The microscopic, filamentous prokaryote, Arthrospira (Spirulina), has been the subject of intense investigation mainly owing to its use as food, feed, dietary supplement, and functional food. Its recorded historical use as food spans centuries and it has been commercialized as food for the past 30 years. Though there are numerous studies on its mass production outdoors, these are mainly from studies involving small experimental outdoor ponds. There is therefore only limited information from large-scale commercial facilities that produce Spirulina in large outdoor ponds. Small-scale production in experimental ponds is limited in its scope since it does not deal with effects of harvesting and recycling of nutrients on a continuous basis that affect both the yield and quality of the product. This chapter presents information on the production and quality of Spirulina (Arthrospira) grown in large outdoor ponds, drawing examples from the Earthrise Farms located in southern California.
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