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Importance of Arthrospira [Spirulina] in Sustainable Development

Authors:
  • Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute
  • Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute

Abstract

A r t i c l e I n f o Arthrospira are gram negative, a blue-green photolithoautotroph, filamentous cyanobacterium. The typical morphology of Arthrospira is characterized by its regularly helical coiling or spirals. There is food and dietary supplement made from two species of Arthrospira, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima, known as spirulina. These and other Arthrospira species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. Arthrospira has been has been shown to be an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, lipids, minerals, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, enzymes and pigments. Arthrospira is useful in human nutrition, due to the high quality and quantity of its protein (60%-70% of its dry weight). The nutritive value of a protein is related to the quality of amino acids, digestibility coefficient, as well as by its biological value. Arthrospira contains essential amino acids; the highest values are leucine (10.9% of total amino acids), valine (7.5%), and isoleucine (6.8%). Arthrospira is the only food priority where the country facing a serious loss of cropland and higher food imports. Arthrospira require less land and water than other and can grow in climates where other crops cannot in the country. Mainly Arthrospira production will help to improve food security and sustainability within the country. It will also create more employment opportunities for local community members. High priority will be given to local community members through increased support for small scale Arthrospira cultivation with demonstration on how individuals can manage cultivation with minimal training and technical supervision.
Int. J. Curr. Trend. Pharmacobiol. Med. Sci. 2016, 1(2): 60-68
Genene Tefera et al. (2016) / Importance of Arthrospira [Spirulina] in Sustainable Development
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International Journal of Current Trends in
Pharmacobiology and Medical Sciences
Volume 1 Number 2 (July-2016) ISSN: 2456-2432
Journal homepage: www.ijctpms.com
Review Article
Importance of Arthrospira [Spirulina] in Sustainable Development
Genene Tefera, Dereje Hailu and Zerihun Tsegaye*
Microbial Biodiversity Directorate, Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
*Corresponding author.
Ab stra ct
Ar ticl e I nfo
Arthrospira are gram negative, a blue-green photolithoautotroph, filamentous
cyanobacterium. The typical morphology of Arthrospira is characterized by its regularly
helical coiling or spirals. There is food and dietary supplement made from two species of
Arthrospira, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima, known as spirulina. These
and other Arthrospira species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. Arthrospira has
been has been shown to be an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, lipids, minerals,
carbohydrates, nucleic acids, enzymes and pigments. Arthrospira is useful in human
nutrition, due to the high quality and quantity of its protein (60%-70% of its dry weight).
The nutritive value of a protein is related to the quality of amino acids, digestibility
coefficient, as well as by its biological value. Arthrospira contains essential amino acids;
the highest values are leucine (10.9% of total amino acids), valine (7.5%), and isoleucine
(6.8%). Arthrospira is the only food priority where the country facing a serious loss of
cropland and higher food imports. Arthrospira require less land and water than other and
can grow in climates where other crops cannot in the country. Mainly Arthrospira
production will help to improve food security and sustainability within the country. It will
also create more employment opportunities for local community members. High priority
will be given to local community members through increased support for small scale
Arthrospira cultivation with demonstration on how individuals can manage cultivation
with minimal training and technical supervision.
Accepted: 03 July 2016
Available Online: 25 July 2016
Ke yword s
Arthrospira
Cyanobacteria
Supplementary diet
Therapeutic value
Introduction
Arthrospira is a genus of free-floating filamentous
cyanobacteria characterized by cylindrical, multicellular
trichomes in an open left-hand helix. There is food and
dietary supplement made from two species of
Arthrospira, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira
maxima, known as spirulina. These and other Arthrospira
species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. There
is now an agreement that they are distinct genera, and that
the food species belong to Arthrospira; nonetheless, the
inaccurate term "Spirulina" remains the popular name.
