Spirulina Platensis

Please use this web site as a resource to get started learning how to grow spirulina. Not every single detail can be covered here but I hope to add to the site in the future.

You might wish to try some spirulina grown by EarthRise Farms just to see what it tastes like. The easiest way to do that is join their Multi-Level Marketing company called EarthNet. To do that, please visit EarthNet. Or you might wish to try Chlorella. Go to Taiwan Chlorella, who grows the green algae chlorella. Otherwise, you'll have to trust me that it tastes great. That is why I recommen d you try some spirulina from a company that is highly regarded as being a good producer, like EarthNet.

I began taking Spirulina in February 1997 and I found that there are many benef its to doing so. For one thing, I feel more energy and in particular, at night when I go to bed, many times I feel tired and so I pop open the bottle of powde r (I take it in powder form). And then I pour some powder out and consume it. Immediately, and I am being honest, it makes me feel more calm easier to rest. A mazingly, this happens every single time I take it when I go to bed. (Not that it's any big deal but to me this means it is amazing.) Haha.

I have read alot and still I know that I don't know very much but I hope it wil l be enough to produce spirulina that grows well and has some nutritional benef its. Anyway! What will make this world a better place is not more people purcha sing spirulina from one central company but more people growing it themselves. True, you have to become a mini-scientist but the benefits to you may be great. I hope you will learn how to grow spirulina.

But if spirulina is very important to you and me, are we to be satisfied to rel y upon commercial producers who may not exist in the future and then we may not be able to find the information and equipment necessary to build a working spi rulina system. I believe that I would rather bring it "in house". And eventual ly cut my ties to the commercial aspect of having to rely on EarthNet. Hard stu ff to do but eventually, I will do that.

One of the first things you must do is decide what kind of system you want to design. Indoors or outdoors, closed or open. Typically an outdoor system will be a shallow pond type system with a paddlewheel that stirs and produces turbulence.

There are many different types of closed systems, which can use transparent tubing. These provide an advantage in several areas. Number 1: They allow a greater number of the algae to be exposed to light. Number 2: By being more closed to the environment, they offer better protection against contamination from the environment. It's really up to you what kind of system you want to design.

Another thing you will need to do is secure a culture of spirulina. The Botany Dept of the University of Texas at Austin maintains a culture collection which you probably can get your starter culture but beware: you need to make sure you have everything in gear before placing that order.

That means you know what you need to do. I would have to recommend some books at this point. They will help.

Spirulina : Production & Potential

ISBN 2 85744 853 X.

Ways to get the book.

Please send your International Money Order - or Visa card number with its expiration date, or check in French Francs - for $ 45 ( or 195 FF) directly to Editions EDISUD, La Calade, RN 7, 13090 Aix en Provence, France (fax : 33 4 42 21 56 20 E-mail: commercial@edisud.com). EDISUD ships on receipt of the payment.


Booksellers / Publishers in Botany & Zoology
P.O.Box 1360
Herrnwaldstr. 6
D-61462 Koenigstein / Germany
E-mail: koeltz@t-online.de (or: koeltz@ibm.net)
Fax: (+49) 6174 937240
Phone: (+49) 6174 93720
WWW: http://www.koeltz.com

Koeltz was out of the book when I checked (July 9 1998) but said they were getting a shipment in in 2 weeks. Web site is in English.

Spirulina Platensis - Arthrospira : Physiology, Cell Biology and Biotechnology

by Avigad Vonshak (Editor) Our Price: $95.00

Hardcover (July 1997) Taylor & Francis; ISBN: 0748406743

The above price was from Amazon's website. I got mine at Barnes and Noble's web site. See who can give you the best deal!

Here is another book that I found available at Barnes and Noble. They only had two in stock at the time but I am sure they could get it for you. I think you can also find it at Amazon's website. Here is an excerpt from their website.

Microalgae : Biotechnology and Microbiology (Cambridge Studies in Biotechnology, No 10)

by E.W. Becker
ISBN 0521350204

Ships in 2-3 days
Hardcover - (February 1994)
Learn more about
1-ClickSM ordering

Just look at the table of contents to see how good a book it is. -Glenn
Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Algae production systems
3. Culture media
4. Cultivation methods (indoors)
5. Scaling up
6. Algal grouping
7. Strain selection
8. Growth kinetics
9. Measurement of algal growth
10. Large-scale cultivation
11. Yield
12. Chemical composition
13. Nutrition
14. Applications of algae
15. Outlook
Appendix. Addresses of algae culture collections

Of course, the internet is a great source of related information as well but you will find that not all of it is in one particular place (if you find that place, please do let me know). However, here is a list of places I think you might like to visit. They are DOCUMENT files created by WordPad (Windows 95).



