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Production Methods, Economics and Effects of Spirulina Food Supplementation on Malnourished Children

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Abstract

The world demand for food and energy is ever exponentially growing. According to the UN we will need 50% more food by the year 2050. Therefore. exploiting new resources is urgent. Experiments on Spirulina as a dietary supplement, economic comparison with Spirulina recording on FM medium about 68% protein in dry weight 15~18g*m-2week-1(differs with temperature and sunlight exposure), .The Algae showed environmental and economic viability compared to other comparable products and for unit of value product in since of 1g protein for Spirulina vs. soy bean was 0.7:0.9 cents and land use of 17:1 g*m-2 year-1(according to National Soybean Research Laboratory. Retrieved 2015-10-14. estimate), also it is hypo-allergic compared to beans and nuts generally. A human supplementation experiment was done on malnutrition effected individuals ageing from 20 month to 5y old to compare the Spirulina protein to a placebo and whey protein showing significant superiority of Spirulina. Dosage of 2.5 g/day Spirulina gave similar effects to 7.5 g of whey, yet higher dosages showed some adverse effects, causing significant muscular growth but over all weight staggering .
Production Methods, Economics and Effects of Spirulina
Food Supplementation on Malnourished Children
Serag, A.M.1,,2, Higazy, A.M.1; Basir, M.2; Mappiratu, H.2; Nilawati, J.2 ; Rahman, N. 3 ; Bohari,C.K.3and Burhanuddin,I.3
1. Microbiol. Dept., Fac. Agric., Cairo Univ., Giza-Egypt.
2. Faculty of Post Graduate Studies, Tadulako University, Indonesia.
3. Faculty of Public Health, Tadulako University, Indonesia.
Abstract—The world demand for food and energy is ever exponentially growing. According to the UN we will need 50%
more food by the year 2050. Therefore. exploiting new resources is urgent. Experiments on Spirulina as a dietary
supplement, economic comparison with Spirulina recording on FM medium about 68% protein in dry weight 15~18g*m-
2week-1(differs with temperature and sunlight exposure), .The Algae showed environmental and economic viability
compared to other comparable products and for unit of value product in since of 1g protein for Spirulina vs. soy bean was
0.7:0.9 cents and land use of 17:1 g*m-2 year-1(according to National Soybean Research Laboratory. Retrieved 2015-10-
14. estimate), also it is hypo-allergic compared to beans and nuts generally . A human supplementation experiment was
done on malnutrition effected individuals ageing from 20 month to 5y old to compare the Spirulina protein to a placebo and
whey protein showing significant superiority of Spirulina . Dosage of 2.5 g/day Spirulina gave similar effects to 7.5 g of
whey, yet higher dosages showed some adverse effects, causing significant muscular growth but over all weight staggering.
Key words: Malnutrition, Microalgae-based products, Single cell Protein, Spirulina , Dietary supplements.
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1 INTRODUCTION
Algae describes as a large and diverse group of simple,
plant-like organisms found in salt water and some large
fresh water lakes (Tokusoglu and Uunal, 2003). blue-green
algae is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.
two varieties, Spirulina and Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, are the
most consumed forms of blue green algae; which has
superfood status due to high concentrations of proteins,
vitamins and nutrients (kay, 1991).
since the early 70s algal products have been realized for
their superfood potential by many studies done by a lot of
research organizations most notably the FAO, (2011) for its
potential to close the food gap and the meal quality/poverty
crisis. Spirulina was scale produced and experimented on it
as food additive in comparison to market ready whey
protein to reduce malnutrition in a group of effected
children aging between 20 month to 5 years.
2MATERIALS AND METHODS
Algal Media: Slandered: Zarouk Media (Spirulina selective
media). , Also a new reduced cost fertilizer based media
(FM) was developed in this study for mass production of
Spirulina which is NaHCO3 (8g/l), NaNO3 (2.5g/l), NaCl
(0.5g/l), MgSO4.7H2O (0.15g/l), CaCl2.2H2O (0.04g/l) Single
Super Phosphate “SSP” (1.25g/l), KCl fertilizer “MoP”
(0.98g/l) +Pre-Boiled tap water.