Spirulina is also the scientific name of a cyanobacteria
genus rather distant to the Arthrospira. Both phylogenetic
and morphological analysis illustrate that these microbes
are definitely bacteria not being an algae. Therefore, the
Arthrospira genus is the whole group of edible
cyanobacteria sold under the name of spirulina (Garrity
et al., 2004). Because it’s nutritional value and health
benefits, Spirulina was claimed to be an ideal food and
dietary supplement in the 21st century by Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and
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61
World Health Organization. Recently, Arthrospira attracts
more interests on its potential medical and biodiesel
application (Tokusoglu and Unal, 2003; Khan et al.,
2005; Bermejo-Bescos et al., 2008; Bachstetter et al.,
2010; Cheong et al., 2010; Zang et al., 2010; Khola and
Ghazala, 2012).
History
Arthrospira is understood to have a longer history in
Chad, as far back as the 9th century Kanem Empire. It is
still in daily use today, dried into cakes called "Dihe" or
"Die'' which are new to make broths for meals, and in
addition sold in markets. The Arthrospira is harvested
from small lakes and ponds around Lake Chad.
Arthrospira is also thought to have been a food source
for the Aztecs in 16th century Mexico, as it’s harvesting
from Lake Texcoco and sale as cakes is described by
one of Cortés' soldiers. The Aztecs called it Tecuitlatl,
which means the stone's excrement. Arthrospira was
found in abundance at the lake by French researchers
within the 1960s, but there is no reference to its use
there as a daily food source after the 16th century. The
first large-scale Spirulina production plant was
established in the early 1970s and drew attention
worldwide. Today Arthrospira is consumed by millions
of people all over the world and they are discovering
lots of health benefits apart from its nutritive value
(Ciferri, 1983; Mosulishvili et al., 2002; Reid et al.,
2006; Slonczewski and Foster, 2009; Singh et al., 2011).
Systematics
Arthrospira belongs to the oxygenic photosynthetic
bacteria that cover the groups Cyanobacteria and
Prochlorales. They are filamentous, non-heterocystous
cyanobacteria that are generally found in tropical and
subtropical regions in warm bodies of water with high
carbonate/bicarbonate content, elevated pH, and salinity.
Current taxonomic classification of Arthrospira is as
follows (Vonshak, 1997; Mosulishvili et al., 2002;
Garrity et al., 2004).
Kingdom:
Bacteria
Phylum:
Cyanobacteria
Class:
Cyanophyceae
Order:
Oscillatoriales
Family:
Phormidiaceae
Genus:
Arthrospira
Species
Arthrospira platensis, Arthrospira jenneri,
Arthrospira maxima
Morphology
Arthrospira are gram negative, a blue-green
photolithoautotroph, filamentous cyanobacterium. The
typical morphology of Arthrospira is characterized by
its regularly helical coiling or spirals. It containing one
or multiples of ten cells aligned together in a straight
line or more or less in spirals, which have been used as
important taxonomic criteria and in the rank of product
quality. These filaments have a variable length (typically
100-200 microns) and a diameter close to 8-10 microns.
Individual cells multiply in the usual manner via cell
fission. The superstructure is the helical multicellular
trichome. When the trichome is mature, it breaks up into
short cellular chains of 2-4 cells, or hormogonia. These
glide away and begin new trichomes systems (Belay,
1997; Wang et al., 2005).
Some common features have been found for the present
commercial strains of Arthrospira (A. platensis and A.
maxima), like the regular coiled helix, the blue-green
color, high growth rate, and high adaptability to the shift
of circumstances (Muhling et al., 2006).
Life cycle
There are three fundamental stages: Trichomes
fragmentation, hormogonia cells enlargement and
maturation processes, and trichome elongation. Then
this mature trichomes get divided into filaments or
hormogonia, cells in the hormogonias gets increased by
binary fission, grows lengthwise and takes their helical
form . In its natural environment, Arthrospira filaments
grow to high cell densities, leading to thick mats at the
surface of saline alkaline lakes. At night, cells respire
oxygen at high rates to generate energy for osmotic
balance, thereby regularly encountering microoxic or
anoxic conditions (Kebede and Ahlgren, 1996; Ali and
Saleh, 2012).
