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Spirulina, a filamentous cyanobacterium, possesses diverse biological activities and nutritional significance due to high concentration of natural nutrients, having bio-modulatory and immuno-modulatory functions. Different Spirulina preparations influence immune system viz. increase phagocytic activity of macrophages, stimulating the production of antibodies and cytokines, increase accumulation of NK cells into tissue and activation and mobilization of T and B cells. Spirulina have also shown to perform regulatory role on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism by exhibiting glucose and lipid profile correcting activity in experimental animals and in diabetic patients. Preparations have been found to be active against several enveloped viruses including herpes virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza virus and HIV. They are capable to inhibit carcinogenesis due to anti-oxidant properties that protect tissues and also reduce toxicity of liver, kidney and testes.
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Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, 6, 373-379 373
1389-2010/05 $50.00+.00 © 2005 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.
Nutritional and Therapeutic Potential of Spirulina
Zakir Khan, Pratiksha Bhadouria and P.S. Bisen
Department of Biotechnology, J.C. Bose Institute of Life Sciences, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi 284128, U.P., India
Abstract: Spirulina, a filamentous cyanobacterium, possesses diverse biological activities and nutritional significance due
to high concentration of natural nutrients, having bio-modulatory and immuno-modulatory functions. Different Spirulina
preparations influence immune system viz. increase phagocytic activity of macrophages, stimulating the production of
antibodies and cytokines, increase accumulation of NK cells into tissue and activation and mobilization of T and B cells.
Spirulina have also shown to perform regulatory role on lipid and carbohydrate metabolism by exhibiting glucose and
lipid profile correcting activity in experimental animals and in diabetic patients. Preparations have been found to be active
against several enveloped viruses including herpes virus, cytomegalovirus, influenza virus and HIV. They are capable to
inhibit carcinogenesis due to anti-oxidant properties that protect tissues and also reduce toxicity of liver, kidney and testes.
Key Words: Spirulina platensis, Ca-Sp, Sulpholipid, Cyanovirin-N, Phycocyanin, Beta-carotene, HIV, Immunomodulatory.
Spirulina, a planktonic blue green alga, is a traditional
food of some Mexican and African people. They are one of
the oldest forms of life growing in warm water alkaline vol-
canic lakes on earth for the last 3.5 billion years or so. The
cellular structure of this alga is spiral shape and similar to
that of a simple prokaryote. The most commonly used spe-
cies of Spirulina for nutritional supplements are Spirulina
platensis (S. platensis) and Spirulina maxima. This alga has
a long history of use as a food and can grow in many places
around the world [8]. The alga possesses an amazing ability
to thrive in conditions much too harsh for other algae. Habi-
tats with sufficient Spirulina growth include the Pacific
Ocean near Japan and Hawaii, large fresh water lakes, in-
cluding Lake Chad in Africa, Klamath Lake of North Amer-
ica, Lake Texcoco in Mexico, and Lake Titikaka in South
America. It has a soft cell wall made of complex sugars and
protein [2]. Increasing interest is being shown in S. platensis
by commercial firms because of its global market potential.
Several species contain very rich unusual nutritional profile
and the bioavailability of various nutrients is very high.
Moreover, Spirulina species exhibit anti-viral, anti-bacterial,
anti-fungal, anti-parasite activities. Spirulina preparations
contribute to preservation of resident intestinal microbial
flora, especially Lactobacillus and Bifidus that’s why it re-
duces potential problems from opportunistic pathogens like
E. coli, and Candida albicans [46].
Millions of people eat Spirulina cultivated in scientifi-
cally designed algal farms. Current world production of S.
platensis for human consumption is more than one thousands
metric tons annually. The USA leads world production fol-
lowed by Thailand, India, Japan and China. Several multina-
tional companies cash the nutritive and therapeutic value of
Spirulina and is marketed as different trademarks in the form
of powder or tablets (Table 1). They are being used for
*Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biotechnology,
J.C. Bose Institute of Life Sciences, Bundelkhand University, Jhansi
284128, U.P., India; E-mail:
different purposes like weight loss,fitness, bodybuilding and
The Spirulina species contain significant amount of valu-
able proteins, indispensable amino acids, vitamins, beta-
carotene, mineral substances, essential fatty acids, polysac-
charides, glycolipids and sulpholipids etc [6-9, 45, 67]. The
addition of Spirulina to the diet can give a wide range of
vital nutrients. Certain features are common to all edible
Spirulina. They are accepted as functional food, which are
defined as products derived from natural sources, whose
consumption is likely to benefit human health and enhance
performance. Spirulina contains high level of various B vi-
tamins, and minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium,
manganese, potassium and zinc [6, 13]. They also act as a
suitable matrix for biotechnological incorporation of new
food trace element preparation. It is a good source essential
fatty acid , gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) [9, 45]. 10 gm of
Spirulina contains over 100mg of GLA [44, 57]. Protein
contents of Spirulina are very good. It contains up to 70%
protein of dry weight [11] which is ten times more than soy-
bean and three times to that of beef protein. It provides full
compliment of nine essential amino acids [7]. Spirulina is
also known to contain high percentage of glycolipids and
sulpholipids [30]. It contains 5-8% lipid, from which 40%
are glycolipids and 2-5% are sulpholipids which is of great
therapeutic value. Spirulina contains high amount of
bioavailable vitamin B
and this is particularly important for
vegetarians who often find it hard to get this nutrient in their
diet [10, 67]. Pigment content including chlorophyll and
beta-carotene and vitamin E level is also high [14]. Pig-
ments, called phycobilins, include phycocyanin and allophy-
cocyanin [13, 20, 39]. Phycobilins are similar in structure to
bile pigments such as bilirubin. In Spirulina cell, phycobilins
are attached to proteins; the phycobilin-protein complex
called phycobiliprotein [4, 49]. Studies have shown that the
nutrients of Spirulina are readily absorbed by the body and
help to bring nutrient status up to normal level. This is espe-
cially true for minerals such as zinc and iron and vitamins
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374 Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Vol. 6, No. 5 Khan et al.