2.1.Serial dilution:
This method was used to lower cell-count per cm3 of
culture for pure isolation of algal species, it’s a general
microbiological practice done to lower the cell count in a
liquid culture (Ben-Davida & Davidsonb, 2014).
2.2.Phototaxis:
This method was used in photo-taxis incubator to isolate
single Spirulina filament (Baker et al., 2015).
2.3. Double-blind placebo/control/substrate clinical trial :
For determination of the effectiveness of Spirulina as a
food supplement for malnutrition individuals (Astrupet al.,
1990).
2.4. Amino Acid HPLC analysis :
The determination of amino-acid profile of algae was
carried out according to Lookhart and Jones (1985).
2.5.Scale-Up culture technique:
Used to scale up cultured algae from 200 ml flasks to 2l
bottles to 20l jugs to mini 400l ponds to full mass production
60m3 ponds to overcome long lag phase of bacterial cultures
(Lonsanea et al., 1992).
2.6. Clinical trial:
A Spirulina based product vs. whey powder based
product vs. a placebo, with concentrations of 7.5, 5 and 2.5
grams of Spirulina was mixed to an “orange flavor-sugar
base” and given codes T@ 7.5, T@ 5 and T@ 2.5 respectively
(Gad et al., 2011 ; Mark Wolraich, 2011 andHassan et al.,
2012 ).
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The whey based product of 7.5, 5 and 2.5 g was
mixed to an “orange flavor-sugar base” and given codes
7.5, 5 and 2.5 B@, respectively.
Finlay, the placebo was made by mixing 7.5 g of wheat
flower with the “orange flavor-sugar base” and given code
7.5 K @.
Each of these products was given on a daily basis for 5
malnutrition affected children aging between 2 to 5 years
old for a one month period totaling 35 children.
The navel line skin fold measurement, height, body mass
biceps and triceps muscle and hand force was taken for
every child .
Before and after the experiment, the bodies mass only
were taken on the 15 day’s mark.
All the 5 children that were giving the placebo received a
1 month stock of whey powder mix after the end of the
experiment working with Belmont Report value of
Beneficence.
3 RESULTS
Spirulina production proved to be economically viable in
the since its startup production is expensive yet it can break
even easily within a 2~3 years period with current market
prices (roughly 50 used a kilo) according to Alibaba online
supplier’s market, even thaw it’s cheap and convenient to
produce individually for personal use, thaw this may appear to
be controversial it’s due to the fact that large scale production
is labor enhancive and use highly specialized equipment and
professionals, also 1kg can support a single user for almost
6~12 months (based on this study) which is less than 0.25$ a
day/person if bought from the market and less than 0.07$ if
grown individually
in Table (1) is a detailed total cost and brake even analysis
of such a project over time in Egypt.
Table 1: Total cost and brake even analysis of such a project
over time in Egypt:
Year 2015 2016
Month January to
June July to
December
January to
June July to
December
Investment 200,000
Personnel 18,400 16.650 17,950 16,200
Electricity 18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000
Chemicals 2,000 2,000 2,000 1,000
Other 1,700 1,700 1,700 6000
Total Exp 240,100 38,350 39,650 41,200
Spirulina
Sales 120,000 155,000 155,000 155,000
Other
Income ---- ---- 2,000 1,000
Total Rev 120,000 155,000 157,000 156,000
Difference -120,100 116,650 117,350 114,800
Cash flow -2,164,400 -1,662,550 -1,055,450 -345,700
It’s important to note that the size of this project was on10
Fadden of land totaling 120 race way pools of dimensions
25*5+ 2 half circles of radius 2.5m and a depth of 50cm as
shown in (Figs.1,2) as mentioned (Belay, 1798 ).
Fig. 1. Spirulina pool design.
Fig. 2. Spirulina pool design.
Each 2 pools are covered with a plastic greenhouse driven
with a 2hp irrigation pump with a modified blade to reduce cell
damage, as for the media used for mass production it was
“FM” media mentioned in above materials and methods, on the
other hand, the harvesting is done with a simple cheese cloth
with the same pump of the pool itself( Fig. 3) as mentioned
(Cohen, 1798).