Ecology
Arthrospira has been on the planet over 3 billion years.
It still grows wild and abundantly around the world in
very alkaline, mineral-rich, largely pollution-free, soda
lakes. Arthrospira is not sea bacteria. However, the
fresh-water ponds and lakes Arthrospira favors are
notably more alkaline, in the range of 8 to 11 pH, than
ordinary lakes and cannot sustain any other forms of
microorganisms. This water is too salty (up to pH 11) to
support fish, to use for growing terrestrial crops or for
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drinking. But it is perfect for growing Arthrospira.
Arthrospira thrives in very warm waters of 32 to 45 0C
(approximately 85 to 112 0F), and has even survived in
temperatures of 60 0C (140 0F). Certain desert-adapted
species will survive when their pond habitats evaporate
in the intense sun, drying to a dormant state on rocks as
hot as 700C (1600F). In this dormant condition, the
naturally blue-green bacteria turn a frosted white and
develop a sweet flavor as its 71% protein structure is
transformed into polysaccharide sugars by the heat. In
fact, the hotter it gets and the more the mineral salts
concentrate as water evaporates the faster and more
prolifically Arthrospira grows (Abdulqader et al., 2000;
Gao and Zengling, 2007).
Ironically and significantly, the most fertile valley of
soda lakes with heavy Arthrospira growth today lies in
Africa. In East Africa, the Great Rift Valley begins in
Ethiopia and runs vertically through desert wastelands
for hundreds of miles linking Ethiopia, Kenya,
Tanzania, and Botswana. This valley floor is lined with
several large soda lakes. These lakes are large basins
concentrating huge quantities of mineral salts leached
from the volcanic soils by rainwater runoff over
millennia. Along with the intense heat and sunlight of
the area, these lakes provide the perfect growing
conditions for Arthrospira [Spirulina] (Kebede and
Ahlgren, 1996; Genene Tefera, 2008).
In Ethiopia, three soda lakes, Lake Arenguade (Hadho)
(approx. 3 km south of Bishoftu), Lake Kilole
(approx.14 km East of Bishoftu) and Lake Chitu
(approx. 37 Km west of Shashemene near by Senbete
Shala) were known as lakes rich with Arthrospira. But
Kenya and Chad are the spirulina bread baskets". In
Kenya- Lake Bogoria (11+ square miles), Lake
Elementita (7+ square miles), Lake Magadi (29+ square
miles), Lake Nakuru (30 square miles), and Lake
Turkana (2,325 square miles) contain quantities of
Arthrospira (Kebede and Ahlgren, 1996; Genene Tefera,
2008).
Huge Lake Chad, which is situated both in Chad and
Nigeria, contains Arthrospira in one section of the lake
that comprises approximately one-fourth of its surface
area, or 1,600 square miles. Based on observed growth
rates of 10 grams per square meter per day, Scientists of
the Microalgae International Union calculate that Lake
Bogoria alone is capable of producing continuously over
290 tons of dry spirulina per day (Kebede and Ahlgren,
1996; Mosulishvili et al., 2002; Genene Tefera, 2008).
Chemical composition and nutritional value
Since 1970, Arthrospira has been analyzed chemically.
It has been shown to be an excellent source of proteins,
vitamins, lipids, minerals, carbohydrates, nucleic acids,
enzymes and pigments. Arthrospira is useful in human
nutrition, due to the high quality and quantity of its
protein (60%-70% of its dry weight). The nutritive value
of a protein is related to the quality of amino acids,
digestibility coefficient, as well as by its biological
value. Arthrospira contains essential amino acids; the
highest values are leucine (10.9% of total amino acids),
valine (7.5%), and isoleucine (6.8%). Denaturation of
Arthrospira protein is observed when it is heated above
670C, at neutral aqueous solution. Hydrophobic regions
interaction during heating and hydrogen bonds
formation during cooling are aggregation and gelation
factors of Arthrospira protein (Ciferri, 1983; Dagnelie et
al., 1991; Belay and Ota 1993; Dillon et al., 1995;
Hayashi et al., 1996; Genene Tefera, 2008).