[25]. In rats, Spirulina appears to be effective in improv-
ingthe iron status during pregnancy and lactation [29]. Due
to easy bioavailability of nutrients including minerals, it may
be a good choice for women during pregnancy and lactation.
It is also beneficial for malnourished children [61]. The
WHO has described Spirulina as one of the greatest super
foods on earth and NASA considers it as an excellent com-
pact food for space travel, as small amount can provide a
wide range of nutrients.
Table 1. Some Well Known Companies Marketing Spirulina
Name Industry/ Trading company Product name
Lithose Food
MAF Group Company
Parrys Spirulina
Cyanotech Corporation
73-4460 Queen Kaahumanu, Hwy, suit 102, Kailua, Hawaii 96740
Spirulina Pacifica
Kats Herbs
3206, N. Wisconsin,Racine, WI 53402
Spirulina Tablet (200 mg, 500mg)
Spirulina Powder
Jiangsu Cibainian Nutrition Food Co. Ltd.
New World Center, B Tower
40 floor, No.88, Zhujiang Road,
Nanjing City, Jiangsu Province, China
Spirulina Powder (Mod. No. 100, 112, 114)
Spirulina Tablet (Mod. No. 101, 108, 111, 113, 115)
Axem Agro, Food Pvt. Ltd.
House 197, Road-1, New DOHS,
Mohakhali, Dhaka-1206
Spirulina Energy Drink (200 ml pet bottle)
Spirulina Energy Drink (Powder form in sachet pack)
Spirulina Tablet (60’s pet bottle)
Spirulina-Garlic Coplet (60’s pet bottle)
Evolutionary Health Org. Ltd.
P.O. Box 8036
New Polymouth, New Zealand
Organic Spirulina powder
Organic Spirulina Tablet
Premium Spirulina powder
Premium Spirulina Tablet
Cosmetic & Pharmaceutical Industry,
Prits-Remy Str. 25, 63071, Offenbach, Germany
Nan Pao Pvt. Ltd.
Spirulina Tablet (200mg, 500mg)
Spirulina Powder
Source Naturals
Rainbow light
Division of Health Genetics Corp.
9429 Harding Avenue, Unit 12,
Surfside, FL33154, USA
Hawaiian Spirulina
Nature’s Way
149 Valleyview Drive, China
Chinese Species
Earthrise Nutritionals Inc.
(Trading Company)
Spirulina Green Super Food For Life
Spirulina Gold
(Trading Company)
Spirulina Sunrise Bar
Nutrex Spirulina Pacifica
(Trading Company)
Fingerprinted Spirulina
Quindao Binhua Industry Co. Ltd.
(Trading Company)
Spirulina Tablet
Spirulina Powder
Biz Dimention Co. Ltd.
(Trading Company)
Spirulina Capsule
Spirulina Powder
The Wolfe Clinic
(Trading Company)
Spirulina Microclusters
Not For Distribution
Nutritional and Therapeutic Potential of Spirulina Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Vol. 6, No. 5 375
Spirulina used for the production of nutritional supple-
ments is either grown in outdoor tanks or harvested from big
bioreactors. Nutrient content depends on the location and
environment in which the alga grows. Harvesting procedures
may also influence the content of vitamins and antioxidants.
Percentage of specific components of Spirulina can be in-
creased or decreased according to need by growing under
regulated growth conditions.
There is no doubt that Spirulina is a highly acknowl-
edged nutritious food. Beyond nutritional value, Spirulina
species possess specific therapeutic properties. Certain spe-
cies of Spirulina have shown to exhibit immunomodulating
and biomodulating properties. S. platensis has a positive and
regulatory effect on immune system. Studies indicated im-
muno enhancing properties of S. platensis in animals and
humans. Administration of this alga improved immunologi-
cal resistance in subjects with various types of cancer, AIDS
and other viral diseases.
Spirulina showed specific positive effects on innate im-
mune functions and can affect the nonspecific immunity in
several ways. Novel sulphated polysaccharides isolated from
water extract of Spirulina, named as calcium-spirulan (Ca-
Sp) showed immunomodulatory and anti-viral activities [36,
Polysaccharides and phycocyanin from Spirulina in-
creased immunity in mice by enhancing bone marrow repro-
duction, thymus growth, and spleen [16, 19, 53, 55, 69]. It
was reported that Spirulina up-regulates key cells and organs
of the immune system improving their ability to function in
spite of stress from environmental toxins and infectious
agents. Studies on animal models documented that phyco-
cyanin of Spirulina stimulates hematopoiesis, especially
erythropoiesis by inducing erythropoetin hormone (EPO).
There is also evidence (Fig. 1-3) that c-phycocyanin and
polysaccharides of Spirulina enhance white blood cell pro-
duction [54, 55]. The percentage of phagocytic macrophages
increased when cats were administered water-soluble extract
of S. platensis [54]. Increased phagocytic activity was also
observed in other animals such as mice and chicken [1, 17,
55]. The water-soluble extract of S. platensis induces secre-
tion of interleukines such as IL-1 from peritoneal macro-
phages [17]. The activity of NK cells was also enhanced
significantly [19]. Studies on chicken model showed in-
creased tumorcidal activity of NK cells [54-56]. Further
studies are needed to establish the exact biochemical mecha-
nisms involved.
