ALGAE AS FOOD
Blue green algae, Spirulina fusiformis is used as nutrient dense food. The major protein in spirulina is phycocyanin which is a deep blue colour pigment and about 150 mgs. It is present in 1 gm of spirulina.
Spray dried spirulina is rich in protein, vitamins particularly -carotene and gamma linolenic acid. One gram spirulina contains carotenoids equivalent to 1 kg of vegetables and yellow fruits.
Gamma linolenic acid of spirulina help in heart disease, premenstrual stress, obesity and arthritis. The composition of spirulina is given in the following table
Composition of spray dried spirulina per 100g
Energy Kcal 346
Carbohydrate g 16
Protein g 65 - 71
Fat g 6.7
Calcium mg 658
Iron mg 47.7
B - Carotene µg 3,20,000
Tocopherol IU 0.73
Folic acid µg 176
The quality of protein of spirulina is better than cereals and soya proteins. One serving of spirulina is better than one serving of egg or milk in nutritive value.
Spirulina apart from being rich in nutrients contains phytonutrients like gamma linolenic acid, sulpholipids, phycocyanin and antioxidant vitamins.
The pigments present in Spirulina can raise the activity of lymphocytes, increase immunity and prevent certain type of cancers.