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Bioactive Molecules of Spirulina: A Food Supplement

  • Meeta Mathur
Living reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)

Abstract

Spirulina is a nature’s gift as super food to mankind. It is a photosynthetic filamentous microalga which has emerged as a potent food supplement because of its rich micro- and macronutrient contents. The body of Spirulina is smooth and with weak cell wall that makes it easily digestible. It is a valuable source of proteins, vitamins, minerals, β-carotene, fatty acids, etc. which makes it perfect as food and fodder. NASA has stated that the nutritional value of 1000 kg of fruits and vegetables equals to 1 kg of Spirulina. In 1992 WHO has declared Spirulina as “Best food for future” to redress malnutrition especially in children. Apart from being a food supplement, Spirulina has gained considerable popularity and paramount importance due to the presence of certain pigments and secondary metabolites. It shows pharmacognosic properties like immuno-protective, anticancer, antidiabetic, antiviral, anti-obesity, etc. it is the most nutritionally concentrated compact whole food known which owe a potential to drastically lower the chances of developing cancer, heart disease, or stroke or of contracting a life-threatening virus such as HIV and prevent eyes from cataract formation. Many animal studies in vivo and in vitro and human trials have proved Spirulina to be commercialized and sold for therapeutic purposes. It appears to have a considerable potential for developing a key crop in coastal and alkaline regions where traditional agriculture struggles. Thus, looking at its global nutritional significance, more should be done in culture isolation, purification, and quality control of Spirulina and its products.

Keywords

Spirulina platensis IIMSAM C-phycocyanin β-carotene Nutraceutical Hepetoprotective Anticancer Mass cultivation Biofertilizer Nephrotoxicity 

Abbreviations

AIDS

acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

C-PC

C-phycocyanin

EFA

essential fatty acid

GLA

gamma linolenic acid

HIV

human immunodeficiency virus

IIMSAM

intergovernmental institution for the use of micro-algae Spirulina against malnutrition

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NPU

net protein utilization

PER

protein efficiency ratio

PUFA

polyunsaturated fatty acids

WHO

World Health Organization

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BotanyMithibai College, University of MumbaiMumbaiIndia

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