Experimental studies indicated that Spirulina products
buildup both the humoral and cellular arms of the immune
system Fig. 1-3 [55]. Lymphocytes are key players of spe-
cific immunity. Spirulina stimulates mobilization of lym-
Fig. (1). Effects of spirulina on immune system. Spirulina enhance rate of production of RBCs and WBCs by enhancing hematopoeisis.
Spirulina also shows direct effect on both innate and specific immunity. Spirulina activate macrophage and NK cells. Spirulina induce pro-
duction of the antibodies. Spirulina also activate of T-cells.
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376 Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Vol. 6, No. 5 Khan et al.
phocytes and other immune cells in to the blood [36]. It was
found that when mice were fed with Spirulina there was a
significant increase in splenic cells producing IgM antibody
[22,23]. Addition of water extract of Spirulina also increased
proliferation of spleen cells in culture. Several studies on
animal model indicated increased production of specific
classes of antibodies such as IgA and IgE [16, 44, 55]. It was
observed that Spirulina possess anti-allergic properties by
inducing IgA antibody against food allergens. Studies on rats
suggested mast cell inhibiting functions of Spirulina [32,
68]. Further studies revealed that phycocyanin of Spirulina
inhibit release of histamine and functions as anti-
inflammatory compound [56]. Recently, it was observed that
phycocyanin enhances mucosal immunity [43]. In a signifi-
cant contrast to its positive role on immune system, the Spi-
rulina products have be shown to exacerbate pre existing
autoimmune disease or precipitate autoimmune disease in
persons genetically predisposed to such disorder [33]. In
mice, it is found that Spirulina induces the expression of bcl-
2 (an anti-apoptotic gene) in hematopoetic cells that may
inhibit apoptosis [35].
Spirulina exhibits a potent broad-spectrum anti-viral ac-
tivity. It protects human and monkey cells from viral infec-
tion in cell culture [17]. Spirulina polysaccharides inhibit
replication of several enveloped viruses including herpes
simplex virus, influenza virus, measles virus, mumps virus,
human cytomegalovirus and HIV-1 [18, 22, 23, 36]. Ham-
sters treated with water-soluble extract of Spirulina showed
better recovery rates when infected with an otherwise lethal
herpes virus. Spirulina inhibits herpes virus infection at the
initial stage of viral cycle [18]. Allophycocyanin neutralizes
the enterovirus 71 induced cytoplasmic effects in both hu-
man rhabdomyosarcoma cells and in African green monkey
cells [63]. Spirulina extract can inhibit HIV-1 replication in
human derived T-cell lines and in human peripheral blood
mononuclear cells [36]. Three compounds of Spirulina viz.,
Ca-Sp, Cyanovirin-N, sulpholipid have shown to exhibit
anti-HIV property [22, 23, 36]. However, the mechanism of
anti-viral activities of these compounds is poorly understood.
It is suggested that Ca-Sp and Cynovirin-N selectively inter-
fere at the initial stage of viral cycle to the host cells [22, 23,
36]; whereas sulpholipid interferes in the reverse transcrip-
tion of HIV-RNA (Fig. 2) [36]. Thus Spirulina extracts may
become useful therapeutics that could help AIDS patients to
lead longer normal lives.
Spirulina preparations have shown to exhibit anticancer
activity in a number of experimental models. Spirulina-
Dunalilla extract significantly reduced the rate of tumor de-
Fig. (2). Effects of spirulina preparations on HIV infection to Target cell. Ca-Sp selectively interferes in the interaction of viral epitopes
and host cell receptor. Cyanovirin-N shows inhibitory activity during fusion. Sulpholipid interfere in the reverse transcription of HIV-RNA.
(RT = Reverse Transcriptase, a = HIV-ssRNA with RT, b = RNA-DNA hybrid, c = ds DNA).
Not For Distribution
Nutritional and Therapeutic Potential of Spirulina Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Vol. 6, No. 5 377
velopment in hamster buccal pouch [60] and a significant
recovery was observed in oral cancer patients [38]. Spirulina
is the richest natural source of beta-carotene and phyco-
cyanin [20]. Both β-carotene and phycocyanin contain anti-
cancer activity [48]. Administration of phycocyanin to mice
with liver cancer significantly increased their survival rate.
Phycocyanin appears to possess hematopoietic function en-
hancing the thymocyte population, which in turn enhances
natural resistence against cancer, ulcer, bleeding piles and
other diseases (Fig. 1) [17, 54, 55, 69]. Phycocyanin may
also prevent cancer by scavenging DNA damaging agents
such as peroxynitrite [4]. Recently, it is reported that c-
phycocyanin induced apoptosis of human chronic myeloid
leukemia cell line-K562 [64]. The c-phycocyanin treatment
to K-562 cells resulted in typical apoptotic characteristics
including cytochrome-c release in to cytosol, cleavage of
PARP, cell shrinkage, membrane blabbing and DNA frag-
mentation. The c-phycocyanin treatment suppresses expres-
sion of bcl-2 with out affecting Bax (pro-apoptotic gene)
expression. Thus, the Spirulina seems to induce mitochon-
drial apoptotic pathway in tumor cells by tilting the bcl-
2/Bax ratio towards apoptosis [64]. In an in vitro study, sul-
phated polysaccharides (Ca-Sp) appear to inhibit tumor inva-
sion and metastasis of B16-BL-6 melanoma. This anti-
metastasis activity is attributed to blocking the adhesion and
migration of tumor cells to laminin substrate and of the
heparanase activity [40]. The Ca-Sp have shown to inhibit
proliferation of cancer cells including ascitic heptoma cells
and sarcoma cells by interfering in the synthesis of DNA and
RNA [34, 53]. The Spirulina is shown to possess a modula-
tory effect on hepatic carcinogen metabolizing enzymes that
may involve in anti-tumor [41].
