Botanically knows as Arthrospira Platensis, Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae which looks similar to a coiled spring under a microscope and hence the name. This organism can be found or cultivated in saltwater and freshwater with the ecosystem-based on photosynthetic.
Research by various institutions points out compelling data and findings like its existence for billions of years by analysis of data from fossils . Due to its immense nutritional value, it was a source of food for many communities. Spirulina was the principal source of protein for the Aztecs who existed in Mexico City for many thousands of years.
Exceptional nutritional and medicinal properties are getting spirulina consumed and tagged a global superfood. It is high in vitamin, protein and mineral content along with essential amino acids, essential fatty acids. Spirulina's green colour is derived from chlorophyll, and the blue colour is derived from the pigment phycocyanin.
Apart from being consumed, spirulina has other industries application.
The generous protein present in spirulina makes it a promising hair and skincare ingredient. It would help in revitalising and cleanse the scalp and hair down to the cellular level. Supporting the skin's requirements of protein, Vit A, Vit B- 12, Vit E, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus Spirulina is excellent for the skin. It produces an imitation melanin cover - natural skin lighting assistant. Phycocyanin present in spirulina slows the ageing of cells and boosts internal collagen production and benefits towards anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle treatments. These also are proposed to be efficient in healing dark circles and dark eye signs along with treating dryness and revives natural collagen production.
Pharmaceuticals and Nutraceuticals derive different types of compounds from spirulina for further applications.
Listed below are organic compounds, namely pigments and fatty acids extracted.
Also called tetraterpenoids, these are the orange, yellow, and red organic pigments that are created by algae & plants, as well as several bacteria and fungi.
Chlorophyll A is used in oxygenic photosynthesis; this absorbs most energy from wavelengths of violet-blue and orange-red light. It reflects green-yellow light, and as such, contributes to the observed green colour of most plants.
β-Carotene is an organic, strongly coloured red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. It is a division of the carotenes, which are terpenoids that are synthesized biochemically.
Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex organic compound found in the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin. It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble.
Pheophorbide a combined with Doxorubicin has Photodynamic synergistic effect against tumoral Cells.
Alpha-Linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid observed in seeds, nuts and green vegetables. The essential fatty acid is necessary for health and cannot be produced within the human body.
Gamma-Linolenic Acid Is a polyunsaturated long-chain fatty acid with omega-6 acid fatty acid comprising a-linolenic acid, plays a role in plant & human metabolite, used extensively as food additives.
Classified as a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid; Name is derived from the Latin word oleum, which implies oil. It is the prevalent common fatty acid in nature that is widely used in Pharma & Cosmetic sectors.
Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is the most common saturated fatty acid found in animals, plants and microorganisms, Is used cosmetics, soaps & industrial applications.
A 9-hexadecenoic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid that is a common constituent of the glycerides of human adipose tissue. Present in all tissues, generally found in higher concentrations in the liver.
Stearic Acid is a saturated long-chain fatty acid is found in various animal and plant fats and is a significant component of cocoa butter and shea butter.
We will discuss in detail in the upcoming blogs about the different application of spirulina in other industries.