Monday, 14 January 2008

spirulina smoothie anyone?

What produces most of the planet’s oxygen?

Algae.
They release oxygen as a waste product of photosynthesis. Their net oxygen output is higher than that produced by all the trees and other land-based plants put together.

Ancient algae are also the main constituent of oil and gas. Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria (from Greek kyanos – “dark green-blue”) it is earth’s earliest known life form, with fossils that date back 3.6 billion years.

While some algae are included with the plants in the Eukaryote domain (eu, “true, and karyon, “nut”, referring to their cell’s having true nuclei, which bacteria don’t), the cyanobacteria are now firmly in the Bacteria kingdom with their own phylum.

One form of cyanobacteria, spirulina, yields twenty times more protein per acre than soya beans. It consists of 70 percent protein (compared with beef’s 22 percent), 5 percent fat, no cholesterol, and an impressive array of vitamins and minerals. Hence the increasing popularity of the spirulina smoothie.

It also boosts the immune system, particularly the production of protein interferons, the body’s front-line defense against viruses and tumour cells.

The nutritional and health benefits of spirulina were recognized centuries ago by the Aztecs, sub-Saharan Africans, and flamingos.

Its significance for the future may be that algae can be grown on land that isn’t fertile, using (and recycling) brackish water. It’s a crop that doesn’t cause soil erosion, requires no fertilizers or pesticides, and refreshes the atmosphere more than anything else that grows.

10 comments:

Kaycie said...

That's really fascinating.

It doesn't sound very appetizing to me, though.

Geoff said...

A subject close to my heart! blue green algae is the future for energy production, as you say no nitrogen needed and incredibly efficient at converting energy.
When are we going to see you in Cambridge :-)

jmb said...

Perfect, no doubt about it, except for consumption. I'll give that a miss I think.

Winchester whisperer said...

I hope you're using some corner of your fields to try that.

jams o donnell said...

Talk about a superfood! I'm sure it can be made into other palatable products

Shades said...

It might be a good use for the Rub' al Khali one day.

lady macleod said...

kaycle
Just ask Q! I was on one of my nutritious bents a few years ago and made her drink it! I'm still hearing about it!
Thank you for coming by.


geoff
Indeed! I agree, and would like to see a good start.
Soon! I'm missing old England..
thank you for coming by.


jmb
he he Chicken!
Thank you for coming by.


ww
I thought of that, I did!
Thank you for coming by.


jams
Indeed!
Thank you for coming by.


Shades,
he he. All righty then.
Thank you for coming by.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I think I need some of that spirulina stuff!

Chervil said...

Very interesting. I just wonder how one would go about not getting the kind of toxic algal bloom I sometimes read about? Or is this something entirely different? 
Btw - I love your images on the sidebar!

Sparx said...

What do we think the chances really are of the powers that be investing in this though? I admit to having had the odd spirulina shake... however you are making me think about upping my intake.