Proper and quick drying is an essential step of high-quality Spirulina production. Various types of drying systems are used in the industry for drying Spirulina. For economic reasons, the dryer of choice in large-scale Spirulina production facilities is the spray dryer. Freeze drying would give better overall product quality, but the cost is rather prohibitive. Spirulina droplets are sprayed into the drying chamber just long enough to flash evaporate the water. The powder is exposed to heat for a few seconds as it falls to the bottom. No preservatives, additives, or stabilizers are used in drying. This quick spray-drying process guarantees preservation of heat-sensitive nutrients, pigments, and enzymes. Efficient control of drying temperature is very important because the drying temperature can affect the moisture content, and the latter in turn affects the growth of bacteria and molds.
Proper packaging is also important for high-quality Spirulina production. The dried powder is weighed and vacuum-sealed into oxygen-barrier bags to minimize exposure to air and prevent possible oxidation of phytonutrients. The bags are then packed into cardboard boxes, sealed with tape, and labeled to reflect the package weight and lot numbers for tracking purposes. All reasonable precautions are taken to assure that production procedures do not contribute contamination such as filth, harmful chemicals, undesirable microorganisms, or any other objectionable material to the processed product. Under this packaging condition, the product can stay up to four years with little change in biochemical composition or nutritional properties (Tables 1.1 and 1.2).
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