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Spirulina growing in a greenhouse

BLUE GREEN ALGAE
CENTER

spirulina powder and tablets

BLUE GREEN ALGAE, SPIRULINA, AND CHLORELLA

Nutrient dense foods

These foods have tremendous benefits, but how and where they are grown and processed makes a big difference in their effectiveness.

chlorella powder
chlorella tablets and powder

THE ALGAE

Blue green algae (from Klamath Lake), chlorella, and spirulina are nutrient dense foods that have a lot to offer.

While they are commonly referred to as blue-green algae; chlorella, klamath lake, and spirulina are actually cyanobacteria.

spirulina powder

THE BENEFITS

These algae are rich in a number of nutrients including: carotenoids, vitamin K, magnesium, GLA (a beneficial fatty acid), phycocyanin, zeaxanthin, and much more.

vitamin b12

Vitamin B-12

Often these algae are promoted as a source of vitamin b-12. This is partially true.

 

 

Properly grown and manufactured chlorella does contain b-12 that is usable by the body.

Spirulina and Klamath Lake blue-green algae contain analogs of b-12, which are not usable by the body.

Testing for b-12 content of algae should be done using using the LC-MS/MS method- which detects only usable b-12, not the analogs that the body cannot use.

Good quality chlorella is the best whole-food, vegan source of usable b-12.

spirulina farm

WHERE IT'S GROWN

Where the algae is grown or harvested is very important, especially in outdoor open pond cultivated algae. 

outdoor algae farm

OUTDOOR PONDS

Nearly all spirulina and chlorella is grown in open air outdoor ponds.

This creates a lot of problems.

Klamath Lake blue-green algae comes from Klamath Lake in Oregon.

algae covered pond

POND PROBLEMS

Growing algae in open air outdoor ponds creates a host of problems.

Algae, especially chlorella, will bioaccumlate contaminants (such as pesticides and heavy metals) from their environment. 

These pollutants can come from the air, rain, and the ponds water supply.

Most spirulina and chlorella is grown in countries with large amounts of water and air pollution, such as India and China

Since the algae bioaccumulate the contaminants in their environment, they cannot simply be rinsed off like traditional crops.

This is why there are so many problems with spirulina contamination.

lab testing

TESTING

Algae supplements should be tested for the following:

Heavy Metals

Bacterial Contamination

Fungal Contamination

Microcystin

Algae grown in open air outdoor ponds will need to be tested for further contaminants, such as pesticides, fungicides,herbicides, and other environmental pollutants.

Unfortunately, most companies do not run the full gamut of tests needed to ensure that outdoor pond grown algae is free of contaminants.

middleman

MIDDLEMAN

Unfortunately, most companies do not grow their own algae. They buy it from middleman who often mix a bunch of different sources together, so many companies have no real idea where their algae are coming from.

One of the most important steps, but not only one, a person can take to ensure they are getting pure algae products is to buy them from companies who harvest, grow and produce their own algae products.

blue green algae powder

DRYING

As with other foods, Algae should be dried at low temperatures, using gentle methods.

Traditional spray-drying is the most common method for drying algae.

Unfortunately, this leads to a change in the structure of the algae and a loss of nutritional value.

As you can see from the chart below, algae dried with traditional spray-drying has a lower nutritional value.

The Farm To Bottle Project

OUR ALGAE

We strive to get all of our algae supplements directly from companies who harvest, grow, and manfacture their own products.

It's an important part of our Farm-To-Bottle Project.

klamath lake

KLAMATH LAKE

Our Klamath Lake Blue Green Algae supplements (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, AFA), come directly from Klamath Lake, in Oregon.

The upper part of the lake is tested daily from August to November.

When the tests come back negative for other algae strains and only pure AFA is present, testing is increased to several times per day to monitor the conditions and prepare for harvest.

Once the tests come back only showing pure AFA, the harvest begins.

Algae is rinsed and filtered as it goes through the harvester. 

Samples are collected and sent on each load of AFA to an independent lab.

Once the tests results come back and show it is free of contamiants, the algae is low temperature dried and prepared for packaging. 

After drying, additional samples are sent to an independent lab to ensure it is free of contaminants, such as microcystin. 

It's very important that the correct testing methods are used because many testing methods used on the this algae are innacurate.

The entire process is USDA certified organic.

apogee spirulina farm

SPIRULINA

In Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the base of the Sangre De Cristo mountains, there is a small spirulina farm run by a very passionate man named Nicholas, who traveled to France to intern with a Maître Spirulinier (Master Spirulina Farmer) and learn the artisanal French method of spirulina cultivation.

 

The French Artisan Method of Spirulina cultivation differs in several key ways from large-scale commercial spirulina farms:

  

Smaller farms range from 100 square feet to ¼ acre.

 

Spirulina is grown in a greenhouse which reduces water evaporation. This is critical in a high desert climate.
 

The greenhouse also allows the Spirulina to remain at a constant high temperature during cold desert nights. This provides for an optimum growth rate during the summer months.

Retaining a pure Spirulina culture which is a small greenhouse environment is free of dust and other contaminants, so the use of pesticides or herbicides is not necessary.