Spirulina exhibits regulatory effects on lipid and carbo-
hydrate metabolisms [42]. In addition to hypocholes-
terolemic effect, Spirulina also shows hypoglycemic effect
[31]. Ninety per cent of diabetics are non-insulin dependent
and this syndrome can be effectively controlled with prudent
diet therapy. Diet with Spirulina supplementation signifi-
cantly reduces blood sugar levels and glycated serum protein
levels confirming the hypoglycemic effect of Spirulina [37].
In patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus, Spirulina diet low-
ered fasting blood glucose, postprandial glucose and reduc-
tion in the glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA-Ic) [47]. Recent
studies revealed that Spirulina diet enriched with zinc had
beneficial effect on basal and postprandial glycaemia, con-
tent of cholesterol and triglycerides in type-2 diabetic pa-
tients [71].
Fig. (3). Therapeutically important compounds of spirulina and its effect.
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378 Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, 2005, Vol. 6, No. 5 Khan et al.
In humans, Spirulina have shown to reduce the level of
cholesterol, triacylglycerol and LDL [31, 42]. The solvent
fraction of Spirulina suppressed cholesterol levels in the se-
rum and liver of rats [5, 24]. Spirulina diet in patients with
diabetes mellitus resulted in the reduction of atherogenic
indices [47]. These findings indicate the beneficial effect of
Spirulina supplementation in preventing secondary compli-
cations in type II diabetics. Spirulina is also known to have
hypocholesterolemic effect in patients with hyperlipidemic
nephritic syndrome [58]. The lipid lowering function may be
attributed to its ability to increase the activity of lipoprotein
lipase [24]. Another important positive role of Spirulina in
alleviating heart diseases is its significant potential to lower
blood pressure [24].
The dietary intake of GLA can help in arthritis, heart
diseases, obesity, aging symptoms, manic depression, alco-
holism and schizophrenia [21]. Spirulina is a good source of
GLA and exhibits good anti-oxidant properties [39, 50]. It
reduces kidney and testicular toxicity by heavy metals such
as mercury, lead and pharmaceutical drugs [59, 61, 62, 69].
Spirulina fugiformis significantly inhibits genotoxicity with
concomitant increase in the liver enzymatic and none-
enzymatic anti-oxidants and detoxification system [39, 50,
51, 62]. The inflammatory responses may partly be due to
accumulation of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α,
and TNF-β and decrease of β-andergenic receptor function
and these functions are shown to be reversed by Spirulina
[12]. Thus, Spirulina possess anti-inflammatory, anti-
oxidant, membrane stabilizing functions in various tissues
[15, 65, 66]. Spirulina preparations are widely used in cos-
metics and pharmaceutical compounds due to its anti-
bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasite and anti-oxidant activity.
Spirulina and its enzymatic hydrolyzates appear to promote
skin metabolism and reduce scars [26]. Sodium-Spirulin
(Na-Sp) and Ca-Sp shows inhibitory effect on the progres-
sion of arteriosclerosis by inhibiting vascular smooth muscle
cell proliferation [27-28]. Studies also indicate that Spirulina
might help in weight loss and wound healing [3].
Several scientific findings suggested that Spirulina
proved to be a potential and ideal candidate for conjugative
therapy due to the possible synergetic effect of many phyto-
chemicals in whole cell. It has been demonstrated that the
use of Spirulina and its extracts may reduce cancer and viral
diseases. More research is needed to determine its usefulness
against AIDS and other killer diseases. Spirulina species also
have antibacterial and antiparasitic activity. Scientists in In-
dia, China, Japan, USA and other countries are studying this
remarkable food to unlock its potential. However, it is al-
ready clear that this safe and natural food provides concen-
trated nutritional support for optimum health and wellness.
The multifunctional role of Spirulina species makes it an
ideal natural drug with immense prophylactic and therapeutic
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Not For Distribution
... Habib [13] and AlFadhly et al. [9] showed that SP is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids (Pufa) and other health-promoting fatty acids, including gamma-linoleic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Furthermore, SP was found to possess numerous health benefits, including antiviral, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-allergenic, carotenoids and immunomodulatory properties [14][15][16]. In addition, SP is commonly recommended as a dietary protein supplement that can improve growth rate and meat quality in ruminants, chickens, pigs, and rabbits [17][18][19]. ...
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In a 70-day study, 36 Jabbali and Sahrawi bucks, aged 11 months, were utilized to evaluate the effects of different levels of spirulina dietary supplement (SP) on carcass characteristics, fatty acid profile, and meat quality traits in Omani goat breeds. The goats were put into six groups of six bucks, each at random. The diet consisted of a conventional concentrate feed ration (CFR) without spirulina (CON), and the CFR diet supplemented with spirulina at the levels of 2 g/head daily (T1) and 4 g/head daily (T2). In general, Sahrawi bucks showed a highly significant response to SP feeding compared with Jabbali bucks. The treatment groups, especially T1, showed a significant increase in average daily gain and carcass traits (body length, leg length, and the rack weight) compared with the CON group of Sahrawi bucks. The weights of omental and kidney fat were also significantly higher in T1 compared with CON and T2 groups of Sahrawi goats, while they were significantly higher in T2 compared with CON and T1 groups of Jabbali goats. Carcass profile and meat quality, including ultimate ph and meat color lightness (L*) were increased significantly with dietary spirulina in both LD and SM muscles of Sahrawi goats. Most of the Sfa, Mufa, Pufa, Pufa n-6, Pufa n-3, and n-6/n-3 ratios of the LD showed significant differences in diets supplemented with SP compared with CON for Sahrawi bucks, while some of them were significant in Jabbali bucks. The LD muscle of Sahrawi goats fed diets supplemented with SP of the T1 group significantly decreased in the amounts of pentadecanoic and margaric acids compared with the T2 and CON groups. The study concluded that incorporating SP (2 g and 4 g/head daily) into the diet of Omani goats, especially Sahrawi goats, can increase growth performance, as well as improve fatty acid composition and meat quality.