Among food, Arthrospira has a relative high
provitamin-A concentration. An excessive dose of β-
carotene may be toxic, but when the β-carotene is
ingested from the Arthrospira, it is usually harmless
since the human organism only converts into vitamin A
the quantity it needs. Arthrospira a is a very rich source
in vitamin B12, and that is a reason why these
Cyanobacteria are of great value for people needing
supplements in the treatment of pernicious anemia. Also
contains 4-7% lipids. It has essential fatty acids: linoleic
acid (LA) and g-linolenic acid (GLA). The latter is
claimed to have medicinal properties and is required for
arachidonic acid and prostaglandin synthesis. GLA
lowers low-density lipoprotein, being 170-fold more
effective than LA. Iron in some nutritional complements
is not appropriately absorbed. Iron in Arthrospira is 60%
better absorbed than ferrous sulfate and other
complements. Consequently, it could represent an
adequate source of iron in anemic pregnant women
(Iwata et al., 1990; Dagnelie et al., 1991; Hayashi et al.,
1994; Dillon et al., 1995; Hayashi et al., 1996; Genene
Tefera, 2008).
Arthrospira contains about 13.6% carbohydrates; some
of these are glucose, rhamnose, mannose, xylose and
galactose. Arthrospira does not have cellulose in its cell
wall, a feature that makes it an appropriate and
important foodstuff for people with problems of poor
intestinal absorption, and geriatric patients. A new high
molecular weight polysaccharide, with immuno-
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63
stimulatory activity has been isolated from Arthrospira
and is called “Immulina”. This highly water-soluble
polysaccharide represents between 0.5% and 2.0%
(w/w) of the dry mass (Dillon et al., 1995; Hayashi et
al., 1996; Genene Tefera, 2008).
One of the main concerns about the consumption of
microorganisms is their high content of nucleic acids
that may cause disease such as gout. Arthrospira
contains 2.2%-3.5% of RNA and 0.6 %-1% of DNA,
which represents less than 5% of these acids, based on
dry weight. These values are smaller than those of other
microalgae like Chlorella and Scenedesmus (Dillon et
al., 1995; Hayashi et al., 1996; Genene Tefera, 2008).
Some natural pigments are found in Arthrospira. These
pigments are responsible for the characteristic colors of
certain flamingo species that consume these
Cyanobacteria in the African Valley (Kebede et al.,
1994; Genene Tefera, 2008) (For detailed information,
see Tables 1 and 2).
Table 1. Nutritional composition of the world's best complete
food-Spirulina (Dillon et al., 1995; Kebede et al., 1994;
Tokusoglu and Unal, 2003; Khan et al.; 2005; Genene Tefera,
2008).
