One aspect of high-quality Spirulina production is that the product must have a consistent chemical and physical property. Table 1.1 provides data on a typical chemical and physical analysis of Spirulina powder produced at Earthrise. The analysis was done on a blend of 21 lots of product made up of three samples taken approximately on the 10th, 20th, and 30th of each month, during the entire seven-month production season. As shown in Table 1.1, Spirulina contains high levels of protein, phycoyanin, total carotenoids, chlorophyll, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), iron, and vitamin B12, the latter as measured by the microbiological method. Its amino acid profile is comparable to that recommended by FAO/WHO with the exception of the sulfur amino acids and lysine.34
Seasonal and yearly variations in product quality are observed. However, when one considers the open nature of the production system, the consistency of biochemical composition is remarkable (Figure 1.5). This shows that while it is possible that product quality and consistency may be better in algae grown in closed bioreactors, the variation in product quality of algae grown in well-maintained open ponds is not as high as one would expect from such open systems. Data on the quality of products from closed bioreactors are lacking, making comparison difficult. Good culture and product management conditions are prerequisites for product quality, uniformity of biochemical composition, and safety.24
03/06 04/06 05/06 06/06 07/06 08/06 09/06 10/06 Production date
FIGURE 1.5 Seasonal variation in carotenoid content of Spirulina (Earthrise 2006 data).
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