... When cell membrane of hepatocytes is damaged certain enzymes including ALT are being secreted into blood stream causing an increase in ALT levels within serum and are considered as markers of liver damage (Ncibi et al. 2008;Makki et al. 2022). Increase in ALT has been reported by many authors in different animals administered with certain organophosphates (Khan et al. 2005;Celik et al. 2009;Ncibi et al. 2008;El Okle et al. 2022). Similarly higher urea and creatinine levels are considered to be the markers for kidney damages (Abidin et al. 2013). ...
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Organophosphates like malathion are extensively being used in crops, gardens and domestic places to control flies and mosquitoes. Malathion is being used as a potent insecticide to crops since half century and its extensive use has severely contaminated the environment of non-targeted species like humans, animals, birds and aquatic ecosystems. Spirulina platensis (SP) is a blue green alga which has high nutritious value and is commercially being cultivated for use as food. This experiment was aimed to examine the mitigative potency of SP against malathion induced oxidative stress and toxicopathological alterations in Swiss albino mice. Forty-eight mice were divided into six equal groups and fed varying combinations of malathion (40 and 60 mg/kg body weight) and SP (1% of feed) for 28 days. Parameters studied were feed intake, body weight, relative organ weights, hematological, serum biochemical, gross and histopathological alterations along with serum total antioxidant capacity and antioxidant status. Results of the experiment revealed that Malathion administration severely affected feed intake and body weight gain along with altered hematological and serum biochemical indices in mice which were efficiently restored by the dietary supplementation of SP. Additionally this restoration in the parameters was partial against higher doses malathion (60 mg/kg BW) while amelioration was completely observed at lower malathion doses (40 mg/kg BW). However, the actual ratio of malathion and SP to deliver such mitigation is yet to be evaluated and requires further research in this regard.
... A conflict related to the content of cobalamin (vitamin B12) arises in case of the organism. Certain researchers claim it to be the richest source of B12 as compared with other sea algae or raw liver (Khan et al., 2005), while some claim that Spirulina has no reliable vitamin B12 (Watanabe, 2007). ...
Human race has been using plants and cyanobacteria for thousands of years for various purposes like food, feed, and medicines. One of them is Spirulina, a powdered form of multicellular organism’s biomass belonging to the family of cyanobacteria, which is used as food in many countries since centuries. The organisms required to produce spirulina can be grown easily on a large scale and bioactive compounds can be extracted and purified without much difficulty. The two species of this organism, Spirulina platensis and Spirulina maxima, are well known for various nutritional and therapeutic applications. The chemical composition of Spirulina has been described in literature and it mainly consists of high protein content (50–70%), carbohydrate (10–20%), and lipids (5–10%). It is also rich in essential minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids. The presence of these constituents makes this organism suitable for various health benefits like antioxidant, antiobesity, anticancer, antidiabetic, etc. This has been also declared as Generally Recognized as Safe for human consumption by Food and Drug Administration. This chapter discusses the historical importance and health benefits of Spirulina.
... This was a multi-center, Phase 4, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial with Aviron Rapid in patients with a viral AURTI, recruited from 85 GP practices in Bulgaria between January 27 and March 9, 2020. The trial included 3 age cohorts: adults (18-60 years), adolescents (13)(14)(15)(16)(17) years; also referred to as 'the adolescent cohort'), and children (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12) years; also referred to as 'the pediatric cohort'). Informed consent was obtained from all participants participating in the study. ...
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Introduction : Acute upper respiratory tract infections (AURTIs) are associated with a significant burden on society attributed to medical care and loss of productivity. Novel therapies that are able to shorten disease duration, while providing symptom relief and being well tolerated, are an unmet medical need. Aim : The main objective of this trial was to investigate the efficacy and safety of Aviron Rapid, a dietary supplement containing andrographolide, proprietary spirulina, and humic acid, in the management of AURTIs in adolescents and children. Materials and methods : This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted between January 2020 and March 2020 in 85 general practitioner practices in Bulgaria. Adolescents (13–17 years) and children (5–12 years) with a clinical diagnosis of AURTI were randomly assigned to receive standard symptomatic therapy + Aviron Rapid or placebo for 5 and 7 days, respectively. The primary endpoints of this trial were the number (and percentage) of clinically recovered patients and the mean disease duration. Results : In total, 380 adolescents and 401 children were enrolled in 2 age cohorts and randomly assigned to treatment with Aviron Rapid or placebo. The percentage of patients meeting the criteria for clinical recovery was significantly higher in the Aviron Rapid group compared with the placebo group from 24 and 48 hours after initiation of treatment in adolescents and children, respectively. Aviron Rapid treatment significantly reduced the duration of disease, of fever, and of antipyretics intake in both adolescents and children. When compared to placebo, a significantly higher percentage of adolescents and children on Aviron Rapid achieved a persistent decrease in temperature of less than 37°C as soon as 24 hours after starting treatment. Overall, a low number of adverse events was reported and no major differences in the incidence of individual adverse events were observed between the two treatment groups in both cohorts. Conclusions : This clinical trial demonstrated the efficacy of Aviron Rapid in the management of acute upper respiratory tract infections in adolescents and children. Aviron Rapid treatment rapidly increased the number of clinically recovered patients and reduced overall disease duration and duration of symptoms, in particular fever, while being well tolerated. Trial registration : International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN) 12221500. Retrospectively registered on 29 March 2022. []
... Spirulina is a great source of protein, but it is also high in B vitamins, phycobiliproteins that scavenge free radicals, and γ-linoleic acid (GLA), which lowers cholesterol (Sajilata et al. 2008). Due to its nutrient-dense qualities, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated it as a "super food," and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has even sent it into space (Khan et al. 2005). To illustrate this, Spirulina has 5100% more iron than spinach, 3100% more beta-carotene than carrots, and 180% more calcium than milk (Capelli and Cysewski 2010). ...