Nutrients
By dry weight
Protein
50-77 %
Carbohydrates
15-25 %
Lipids (fats)
6- 8 %
Fiber
8-10 %
Vitamins
per 10 g
A
23000 IU
B1
0.35 mg
B2
0.40 mg
B3
1.4 mg
B6
80 mcg
B12
20 mcg
C
90 mcg
D
1200 IU
E
1.9 mg
K
200 mcg
Beta Carotene
14 mg
Biotin
0.5 mcg
Inositol
6.4 mg
Folic acid
1 mcg
Nicotinic acid
1.18mg
Pantothenic acid
10 mcg
Mineral
per 10 g
Calcium
70 mg
Iron
15 mg
Phosphorus
80 mg
Magnesium
40 mg
Zinc
0.3 mg
Selenium
10 mcg
Copper
120 mcg
Manganese
0.5 mg
Chromium
25 mcg
Sodium
90 mg
Potassium
140 mg
Germanium
60 mcg
Natural pigment phytonutrients
per 10 g
Phycocyanin (blue)
1400 mg
Chlorophyll (green)
100 mg
Carotenoids (orange)
47 mg
Natural phytonutrients
per 10 g
Gama Linolenic Acid (essential
fatty acid)
130 mg
Palmitic acid
210 mg
Linoleic acid
138 mg
Alpha Linolenic acid
70 mg
Chlorophyll-a
76 mg
Beta Sitosterol
1 mg
Glycolipids
200 mg
Sulfolipids
10 mg
Polysaccharides
460 mg
Natural pigments (carotenoids)
per 10 g
Carotenes (orange)
25 mg
Beta Carotene
21 mg
Other Carotenes
4 mg
Xanthophylls (yellow)
22 mg
Myxoxanthophyll
9 mg
Zeaxanthin
8 mg
Crytoxanthin
1 mg
Echinenone
3 mg
Other Xanthophyll's
3 mg
Amino acids
per 10 g
Essential Amino Acids
Isoleucine
350 mg
Leucine
540 mg
Lysine
290 mg
Methionine
140 mg
Phenylalanine
280 mg
Threonine
320 mg
Tryptophan
90 mg
Valine
400 mg
Non-Essential Amino Acids
Alanine
470 mg
Arginine
430 mg
Aspartic acid
610 mg
Cystine
60 mg
Glutamic acid
910 mg
Glycine
320 mg
Histidine
100 mg
Proline
270 mg
Serine
320 mg
Tyrosine
300 mg
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Table 2. Some of comparative nutritional values (Genene
Tefera, 2008; Ashraf, 2014)
Protein
g/100g
Eggs
13.3
Milk
4.3
Soya bean
43.2
Pulses (black gram)
24.0
Spirulina
55-77
Beta-Carotene
mcg/100g
Carrots
1890
Spinach
5580
Mango
2740
Spirulina
190000
Vitamin B12
mcg/100g
Milk
0.60
Spirulina
5
Iron
g/100g
Soya bean
11.5
Spinach
10.9
Spirulina
32
When we see to health benefits of spirulina, studies are
showing that it may exhibit antiviral, anticancer,
antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activity. It has also
been shown to have beneficial effects on controlling
cholesterol, diabetes, coronary artery disease, weight
loss and wound healing.
Therapeutic value of Arthrospira
Many toxicological studies have proven Arthrospira as
safe food for human consumption. It currently belongs
to the substances that are listed by the US Food and
Drug Administration under the category Generally
Recognized as Safe (GRAS) (Salazar et al., 1996) and it
now, can be found in health food stores and is sold
mainly as a dietary supplement in the form of health
drinks or tablets. Arthrospira increases healthy
Lactobacillus in the intestine, enabling the production of
Vitamin B6 that also helps in energy release. It has also
been well documented that Arthrospira exhibits anti-
inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of
histamine from mast cells (Yang et al., 1997; Kim, et al.,
1998). Ishii and his colleagues (1999) studied the
influence of Arthrospira on IgA levels in human saliva
and demonstrated that it enhances IgA production,
suggesting a pivotal role of microalga in mucosal
immunity. Hirahashi and his coworkers (2002) identified
the molecular mechanism of the human immune
capacity of Arthrospira by analyzing blood cells of
volunteers with pre- and post-oral administration of hot
water extract of Arthrospira platensis. IFN-γ production
and Natural Killer (NK) cell damage were increased
after administration of the Arthrospira extracts to male
volunteers.
Now days it is well understood that deficiency of
nutrients is responsible for changes in immunity, which
manifests as changes in production of T-cells, secretory
IgA antibody response, cytokines and NK-cell activity.