Harvesting is done almost daily and is slowly dried in a solar oven to maintain the highest nutritional levels.

The spirulina is pressed into what we like to call “spaghetti”. This results in a larger surface area.

The Spirulina has a minimal nutritional loss, so a higher quality finished product is achieved.

During the peak of the season, harvesting is done five days a week and the ponds are rested and rejuvenated over the weekend.

 

The growing season is between April and October. Peak harvesting occurs in the hot summer months.

 

The water source for this spirulina comes from a deep underground spring, not from surface water, in order to avoid contamination issues.
 

These spirulina crunchies, as they are called, have a higher nutritional value than traditional spirulina powders and the taste is amazing.

 

You can put them in smoothies or just eat them out of the bag. A great way to get some easy, extra nutrition into your diet.

glass tube grown chlorella

CHLORELLA - TO CRACK OR NOT TO CRACK

One of the most common misconceptions about chlorella is that the cell walls have to be cracked in order to allow for digestion.

This could not be further from the truth.

If you look at the "studies" done that show that cracking the cell wall is needed, they are poorly done and almost entirely funded by companies selling cracked cell wall chlorella. 

The pH of stomach acid is 1.5 to 3.5, and it produces an enzyme called lysozyme. The combination of stomach acid and lysozyme is plenty for chlorella's cell wall to be broken without having to risk damaging the proteins, vitamins, and fatty acids or exposing them to oxidation that the methods of cracking the cell wall cause.

Factors such as the drying process and the species (strain) of chlorella used have a greater impact on its digestibility.

 

This is summarized as follows in a publication by T. Kanno (2005), stating that:

“The original characteristics and the physiological effects of Chlorella are not changed by breaking up the cell wall” and “It is more to be feared that the process of breaking up the cell wall may degrade proteins, destroy vitamins, and fatty acids, thereby resulting in oxidation effects.”

algomed glass tube grown chlorella

ALGOMED CHLORELLA

Unlike chlorella which is grown in open airoutdoor ponds, Algomed Chlorella is grown entirely in glass tubes. Zero exposure to the outside environment allows for the production of super-pure and contaminant-free chlorella.

The Algomed process:

"To start with, our 'tubular aquariums' are filled with water. We source this from our own well, which is fed from an artesian aquifer more than 45 meters down. This is very pure water that is also nicely mineralized.

 

Nutrients and an algae starter culture are then added and the algae begin to grow. The advantages of our 500-kilometer system of glass tubing are obvious. The algae get an optimal supply of sunlight because there are no “dark zones” like you get in the lower layers of a pond, and no contaminants from the outside can get into the culture.

 

When the algae are ready to be harvested, they are separated from the water by centrifuging and then gently dried. They can be consumed immediately or processed further."

Algomeds entire growning and manufacturing process takes place at their German facility.

aliga active chlorella specimen

ALIGA AQTIVE CHLORELLA

Aliga Aqtive Chlorella is grown at their state of the art facilities in Denmark and Netherlands.

It is grown completely indoors, without the risk of contamination that comes from open air outdoor ponds.

Their state-of-the-art production facilities in Denmark and the Netherlands makes them one of the largest heterotrophic Chlorella algae producers in Europe with world-class manufacturing processes.

 

To ensure reliable production their sealed and fully controlled fermenters operate under a continuous regime, producing consistent high-quality batch after batch.

 

To prevent any risk of waterborne pathogens and other contaminants entering their cultivation process, they only use filtered, demineralized water and axenic Chlorella master cultures.

 

These cultivation procedures, in combination with their harvesting and gentle, low-temperature drying processes, guarantees that premium quality ingredients and products are being produced to the highest standards.

Producing chlorella indoors using bioreactors is much more environmentally friendly than outdoor chlorella, as it requires much less water and produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Glass tube grown abyssea chlorella

ABYSSEA CHLORELLA

Abyssea Chlorella is grown in Portugal in a glass tube setup. 

The closed glass-tube growing system prevents contamination commonly found in open-air outdoor pond-grown chlorella.

The specific strain of chlorella starts out in a glass reactor and is later moved to an industrial-scale reactor.

The next phase initiates in a glass autotrophic reactor, later moving to a flat panel reactor, in this case also known as green walls.

In industrial tubular reactors, the chlorella naturally grows outdoors in the sun. The strains are maintained at the most suitable conditions for cell division.

Then, the live algae culture is filtered to separate the solid biomass from the liquid phase.

The algae is then centrifuged to remove the water and create a paste.

Then, the chlorella is low-temperature dried, milled, and encapsulated.

blue green algae supplements

KNOWLEDGE

Knowing the full process from growing location to drying, testing, and manufacturing is essential to be able to know if you are getting a pure and high-quality algae supplement.

 

We are proud to bring you a full range of fully transparent, Farm-To-Bottle, whole-food algae supplements.  

Transparency and traceability is not just a slogan for us. 

Our ultimate goal is for 100% of our supplements to be traceable back to the farm, boat, forest, and facility they came from, which is the only way to fully be able to vet products for quality issues and ensure they are ethically produced.

BLUE GREEN ALGAE SHOP

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