Covers recent topics of algae from bionanopesticides to genetic engineering Presents algal biotechnology, updated food processing techniques and Biochemistry of Haematococcus Offers information on the less explored areas of in silico therapeutic and clinical applications
... genel olarak olarak kuru bazda ağırlıkça %40-70 arasında protein içerir [23]. Spirulina spp.' ya Dünya Sağlık Örgütü (WHO) tarafından 'süper gıda' etiketi verilmiş ve hatta besin özellikleri nedeniyle Ulusal Havacılık ve Uzay İdaresi (NASA) tarafından uzaya gönderilmiştir [24]. Becker' a göre [23], Spirulina spp. ...
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Dünya nüfusunun hızla artması, çevresel bozulma, gıda kaynakları için rekabet ve tarımın uluslararası ekonomiye entegrasyonu gibi nedenler gıda sürdürülebilirliği için tehdit oluşturmaktadır. Günümüzde potansiyel yeni gıda kaynağı arayışı ön plandadır. Bu noktada algler öne çıkmaktadır. Algler içeriğinde protein, çoklu doymamış yağ asitleri, polisakkarit, pigment, sterol, vitamin ve mineraller gibi önemli biyoaktif bileşenler bulundurmaktadır. Bu değerli biyoaktif bileşenlere ek olarak alglerin doğal ve sürdürülebilir gıda kaynağı olarak görülmesinin nedenleri arasında alglerin bölünerek çoğalıp hızla biyokütle oluşturmaları ve uygun koşullarda açık sistemler kullanılarak düşük maliyetlerle yetiştirilebilmesi gibi faktörlerde bulunmaktadır. Alglerin gıda olarak tüketimi özellikle Uzak Doğu’da geleneksel bir uygulama olmasına rağmen, günümüzde alglerin gıda endüstrisinde ticarileşme potansiyeli, alglerin gıda katkısı, gıda takviyesi veya gıda bileşeni olarak kullanılmalarıyla artmaktadır. Tüm bu bilgiler doğrultusunda alglerin gıda endüstrisindeki öneminin yakın gelecekte artması beklenmektedir. Bu çalışmada biyoaktif bileşenler için potansiyel alg kaynakları, elde edilen ürünler ve günümüzdeki ticari üretimi konusunda bilgiler verilmiştir.
... Improvement of growth performance (BW and DBWG) by Spirulina platensis supplementation to diet may be attributed to the synergetic effect of the chemical constituents of Spirulina platensis dried supplemented has an excellent nutrition profile (high carotenoids, high proteins which includes all of the essential amino acids and rich in mineral and Vitamamins (Ross and Dominy, 1990). Spirulina has shown to enhance immune function, reproduction and growth as reported by (Qureshi et al., 1994;Khan et al., 2005). Feeding Spirulina containing diet may increase the lactobacillus population and enhance the absorbability of dietary vitamamins (Mariey et al., 2012). ...
... Spirulina is a great source of protein, but it is also high in B vitamins, phycobiliproteins that scavenge free radicals, and γ-linoleic acid (GLA), which lowers cholesterol (Sajilata et al. 2008). Due to its nutrient-dense qualities, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated it as a "super food," and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has even sent it into space (Khan et al. 2005). To illustrate this, Spirulina has 5100% more iron than spinach, 3100% more beta-carotene than carrots, and 180% more calcium than milk (Capelli and Cysewski 2010). ...
Haematococcus is a genus of green microalgae widely distributed in freshwater and seawater and well known for their ability to produce astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant with diverse applications. Eight species have been assigned to this genus based on a recent genetic classification and among them Haematococcus lacustris (previously named Haematococcus pluvialis) is the most studied. This species is regarded as the most promising microalgae for the production of natural astaxanthin. It is also known for its ability to synthesize other interesting bioactive compounds with a wide range of biological activities. The present work highlights the diverse therapeutic applications of Haematococcus bioactive molecules such as antioxidant, anti-inflammation, antimicrobial, skin protection, treatment and prevention of cancer, treatment of eye and neurodegenerative diseases, and immune stimulation.KeywordsAstaxanthinAntioxidantAnti-inflammationCancer preventionNeurodegenerative diseases
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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.