Fig. 3. The harvesting.
Then dried on rack ambient air dryer (Fig. 4) to insure
nutrients loss is minimal,
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Fig. 4. Spirulina dried on rack ambient air dryer.
The dry chunks is then milled down to powder and sterilized
with an ultraviolet light for 2h.
This production method proved to be cheap, repeatable and
not sophisticated to be home made with materials and
chemicals available for poor families and farmers compared to
the other production modules of algae.
Finally in the clinical trial the sterile Spirulina powder was
mixed with an orange flavor and sugar base and distributed on
local public health care centers (poskesmas) to be given to
malnourished children after local authorities and their parent’s
consciences, along with whey powder and a placebo and the
results are as illustrated in graphs ( 1,2 and 3) .
In the 2.5g dosage Spirulina gave the best body mass
increase, also quantitatively somewhat higher lean mass
increase than whey protein in the same dosage level, the slight
increase in body mass in the placebo group is not statistically
significant and is due to the fact that these children are
growing.
the 5g dosage Spirulina gave a lowering effect on body
mass something very undesirable in underweight individuals,
but also quantitatively a significantly higher lean mass increase
than whey protein in the same dosage level, Also a very high
increase in grip strength >50%in Spirulina group individuals
but <25% for whey group individuals, the slight increase in
body mass in the placebo group is not significant and is due to
the fact that this children are growing.
In the 7.5g dosage Spirulina gave an insignificant lowering
effect on body mass still undesirable in underweight
individuals, but also quantitatively a significantly higher lean
mass increase than whey protein in the same dosage level, Also
a very high increase in grip strength >50%in Spirulina group
individuals but <25% for whey group individuals, the slight
increase in body mass in the placebo group is not statistically
significant and is due to the fact that this children are growing.
A. Hypothesis explaining the clinical trial results:
High dosages of Spirulina seem to have a fat burning effect,
it’s not recommended to use a dosage over 2.5g per day for
underweight children.
Thaw (5g,7.5g) dosages showed weight loss, high muscular
(biceps and triceps) volume increased and stomach skin-fold
decreased, also the grip strength increased by about 55% in all
test subject pointing to high muscular anabolism, Thaw more
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
Spirulina2.5g Whey2.5g plesibo
kg
group
Graph 1 body weight at 2.5 dosage
after
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Spirulina5g Whey5g plesibo
kg
group
Graph 2 body weight at 5 dosage
before
after
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
Spirulina7.5g Whey7.5g plesibo
kg
group
Graph 3 body weight at 7.5 dosage
before
after
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research in needed the result recommend a dosage of at-least
5g Spirulina for individuals looking to increase lean mass to
fat percentage ratio.
Low dosage of Spirulina (2.5g/day) showed similar results
to 7.5g/day of whey making it not only a cheaper but a more
effective per unit dosage than whey.
It’s important to note that a better overall health were
reported by caregivers of the children taking Spirulina that
may be due to the effect reported in FAO (2011) That that
Spirulina help increases the immunity.
4DISCUSSION
Among 10 countries 9 were found to have a direct link
between poverty and malnutrition – Chad was the only country
that was poor but had no malnutrition.
Modern day technology allows us to grow Spirulina in man-
made machines called Photo Bio-Reactors (PBR) – these
machines are ideal to grow the algae in conditions where the
natural habitat would otherwise not permit the cell to normally
grow.
Although briefly mentioned in this study PBRs are not ideal
to grow and harvest Spirulina in the ESA-IO region for
primarily two reasons.
Firstly the initial start-up costs are too high – and although
most PBRs promise high yields in micro-algae production in
reality only some are able to achieve those promises. Secondly
most of the region is favorable to Spirulina growth without the
use of expensive machines and it can be cultured and harvested
fairly easily in man-made basins and ponds.
Spirulina is a highly nutritious natural substance, which has
in recent years gained, once again, interest in both developing
and developed countries. It is very in high protein content;
yields 20 times more protein per acre than soybeans, 40 times
more than corn, and over 200 times more than beef make it an
ideal food supplement for everyone (Kaldy, 1972).