The nutritional constitute of Arthrospira may modulate
the immune system by its role in covering nutritional
deficiencies. On the other hand, Hayashi and his
coworkers (1996) reported that the active component of
the water extract of A. platensis is a sulfated
polysaccharide and calcium spirulan (Ca-Sp). They also
described that Ca-Sp inhibits the in vitro replication of
several enveloped viruses including Herpes simplex type
I, human cytomegalovirus, measles and mumps virus,
influenza A virus and human immunodeficiency virus-1
virus (HIV-1). In other in vitro experiment (Ayehunie
et al., 1998) showed that an aqueous extract of A.
platensis inhibited HIV-1 replication in human T-cells,
peripheral blood mononuclear cells and Langerhan cells.
The hypolipidemic effect of Arthrospira and its extracts
have been demonstrated in various animal models
including mouse, rat, hamster and rabbit. The
cholesterol lowering activity of Arthrospira was first
reported in albino rats (Devi et al., 1983), followed by in
mice (Kato et al., 1984). In the mouse study,
supplementation of 16% Arthrospira in a high fat and
cholesterol diet resulted in a significant reduction in
total serum cholesterol, LDL, VLDL cholesterol and
phospholipids whereas serum HDL cholesterol was
concurrently increased. In addition, high hepatic lipids
induced by the high fat and cholesterol diet were
markedly reduced by Arthrospira consumption.
Iwata and his coworkers (1990) evaluated effects of
Arthrospira platensis on plasma lipoprotein lipase
activity in fructose-induced hyperlipidemic rats. They
reported that increasing percentages of Arthrospira (5,
10, and 15%) in the diet significantly improved the
hyperlipidemic profiles. Correlating with such
improvement in lipid profiles, Arthrospira feeding
resulted in a significant increase in lipoprotein lipase
and hepatic triglyceride lipase activity. Such increased
lipase activity by Arthrospira was suggested as a
mechanism for improving the hyperlipidemia induced
by high fructose diet. Ramamoorthy and Premakumari
(1996) also assessed effect of administered Arthrospira
supplements in ischemic heart disease patients and
found a significant reduction in blood cholesterol,
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triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and an increase in
HDL cholesterol. Similarly, Mani and his coworkers
(2000) in a clinical study, found a significant reduction
in LDL: HDL ratio in 15 diabetic patients who were
given Arthrospira.
It has been argued that the combined antioxidant and
immune modulation characteristics of Arthrospira may
have a possible mechanism of tumor destruction and
hence play a role in cancer prevention. With this regard
several animal and human in vitro studies were
conducted. Mathew and his colleagues (1995) conducted
an experiment that looked specifically at the effects of
Arthrospira on oral carcinogenesis in particular
leukoplakia. This study was conducted on a cohort of 77
patients originates from previous trials on hamsters that
showed tumor regression after topical application or
enteral intake of Arthrospira extract. They reported that
45% of their study cohort showed complete regression
of leukoplakia after taking Arthrospira supplements for
one year. The authors also reported that there was no
rise in the serum concentration of retinal β-carotene
despite supplementation and concluded that other
constituents within Arthrospira may have been
responsible for the anticancer effects.
A number of animal studies have been carried out to
evaluate the antioxidant and/or anti-inflammatory
activities of Arthrospira. In one study with aged male
rats (Gemma et al., 2002), Arthrospira reversed age-
related increase in proinflammatory cytokines in
cerebellum, such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)
and TNF-β. Arthrospira supplementation also
significantly decreased the oxidative marker MDA
whereas increased the cerebellar ß-adrenergic receptor
function which was reduced by aging. The data thus
demonstrated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
activities of Arthrospira in aged rats. Doxorubicin
(DOX) is an anthracycline antibiotic primarily used in
the treatment of cancers. However, its application is
limited due to its cardiac toxicity. The generation of
ROS, lipid peroxidation, iron-dependent oxidative
damage leading to mitochondrial dysfunction has been
implicated in doxorubicin (DOX)-induced cardiotoxicity
(Doroshow, 1991; Xu, et al., 2001). To determine
whether Arthrospira has cardioprotective activity in
DOX-induced cardiotoxicity, mice were treated with
DOX alone or DOX with Spirulina (Khan, et al., 2005).