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We have investigated the effect of calcium spirulan (Ca-SP) isolated from a blue-green alga, Spirulinaplatensis, which is a sulfated polysaccharide chelating calcium and mainly composed of rhamnose, on inva-sionof B16-BL6 melanoma, Colon 26 M3.1 carcinoma and HT-1080 fibrosarcoma cells through reconsti-tutedbasement membrane (Matrigel). Ca-SP significantly inhibited the invasion of these tumor cells throughMatrigel/fibronectin-coated filters. Ca-SP also inhibited the haptotactic migration of tumor cells to laminin,but it had no effect on that to fibronectin. Ca-SP prevented the adhesion of B16-BL6 cells to Matrigel andlaminin substrates but did not affect the adhesion to fibronectin. The pretreatment of tumor cells withCa-SP inhibited the adhesion to laminin, while the pretreatment of laminin substrates did not. Ca-SP hadno effect on the production and activation of type IV collagenase in gelatin zymography. In contrast, Ca-SPsignificantly inhibited degradation of heparan sulfate by purified heparanase. The experimental lungmetastasis was significantly reduced by co-injection of B16-BL6 cells with Ca-SP. Seven intermittent i.v.injections of 100 mg of Ca-SP caused a marked decrease of lung tumor colonization of B16-BL6 cells in aspontaneous lung metastasis model. These results suggest that Ca-SP, a novel sulfated polysaccharide, couldreduce the lung metastasis of B16-BL6 melanoma cells, by inhibiting the tumor invasion of basementmembrane probably through the prevention of the adhesion and migration of tumor cells to laminin substrateand of the heparanase activity.Kluwer Academic Publishers
Several glycolipids were isolated from Spirulina maxima, an edible blue-green algae, by systematic fractionation with different solvents. Structural investigation by using methylation, GC- MS, and enzymic techniques indicated that the major glycolipids are O-β-D-galactosyl-(1→1')- 2', 3'-di-O-acyl-D-glycerol, O-α-D-galactosyl-(1→6)-O-β-D-galactosyl-(1→1')-2', 3'-di-O-acyl-D- glycerol and 6-sulfo-O-α-quinovosyl-(1→1')-2', 3'-di-O-acyl-D-glycerol. Main fatty acid components of these glycolipids were identified as palmitic acid and linoleic or linolenic acid. Based on these fatty acid compositions, Spirulina glycolipids were compared with those in higher plants.
Zinc deficiency mimics many of the clinical features of essential fatty acid (EFA) deficiency in rats. Since zinc appears to be needed for the Δ-6-desaturase step in EFA metabolism, experiments were conducted to determine whether bypassing this step with γ-linolenic acid (18 : 3ω6) would alleviate the biological effects induced by a zinc-deficient diet. In pair-fed rats over a period of 5 weeks the deficient diet impaired growth and changed the relative weights of internal organs. It also induced hypolipidemia but had little effect on the fatty acid composition of tissue lipids.Daily subcutaneous injection of primrose oil containing 10% 18: 3ω6 reversed most of the effects of zinc deficiency on tissue weights, growth and plasma lipids. In contrast, injection of safflower oil, which has a similar content of linoleic acid (18 : 2ω6) but is devoid of 18 : 3ω6, had only a partial effect on some tissue weight changes. Neither oil affected the plasma fatty acid pattern, but both of them increased liver triglyceride concentrations. They also elevated the proportion of 18 : 2ω6 in liver, skin and epididymal fat. The latter effects were not observed in the absence of zinc deficiency. Supplementing the diet of EFA-deficient animals with an excess of zinc in their drinking water did not affect the typical tissue fatty-acid pattern of EFA deficiency. It is suggested that several of the manifestations of zinc deficiency are mediated by a relative state of EFA deficiency attributable, at least in part, to a reduced conversion of 18 : 2ω6 to 18 : 3ω6 resulting in an accumulation of 18 : 2ω6 in tissues. These findings are consistent with a role of zinc as a cofactor in the Δ-6-desaturase enzyme reaction. The suggested role of zinc in essential fatty acid metabolism may be of significance in understanding how essential fatty acids protect against cardiovascular disease in general.
The search for potent antiviral agents is urgent in view of the dramatic situation of the global HIV / AIDS epidemic, a possible spread of avian influenza and of other viral diseases. Effective antiviral therapeutics are not available, and the presently approved therapy for HIV (HAART) has been recognized to be toxic, unable to eradicate the causative virus and to induce severe drug resistance. In this situation, more attention should be paid to the search for antiviral agents present in natural products. Marine or fresh water algae are one of the richest sources of bioactive compounds, and have only marginally been investigated. The present review summarizes the antiviral and immunomodulatory properties of algae or extracts thereof which have been investigated in numerous in vitro and animal,studies: i) for approximately four decades it has been known that sulfated polysaccharides, extracted from algae, exhibit a potent broad-spectrum antiviral activity in vitro against HIV-1, HIV-2 and a large variety of other enveloped viruses. These compounds interfere with the attachment of the virus to its target cells,thereby inhibiting virus-cell fusion i.e.the entry of the virus into its target cells , ii) cyanovirin N is a 11 kDa polypeptide ,isolated from blue-green algae, that interferes with multiple steps in the membrane fusion process associated with the entry of HIV-1 into CD4+ cells.The antiviral polypeptide also inhibits HSV-6 and measles virus in vitro, iii) sulfoglycolipids (sulfoquinovosyldiacylglycerols) were discovered in cyanobacteria . Presently several antiviral sulfoglycolipids have been isolated and their mechanism of action was shown to be an inhibition of the reverse transcriptase (RT) of HIV-1 and HIV-2, iv) The immunomodulatory properties of algae and algal compounds were known for over a decade: carrageenans and other natural or synthetic sulfated polysaccharides are potent T and B cell mitogens in vitro. In recent studies, whole cyanobacteria preparations (Spirulina), given as food, were shown in animal tests to increase phagocytic activity,increase antibody production,increase accumulation of NK cells into tissue,and to mobilize T and B cells into blood. Algae thus appear to have the potential of a novel therapy system: a combination of antiviral agents, targetting two different steps in the viral replication cycle ,plus immunostimulating agents,which may support synergistically the antiviral effects. Tests of this system in humans are urgently needed, and may provide the base for safe and efficient future antiviral therapeuticals.
