What is Microalgae?
What organism creates more than 60% of the oxygen on earth? What organism is the basic food source of all sorts of creatures? What organism has the most potential to be a biotech and is also at the same time the most ancient organism on earth? The answer is microphytes, also known as microalgae.
Microalgae are the origin of the food chain, they presence on earth existed at the very early stages of earth. After billions of years of environmental changes, they did not become extinct and are still visible in our surroundings.
Even though microalgae are tiny, they are still the most nutritious food source. It contains similar amino acids, vitamins and minerals as the human body. Not only can microalgae provide us with nutrition, it can also help us maintain a health body, and therefore it has been known as the “Green Super Food” for the 21st century.
Microalgae are grown in environments that are covered by sufficient sunlight and rich earthy conditions that consists of 76 types of organic minerals. It has high nutritional values, and contains up to 65% of vegetable protein. Amongst the nutritional values, it contains up to 50% of the amino acids that the human body needs, and capable of providing a 90% absorption rate for the human body. (Spirulina 90%, chlorella 45~50%)
Microalgae contains calcium, phosphorus, iron and many other mineral elements, but is also rich in β-carotene, pantothenic acid, folic acid, biotin, vitamin complexes A, B, C and E. Vitamin B12 and iron values are higher in microalgae than our livers, and the calcium values are higher than that of milk! NASA has also proposed spirulina and chlorella as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions.
Due to the complete nutrition values of microalgae, many countries have labeled it as a health food, functional food or dietary supplements. At one time, the Mexican government even made regulations that children's food must contain 5% of spirulina, and Olympic athletes were to have more than 20% of spirulina in their food. In 1996 The Japanese Health and Nutrition Food Association categorized spirulina and chlorella as health foods, and in 1998 the US FDA followed by categorizing chlorella and spirulina as dietary supplements.
Origin and Digestive Rates are Crucial!
Origin of microalgae and water source should be carefully assessed before consumption of microalgae products, one should also be aware if the production process been affected with heavy metal or radiation contamination. Strict quality control and manufacturing procedures can also avoid possible skin disorders from the consumption of microalgae. Therefore, it is best to choose qualified or certified products that have not been contaminated by heavy metal or pollutants, avoiding the consumption of poisonous elements of entering our bodies.
Pure Strain Cultivation
There are many types and species of microalgae, some of which are highly toxic. An incident in Hong Kong known as the red tide, occurred because of poisonous algae had contaminated other algae in the ocean, which created a red color. The sea creatures consumed the algae then became also contaminated. Therefore, cultivation of microalgae should be of pure strand cultivation.
- Clean Water Source Cultivation
The water source used for cultivating microalgae is vitally important, the water source cannot be polluted or contain heavy metals.
- Sufficient sunlight
Sufficient sunlight will enable the microalgae to create high quality nutrient elements.
The thick cellulose cell wall of chlorella can only be partially digested (about 40%) by stomach acid. Therefore the cell walls need to be cracked in order to achieve a higher digestive rate. Cracking the cell wall allows up to 80% absorption rate and maintains 100% nutrients.