More awareness needs to be raised so that people understand
what Spirulina can do, its high protein, vitamin, mineral and
micro-nutrient properties are good for both the ill (HIV/AIDS),
malnourished children and infants and for the public health
Conscious: In some cases Spirulina has been incorrectly
marketed as a medicine giving people, particularly the ill, false
hope in fact Spirulina is a food supplement whose main
benefit is the boosting of the immune system (FAO, 2011).
This study found very similar results to that stated in this
report thaw the production was slightly less than that stated by
the F.A.O. but was well above average and can create
investment attractive revenue, we strongly recommend
Spirulina as a food additive/ supplement for the poor in
Indonesia, Egypt and other countries across the world.
“Substantial amounts of vitamin B12 were found in some
edible algae (green and purple layers) and algal health food
(chlorella and Spirulina tablets) using the Lactobacillus
delbrueckii subsp. lactis ATCC7830 microbiological assay
method. Corrinoid compounds were purified and characterized
from these algae to clarify the chemical properties and
bioavailability of the algal vitamin B12. True vitamin B12 is
the predominate cobamide of green and purple layers and
chlorella tablets. Feeding the purple layer to vitamin B12-
deficient rats significantly improved the vitamin B12 status.
The results suggest that algal vitamin B12 is a bioavailable
source for mammals (Watanabe et al., 2002).
In this study we found no evidence that the dry Spirulina had
any active B12 and that the cobamide is ineffective and
biologically invaluable for humans (Pseudo-vitamin B12)We
strongly Advice against the use of dry Spirulina as a source of
B12,low B12 levels have been linked to severe and
irreversible damage, especially to the brain and nervous system
in humans , Spirulina need to be fortified otherwise it's a Nell
source of the vitamin.
Spirulina is highly nutritious but it’s not risk free, a high
dosage can cause liver damage (vitamin A toxicity), high load
on kidneys (salts and urea) and hypertension (it’s significantly
high in sodium).
Spirulina is cheap to produce and very profitable to sell but
the infrastructure of the production facilities is budget braking
and a very big investment.
Whey in not cheap and contain lactose, making it not
palatable by most adults (65% of the world population
according to the FAO are sensitive or intolerant to lactose),
also doesn't seem to effect lean mass and grip strength like
Spirulina making it an inferior product.
Thaw a 2.5g dosage may seem insignificant, this experiment
was done on children weighing around 10kg each, and for
similar effects on heavier individuals we recommend adjusting
the dosage to their body mass.
5RECOMMENDATIONS
“Spirulina proved to be a cheap alternative protein, thaw
dosage have to be closely monitored, unlike conventional whey
supplements also lower in palatability yet a good source that
could be given to malnutrition effected children in low dosages
to elevate the effects of malnutrition leading to a better overall
health, immunity, body weight and strength, very scalable and
versatile to fit individual and community needs even in poverty
affected households”
So we recommend that :
1.Spirulina to be given to malnutrition and underweight
Individuals.
2.Education and tanning about spirulina home and
community culture to be applied in Indonesia were
individuals learn how to grow and use spirulina for their
personal use and for economic profit .
3.National Production of Spirulina and distribution on
“Puskesmases” (local health care posts) as a food supplement
for malnutrition effected children , Moms and elderly.
4.Development of a system for Local in puskesmas
production to cover the needs of community.
5.More research is needed in the way of consumption and
added taste because Spirulina is not something that a child
would be willing to eat.
6.Spirulina showed that it have a lean mass increasing effect
while lowering body fat% ,it may have the potential to be a
very good food supplement for the old, cancer patients and
people seeking weight loss and lean mass increase, more
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research is needed to clarify this point and to determine
suitable dosages for this applications.
7.Spirulina is a food supplement not a wonder-drug as some
marketers clam, An individual with a balanced digit and no
weight issues, A stable immunity and vitamin intake should
not take Spirulina supplements, Spirulina suppliants can
cause over-nutrition, and in extreme cases toxicity by
vitamins and minerals.
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Belay, A. (1798). Mass Culture of Spirulina Outdoors—The
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