Some of the sites you will find in SCIENCE.TXT are related to harmful algae, a company that sells tubular photobioreactors, a company that sells chemicals (algae needs chemicals to grow), and stuff like that.

The PLANTS.TXT file is mostly having to do with hydroponics and growing traditional plants.

I visited Omega and found that they have a good large selection of tubing available for order. It's not easy to find somewhere like this but what would you use transparent tubing for? For a tubular photobioreactor. In general you might use flexible transparent tubing with maybe a 1 inch inner diameter. Larger diameters might not work as well. Smaller diameters might work as well but it will take longer lengths. The real question is suitability. Is vinyl tubing ok for this type of use?

In a tubular PBR, there has to be some type of mechanism to pump the medium through the tubing and there generally would need to be some type of thermostat control to keep the medium in the optimal temperature for growing spirulina, which I have read is in the range of 35 degrees Celcius. I have found that aquarium technology might work with this. For good information, go to http://ucsbuxa.ucsb.edu/~6500wvs0/index.html or go to http://www.aquariacentral.com/ Aquarium people use heaters to keep their water at the same temperature and we can probably use these same heaters to keep our spirulina medium at the optimal temperature. That's my guess.

I read some good information about starting a microalgae culture. It said that you first should start out in small test tubes, maybe with tubing delivering air and carbon dioxide to each tube (actually they might be 600 milliliters) and then grow those out and transfer them in to larger containers doing the same thing - delivering air and carbon dioxide. These larger containers would be 5 to 10 liters in size and of course, they would need to be transparent for light to photosynthesize the algae. The way you know when it is time to transfer into a larger container is when the algae become dense and that kind of thing.

The nutrient medium is what the algae use to get their nutrients and if there are no nutrients available in the nutrient medium then you won't find them in the algae. That is how plant growth works. Our soils have become depleted of minerals, causing the foods to be nutrient deficient. How do you create the nutrient medium? Use a formula listed on one of the culture collection websites, such as Zarrouck's medium or a simpler version which you can find in some of the books I listed on this web page. I figure an unconventional way would be getting your nutrients pre done from somewhere like General Hydroponics (listed in my plants.doc file) and it may be alot cheaper to do it this way but I have never heard anyone say to use hydroponics nutrients to grow your spirulina. Here is a new link: Edmund Scientific. This company serves industry and students with microscopes and things of that nature. Be sure to check them out.


I found some information called Spirulina safety guidelines used by US and Japan growers. I will list the ones applicable to the US. The Japan listings were similiar.

Moisture (less than 7 percent)

Standard plate count (less than 200,000/gram)
Mold (less than 100/gram)
Yeast (less than 40/gram)
Coliforms (negative)
Salmonella (negative)
Staphylococcus (negative)

Heavy Metals: (ppm = parts per million)
Lead (less than 1.0 ppm)
Arsenic (less than 1.0 ppm)
Cadmium (less than 0.05 ppm)
Mercury (less than 0.05 ppm)

Insect fragments (less than 30/10 grams)
pesticides (negative)
herbicides (negative)
additives (negative)
preservatives (negative)
dyes (negative)
stabilizers (negative)
artificial ingredients (negative)
fillers (negative)

Check out this !

It's the Bedford School's photobioreactor research project but what I like is they show an actual picture.

I found a good starting place to locate places that sell microscopes. Just go and visit the Yahoo Website and do a search for the word MICROSCOPE - it will list a group of companies some of whom offer some nice products. Some of those companies are


We have to ask, What kind of a microscope is needed for viewing spirulina? That will have to be addressed later because I really don't know. But I imagine that if spirulina is maybe 8 microns in dimension in length or width or whatever then in order to magnify that to see it, if you could magnify 400 times then you would have 3200 microns which is 3.2 millimeters or .32 centimeters. Some microscopes use oil immersion to give you 1000X magnification and so that would really be visible because you would be looking at 8 millimeters, I guess.

Corrections, comments, suggestions. Email me today.

I do have a few suggestions myself. The more people that can contribute their knowledge based on experience, the better off we will be when you and I try to grow spirulina. That is why I am interested in other people who grow spirulina. Otherwise I would suggest you try to learn about biology, particularly microbiology, and things along that line. Check your local bookstore for books in this category. Also, the local library is a good source of books on basics of science. You won't get a phD but hey, it's free. Of course, Amazon and Barnes and Noble on the web won't let you down.