As expected, mice administrated with DOX exhibited
severe cardiac pathologies. However, feeding of
Arthrospira at a dose of 250 mg/kg significantly
decreased the mortality, ascites and lipid peroxidation;
normalized the antioxidant enzymes levels; and
minimized the microscopic damages to the heart. The
data indicated that Arthrospira had a protective effect on
cardiotoxicity induced by DOX, most likely through its
antioxidant activity (Gemma et al., 2002).
In addition, a large number of animal studies were
carried out to investigating the preventive or protective
effects of Arthrospira intake on environmental toxicant,
chemical, heavy metal or drug-induced oxidative stress
and inflammation. Accumulative data from those studies
concluded that Arthrospira ingestion significantly
relieved or totally prevented the oxidative stress or
inflammation, and their associated pathological damages
induced by insulting compounds. Although those studies
were not directly investigating Arthrospira’s effects on
cardiovascular conditions, the findings clearly
demonstrated the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
activities of Arthrospira (Gemma et al., 2002).
Arthrospira produce a diverse range of bioactive
molecules, making them a rich source of different types
of medicines. Vinay and his coworkers (2012) evaluated
four different strains of Arthrospira platensis that were
isolated from different habitats and tested with three
different concentrations prepared in four different
solvent extracts (N-hexane, Chloroform, Acetone,
Methanol) to check the antimicrobial activity of
microbes (Microsporum canis MTCC-3270, M. fulvum
MTCC-7675, Candida albicans MTCC-227) and
bacteria (Salmonella typhimurium MTCC-TA 98,
Staphylococcus aureus MTCC-96) by using Agar-well
diffusion method. Their research finding revealed that
the Arthrospira extracts had antimicrobial activity of
which effectiveness varied with strain and extion
solvent. Mona and his colleagues (2014) showed that the
total crude (70%) methanol extract and five successive
extracts of Arthrospira platensis were tested against four
types of viruses using cell viability assay and nine
strains of Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria as
well as Candida albicans using disc diffusion method.
The results revealed that the total methanol and n-
hexane extracts were significantly active against all
tested viruses showing mean % inhibition of 56.7% and
66.7% against rotavirus Wa strain; 60% and 63.3%
against adenovirus type 7; 53.3% and 50% against
adenovirus type 40 respectively and 50% for both
extracts against Coxsackievirus B4. The ethyl acetate
extractive was active only against rotavirus Wa strain
with 53.3% inhibition. Normal hexane extract was most
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potent against Salmonella senftenberg with 58.5%
inhibition.
The status of Arthrospira in Lake Chitu
Arthrospira of Lake Chitu serves as the main food
source for the large flocks of lesser flamingos
inhabiting the lake. Strains of Arthrospira from this
lake have also been used for various scientific studies
and commercial cultures elsewhere (Li et al., 2001).
Lake Chitu is a tropical creator lake located in the
Ethiopian Rift Valley some 287 km south of Addis
Ababa at a geographical position of 7023’N 38024’E
and latitude of 1600masl. It is a small soda lake known
for its natural monospecific population of Arthrospira
and the associated unusually high primary productivity.
The lake is characterized by environmental conditions,
which are ideal for the growth of Arthrospira. The lake
water has high pH, salinity alkalinity and frequently
limiting levels of inorganic nitrogen compounds
(Kebede, 1994). The lake is within the closed basin and
lakes obvious surface outflow and inflows, and
receives water from direct precipitation and a few hot
springs located at its shores It experiences high
evaporation concentration, which is the major factor
for its saline-alkaline nature (Legesse et al., 2002;
Gebremariam, 2002).
The Ethiopian Biodiversity Institute with other
stakeholders is working on the restoration and
rehabilitation of Chitu Lake as In-situ conservation site
for Arthrospira and other microalgael biodiversity. The
purpose is to preserve the species and populations in a
natural state in the habitat where they naturally occur.