The effects of Spirulina platensis (Sp) extract exposure on chicken macrophages were examined. Sephadex-elicited abdominal exudate macrophage monolayers were exposed to varying concentrations (10 to 40 μg/ml) of Sp for 1 to 16 hours. Spirulina-treated macrophages exhibited phenotypic changes in terms of increased spreading and vacuolization with minimal cytotoxicity. Percentage of phagocytic macrophages for unopsonized sheep red blood cells (SRBC) and average number of internalized SRBC was significantly higher in Sp-treated macrophages as compared to the sham-treated controls. However, phagocytosis of opsonized SRBC was not affected by Sp-treatment. Macrophage cultures exposed to Sp produced a factor in their culture supernatant with tumoricidal potential which was similar in reactivity to the one produced by macrophages after exposure to lipopolysaccharide. The ability of splenic natural killer cells to kill tumor cell targets was not affected by Sp treatment. These findings suggest that Spirulina exposure enhances selected effector functions of cells of the chicken immune system after in vitro exposure.
Spirulina powders obtained from different commercial sources contained 23.6–38.0 mg g−1 DM as long-chain fatty acids and 3.4–6.0 mg g−1 DM as y-linolenic acid (6, 9, 12-octadecatrienoic acid). However, γ-linolenic acid constituted up to 40% of the total fatty acids within the isolated galactolipids. Unesterified fatty acids accounted for 8.4–66.9% of the fatty acids recovered from the different samples; the remaining fatty acids were in glycerolipids. There was also a wide variation in the contents of photosynthetic pigments among the different preparations.Spirulina was four-fold more expensive than evening primrose oil as a source of a-linolenic acid to supplement human diets.Since α-linolenic acid (9, 12, 15-octadecatrienoic acid), (E)-3 hexa-decenoate, 3-sn-phosphatidylcholineand 3-sn-phosphatidyl ethanol-amine were not detected in the lipid extracts, none of the samples was significantly adulterated by eucaryotic algae.From an analysis of the extracted lipids it was possible to make some predictions both about the manner in which the cells were cultured and the post-harvest treatment of the preparations.
Both cultured Spirulinaplatensis (Nordst.) Geitl,a blue-green alga, and commercially available dried Spirulina contained high levels of iron, 300–400 ppm on a dry weight basis. Iron availability to rats from cultured S. platensis and from commercial Spirulina equaled that of FeSO4. Ingestion of the daily dose of Spirulina (10 g) recommended for human consumption by the commercial source would provide up to 1.5–2 mg absorbed iron. However, both cultured and commercial Spirulina contained approximately 9.5 ppm Hg, so that chronic use may lead to mercury intakes above prudent levels.
Human cancer risks are inversely correlated with (a) blood retinol and (b) dietary beta-carotene. Although retinol in the blood might well be truly protective, this would be of little immediate value without discovery of the important external determinants of blood retinol which (in developed countries) do not include dietary retinol or beta-carotene. If dietary beta-carotene is truly protective--which could be tested by controlled trials--there are a number of theoretical mechanisms whereby it might act, some of which do not directly involve its 'provitamin A' activity.
Cornell K-strain White Leghorns and broiler chicks were raised to 7 wks and 3 wks of age respectively, with diets containing various levels (0, 10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 ppm) of Spirulina platensis from day of hatch. Chicks in all treatment groups had comparable body weights. While bursal and splenic weights did not change, the K-strain chicks had larger thymuses (P < or = .05) over the controls (0 ppm group). No differences were observed in anti-sheep red blood cells antibodies during primary response. However, during secondary response, K-strain chicks in all Spirulina-dietary groups had higher total anti-SRBC titers with 10,000 ppm group being the highest (6.8 Log2) versus the 0 ppm (5.5 Log2) group. In broiler chicks, a one Log increase in IgG (P < or = .05) was observed in 10,000 ppm group over the controls. Similarly, chicks in 10,000 ppm Spirulina group had a higher PHA-P-mediated lymphoproliferative response over the 0 ppm controls. Macrophages isolated from both K-strain (10,000 ppm group) and broilers from all Spirulina groups had higher phagocytic potential than the 0 ppm groups. Spirulina supplementation at 10,000 ppm level also increased NK-cell activity by two fold over the controls. These studies show that Spirulina supplementation increases several immunological functions implying that a dietary inclusion of Spirulina at a level of 10,000 ppm may enhance disease resistance potential in chickens.
Bronchoalveolar lavage macrophages isolated from cats were cultured on glass coverslips. Macrophages were exposed to a water-soluble extract of Spirulina platensis in concentration range of 0 to 60 micrograms per mL for two hours. Spirulina-extract exposure did not cause significant macrophage cytotoxicity over untreated control cultures. Macrophage monolayers from treated and control cultures were incubated with sheep red blood cells (SRBC) as well as viable Escherichia coli. The percentages of phagocytic macrophages for both of these particulate antigens were higher (a two-fold increase in SRBC phagocytosis and over 10% increase in Escherichia coli uptake) in cultures treated with various concentrations of Spirulina-extract. However, the numbers of either types of particles internalized by phagocytic macrophage were not different between the control and treated cultures. These data which showed that Spirulina platensis extract enhances macrophage phagocytic function imply that dietary Spirulina supplementation may improve the disease resistance potential in cats.