Environmental Conditions for Outdoor Mass Production of Spirulina

Arthrospira requires an abundant supply of light and nutrients and a relatively high temperature. As a result production facilities are located in tropical or subtropical regions of the world where both the intensity and duration of sun light are high and where the temperature is high enough to enable production year round. Such locations are hard to find but are mandatory for economic production of high-quality Spirulina. The optimum temperature for the growth of Spirulina is 35-38°C while the minimum temperature required to sustain growth is 15-20°C. There is virtually no facility in the world that is located in an area where the optimum temperature is experienced throughout the year. As a result facilities operate between 7 and 12 months. Another condition for Spirulina growth is minimal precipitation. Unfortunately, those areas where production can take place throughout the year usually have seasonal rains that may affect the condition of the culture adversely. Even though weather conditions vary over the year, it is possible to manipulate pond and culture parameters in order to minimize or counteract such effects on the yield and quality of the culture. Another problem associated with such a dry and hot climatic condition is the evaporation from the ponds that must be replenished with fresh water, thereby limiting further where the facility can be operated. Desert climates usually offer constancy of climatic conditions that result in higher yield and consistent quality of the product.

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