Safety Evaluations

In addition to analytical studies on biogenic and nonbiogenic toxic substances found in Spirulina algae, safety evaluations have also been conducted involving acute, subchronic, chronic, teratogenic, mutagenic, carcinogenic, and multiple generation effects.

Some studies discussed in this chapter were conducted on Spirulina from Sosa Texcoco, a company no longer in existence, and were supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).58 Other studies have been conducted in various institutions in several countries around the world with different Spirulina samples. Sometimes, studies have been conducted with phycocyanin, the main component of Spirulina color.

In most safety evaluation studies of Spirulina, rats and mice have been used because of several advantages: they are easy to house, require relatively low quantities of test substances, are well understood with ample historical control data, have short life spans as well as good regulatory acceptance, have genetic consistency and a metabolism that tends to be rapid, and present systemic exposure lower than in humans.59 Unless specified, most of our short and long-term studies incorporated dried algae into the experimental diets at levels (w/w) of 0 (control), 10, 20, and 30%.58

Studies by other authors employed different dose and concentrations and a variance of environmental conditions in the laboratories, where testing was conducted.

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