Because spirulina has such a high tolerance of salt and thrives in bodies of water which are strongly alkaline, it is usually found growing in monoculture as most microorganisms cannot survive in the hostile environment that spirulina prefers. This means that organically farmed spirulina doesn’t require the use of any chemical pesticides to sterilise it, as the conditions for growth are naturally inhospitable to contaminating organisms.
Our spirulina is grown on a peninsula in the South China Sea. This location is ideal for spirulina cultivation as it offers consistently warm temperatures and long hours of sunshine, which are essential for productive growth rates. The farm is surrounded by pristine natural forests and is completely isolated from urban areas and sources of agricultural pollution. Our spirulina is routinely tested for the presence of mercury, lead and other contaminants to ensure that the finished product is completely pure and poses no risk of heavy metal poisoning.
In addition, samples from the growing ponds are tested daily to give a pH value and optical density reading, which measures the concentration of spirulina in the water and tells us when it is ready to be harvested. It takes approximately 2 months of continuous growth until the spirulina can be harvested for the first time, but after that it grows so quickly that repeat harvesting can take place every week.
The spirulina is removed from the water by passing it through a fine mesh-screen that captures the small coiled filaments. The gathered spirulina is then sieved, transferred to a washing pond, and then cleaned by hand over a mesh-screen to ensure that only pure spirulina is processed. This wet spirulina is placed in a drying chamber which quickly removes all moisture through evaporation whilst preserving the nutrient content, leaving a fine green powder which can be compressed into spirulina tablets.
Unlike terrestrial plants, spirulina has no hard cellulose cell wall so is easily digested. It has a high protein content, approximately 65%, and contains all 9 of the essential amino acids (those the human body cannot produce so must acquire through diet). Amino acids are the building blocks for proteins which are vital for the production of muscle and all enzymes.
Spirulina is also high in calcium, magnesium and iron. Calcium plays a part in many functions of the body, including contributing to normal muscle function, transmission of information via nervous system, and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium contributes to maintenance of normal bones and teeth, normal muscle function, metabolism, and reducing tiredness and fatigue. Iron contributes to normal transport of oxygen around the body; it also contributes to normal cognitive function, normal function of the immune system and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Organically farmed spirulina is the most environmentally friendly source of protein available – it is nutritionally complete, can be cultivated on areas of land unsuitable for other forms of agriculture, and unlike farming of animals which is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters releasing 34kg of CO2 per kilogramme of meat protein, spirulina actually removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while it is growing.
Because it reproduces so quickly and produces its own energy from sunlight, spirulina farming is also very energy efficient – none of the biomass energy is wasted or lost during the production process, and almost all of the nutrients can be preserved so that the final product contains freshly synthesized and easily digestible protein and vitamins from the first stage of the nutrient cycle.