, and P.C. Bickford Spirulina Interactions, A.T. Borchers, C.L. Keen, and M.E. Gershwin
Crude methanolic (ME) and aqueous (WE) extracts of S. platensis were tested on the growth of three bacteria. In Candida albicans, growth was inhibited 17.6% by WE and 7.8% by ME. In Staphylococcus aureus and Lactococcus lactis there was growth promotion by both extracts, ranging from 7.5% to 14.7%.
The increasing importance of natural beta-carotene in fighting xerophthalmia and cancer has given special importance to algal sources of beta-carotene. The susceptibility to quick degradation of this valuable nutrient in oxygen atmosphere, light or heat calls for specific attention to processing and storage practices. In the case of Spirulina it was found that initial losses of beta-carotene on spray drying were between 7 and 10%. On storage in coloured bottles containing air, more than 50% was lost in less than 45 days. The particle size of the dried material seems to have an influence. Flakes (about 20 mesh+) retained 52% of the original beta-carotene level while the spray-dried fine powder (100 mesh-), retained only 34% of the original level. This is explainable in terms of surface area available for active reaction which is higher in the powder than in flakes. This questions the suitability of using spray drying for Spirulina drying. In this paper, data will be presented to substantiate the behaviour of beta-carotene on drying and storage by various methods.
The antiviral product cidofovir and a diet supplemented with Spirulina platensis were tested for their efficacy to prevent or delay/reduce mortality due to white spot syndrome virus (WSSV) infection in specific pathogen free (SPF) shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei juveniles. Cidofovir was injected intramuscularly at 200 mg/kg shrimp mean body weight (MBW) at the moment of WSSV challenge. Spirulina was supplemented in the shrimp diet at 25% w/w and shrimp were fed for 4 days at 5% of the MBW per day before WSSV challenge. Shrimp were inoculated orally with WSSV at a dose of 30 SID50 (SID50 = shrimp infectious dose with 50% endpoint) and clinical signs and mortality were followed for 120 h post inoculation (hpi). WSSV infection status was determined by indirect immunoflourescence (IIF) in dead and survivor shrimp at the end of the trial. In two experiments, mortality was delayed approximately for 24 h by cidofovir treatment. The 100% mortality level was reached at 96–108 hpi in mock treated shrimp, whereas in cidofovir treated shrimp, 80–90% mortality was reached at the end of experiment (120 hpi). Significant differences (p < 0.05) in the median lethal time (LT50) of cidofovir-treated shrimp and mock-treated shrimp were found by probit analysis. A Spirulina supplemented diet delayed the onset of clinical signs for 12 h but had no effect on the cumulative mortality at the end of the experiment. This study opens perspectives for antiviral drugs to treat shrimp infected with WSSV.
Raw edible seaweed harvested in the Galician coast (Northwester Spain), including two red seaweed types (Dulse and Nori), three brown seaweed (Kombu, Wakame and Sea Spaghetti), one green seaweed (Sea Lettuce) and one microalgae (Spirulina platensis) were analysed for total iodine and total bromine, as well as for iodine and bromine bioavailability by in-vitro methods (simulated gastric and intestinal digestion/dialysis). Similarly, a cooked seaweed sample (canned in brine) consisting of a mixture of two brown seaweed (Sea Spaghetti and Furbelows) and a derived product (agar–agar) from the red seaweed Gelidiumm sesquipedale, were also included in the study. All measurements were carried out by inductively coupled plasma–mass spectrometry using tellurium and yttrium as internal standards for iodine and bromine, respectively. An optimised microwave assisted alkaline (TMAH) digestion procedure was used as sample pre-treatment for total iodine and bromine determinations, as well as for the determination of both elements in the non-dialyzable fractions. PIPES buffer solution at a pH of 7.0 and dialysis membranes of 10kDa molecular weight cut off (MWCO) were used for the intestinal digestion. Accuracy of the method (total bromine and iodine determinations) was assessed by analysing a NIES-09 certified reference material. The accuracy of the in-vitro procedure was established by a mass-balance study which led, after statistical evaluation (95% confidence interval), good accuracy of the whole in-vitro process. The highest dialyzability bromine percentages (36±0.7% and 47±3.0%) were obtained for red seaweed (Dulse and Nori), while higher dialyzability iodine was assessed for the brown seaweed (Kombu), around 17%±0.7%.
Immunostimulant effects of the dietary Spirulina (Spirulina plantensis) were studied in carp, Cyprinus carpio. For this purpose, fish were fed with Spirulina and the parameters of non-specific defence mechanisms, including phagocytosis and production of superoxide anion were performed at 1, 3 and 5 days after Spirulina administration. The results showed that Spirulina enhanced responses of phagocytic activity and superoxide anion production in kidney phagocytic cells. This activation of kidney cells was observed for at least 5 days post treatment. The expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α genes also increased in fish treated with spirulina. On the other hand, the expression of IL-10 gene was decreased. Furthermore, the numbers of Aeromonas hydrophila were decreased in the liver and kidney of spirulina-treated fish. These findings suggest that dietary Spirulina has immunostimulatory effects on the innate immune system of carp.