This preserves both the population and the evolutionary
processes that enable the population to adapt by
managing biotic and abiotic factors in their natural state
and within their normal range.
Conclusion
Arthrospira has no hidden environmental costs and
offers more nutrition than any other products. It
conserves land and soil and uses water and energy more
efficiently than other foods. Arthrospira appears to have
considerable potential for development, especially as a
small-scale crop for nutritional enhancement, livelihood
development and environmental mitigation. In many
countries of Africa, it is used as human food as an
important source of protein and is collected from natural
water, dried and eaten. It has gained considerable
popularity in the human health food industry and in
many countries of Asia it is used as protein supplement
and as human health food. Arthrospira has been used as
a complementary dietary ingredient of feed for poultry
and increasingly as a protein and vitamin supplement to
aqua feeds (Habib et al., 2008).
Arthrospira is the only food priority where the country
facing a serious loss of cropland and higher food
imports. Arthrospira require less land and water than
other and can grow in climates where other crops cannot
in the country. Mainly Arthrospira production will help
to improve food security and sustainability within the
country. It will also create more employment
opportunities for local community members. High
priority will be given to local community members
through increased support for small scale Arthrospira
cultivation with demonstration on how individuals can
manage cultivation with minimal training and technical
supervision.
Recommendation
As it is well known, Ethiopia, with enormous natural
resources, has been wounded by drought and famine.
However, the country could have the potential to
produce abundant food for its people. One of these
natural resources is Arthrospira platensis after which
Ethiopia is recognized as one of the home countries for
the "food of the future", supplier of the best food. Even
so, after 20 years, since harvesting of spirulina from
lakes in Ethiopia was proposed, practically nothing has
happened.
Currently, ending poverty and hunger is a primary goal
of UN-Sustainable Development Goals No. 1 (End
poverty in all its forms everywhere) and 2 (End hunger,
achieve food security and improved nutrition and
promote sustainable agriculture). We think, one of the
oldest forms of life and the oldest food complement used
by humanity which affirms itself as one of the best
solutions against malnutrition and gives hope back to
developing countries, including Ethiopia, to realize these
goals.
What actions are to be undertaken to develop a healthy
diet, where spirulina, the magic food, has its place. And
say, there has increasingly free space in our countryside
where install spirulina farms. And we strongly believe
that spirulina will be a primary solution to combat
malnutrition and hunger in our country!
Int. J. Curr. Trend. Pharmacobiol. Med. Sci. 2016, 1(2): 60-68
Genene Tefera et al. (2016) / Importance of Arthrospira [Spirulina] in Sustainable Development
67
Conflict of interest statement
Authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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How to cite this article:
Genene Tefera, Hailu, D., Tsegaye, Z., 2016. Importance of Arthrospira [Spirulina] in sustainable development. Int.
J. Curr. Trend. Pharmacobiol. Med. Sci. 1(2), 60-68.
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Algae appear to be an emerging source of biomass for biodiesel that has the potential to completely displace fossil fuel. Two thirds of earth's surface is covered with water, thus algae would truly be renewable option of great potential for global energy needs. This study discusses specific and comparative biodiesel quantitative potential of Cladophora sp., also highlighting its biomass (after oil extraction), pH and sediments (glycerine, water and pigments) quantitative properties. Comparison of Cladophora sp., with Oedogonium sp., and Spirogyra sp., (Hossain et al., 2008) shows that Cladophora sp., produce higher quantity of biodiesel than Spirogyra sp., whereas biomass and sediments were higher than the both algal specimens in comparison to the results obtained by earlier workers. No prominent difference in pH of biodiesel was found. In Pakistan this is a first step towards biodiesel production from algae. Results indicate that Cladophora sp., provide a reasonable quantity of biodiesel, its greater biomass after oil extraction and sediments make it a better option for biodiesel production than the comparing species.
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