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Spirulina Short- and Long-Term Toxicity Studies*



Animals Methods and results summary



Subchronic Rats










The oral treatment with as much as 800 mg/kg produced no alterations in body weight or organs. Tissues showed normal histology. Also there was no allergic skin reaction with an application of as much as

2000 mg/kg.

Phycocyanin isolated from Spirulina given orally (0.5-5 g/kg) added with the feed induced no toxicity symptoms or mortality in animals. At terminal autopsy no macroscopic or microscopic changes were seen on vital organs.

The continuous feeding of dried algae to young rats at a dietary level of 10% of Spirulina for 3 months did not evoke deleterious effects in general appearance, behavior, mortality, hematology, serum analysis, urine composition, organ weights, and histopathological examination.

Animals were fed for 2 or 4 months on diets having 60% of their protein replaced by Spirulina. There was an increase in kidney, heart, and lung weight and the appearance of a nephrocalcinosis syndrome prevalent in the female rat which was present in the control as well as experimental groups.

Feeding 10% Spirulina for 12 weeks as the only source of protein in the diet resulted in significantly lower weight gains compared to a casein control group. All rats survived the experimental period in apparently good health. All organs were normal macroscopically and microscopically.

Spirulina given for 13 weeks produced no toxic effects on hematology, serum chemistry, semiquantitative analysis of urine or tissues. Body weights of the test animals were slightly lower than in the control in both sexes.

Spirulina given for 13 weeks showed no effects on mouse behavior, food and water intake, growth, or survival. Hematology, clinical chemistry and histopathology values did not reveal differences compared to the control animals.

Rat tolerance to a 100-day period of feeding on Spirulina-rich diets with a final concentration of 36 and 48% of protein, respectively, was good and no histological abnormalities were found in several organs examined.

Spirulina at the maximum protein portion (14.25%) was given to rats for 18 months, resulting in no obvious toxicity signs.

Although hematological tests such as Hb and SGPT showed some statistical differences after 6 months, abnormal findings were not detected in growth and external appearance of the whole body or in the shape, weight and histological findings of organs.

Spirulina was given for 86 weeks in experimental diets. No adverse effects on hematology or urine were observed at the different time periods, and no changes on serum biochemistry were found. No differences in macroscopic or histopathological findings were found.


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