"spirulina WORLD program" propose a document of:
Spirulina Program LOGO
(22-December 2002)
  Intergovernmental Spirulina-Program

3/A Rue Barberini - 00187 ROMA - Italia

Response to COMESA's report:

(- Nile Hôtel international 4 & 5 november 2002 under the heading) :

1 " Situation de la sécurité alimentaire dans la région du COMESA (Page 1-(i) :
- sur la situation de sécurité alimentaire au niveau national et (Page 2 (ii) : établir des réseaux des bourse des produits agricoles) et

Recours aux micro-algues alimentaires pendant les carences et les urgences humanitaires. (Page 2)".
- " Tandis que les micro-algues ont apporté une contribution comme composante alimentaire en Chine, à Cuba, aux Etats-Unis et en Inde à des fins de secours elles n'ont pas été appliquées à grande échelle en Afrique. Et là où elles ont été signalées sur le continent, c'était seulement à titre d'essai. Il est donc recommandé que plus d'informations soient fournies au sujet de leurs normes, bio-sûreté et leur viabilité économique".
It is true that microalgae (in the case discussed, this term refers to Arthrospira platensis, widely known as Spirulina) have been studied intensively during the past 30 or so years in France, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, India, South Africa, Algeria, Thailand, China, Chile, Peru, etc… The purpose originally was to find a new source of protein for a world plagued with famine and chronic malnutrition - a world lacking the pastures and fresh water needed to supply proteins from meat animals to a skyrocketing population.
More than a thousand scientific papers, dozens of doctoral theses, over 40 books, and more than 16 international conferences have been devoted to the subject of Spirulina since 1971. Many nutrition tests on animal and human subjects have shown consistently that the proteins of Spirulina are of the highest quality. These tests have shown also that Spirulina contains unusually high quantities of beta-carotene or provitamin A, vitamin B12, non-saturated essential fatty acids, available iron, etc… and that the polysaccharides it produces prohibit the replication of viruses - mainly through strengthening of cell membranes (which keeps the virus out).
Apparently, members of the COMESA meeting were unaware of the fact that the Kanembous, living at the eastern shores of Lake Chad, have collected, sun-dried, and eaten Spirulina (usually with water added as a sauce) since the dawn of their history; and even today consume it and make commerce with it among their neighboring countries. . And also that there is a small commercial farm in Ivory Coast and few humanitarian farms serving villages and communities in Benin, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Madagascar, etc. Spirulina was eaten for hundred of years by the Olmecs and the Aztecs of Mexico before the Spanish conquest of that region. It is still eaten in Mexico and is grown commercially in several South American countries
Equally surprising is that apparently nobody knew that among the many alkaline lakes spread throughout the Rift Valley region Spirulina lakes have been found in Ethiopia (lakes Aranguadi, Lesougouta, Nakourou, Chiltu, Navasha, Rodolphe, prosible : lake Abiata), Kenya, (lakes Nakuru, Elmenteita, Cratère, Natron), Zambia, (lac bangweoulou), Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania (lake Natron) & Madagascar, as well as in the Popular Republic of Congo. The Spirulina of these lakes could have helped to prevent many thousands of deaths during recent food emergencies. It would be more than interesting, even urgent, to think The Intergovernmental Spirulina Program which is recommending Spirulina to you is beholden to no government or political entity, no organization, association, foundation, or financial interest. It strives with its member countries to bring the benefits of Spirulina to the greatest number of people possible as a humanitarian effort.
Spirulina is a natural food. It has not been genetically modified, and there would be no advantage in doing so as it is relatively easy to grow it from culture samples taken from any of these African lakes. Fortunately, Spirulina grows in highly alkaline and salty waters where microorganism harmful to humans cannot grow: pH over 10, and total salinity from 8g to 60g of salts per liter. It can therefore be eaten directly from the lake (as I have done in Madagascar) although prudence dictates that at least minimum efforts to be made to keep the cultures clean. In most countries commercial Spirulina products must meet the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) recommendations concerning contamination (1974).
Total aerobic bacteria
Staphylococcus aureus
Clostridia (total)
Clostridium perfringens
Streptococci of the Lansfields Group D
Viable yeasts and moulds
100,000 per gram
less than 1 per 50 grams
Actually, many measures are taken during production and processing by Spirulina growers to ensure that these standards are met or exceeded. These include analyses of the Spirulina and the culture medium, rigorous hygienic protocol, and methods for drying and packaging which guaranty safety for the user.
A new method of drying is being developed: Mix-drying of the freshly harvested filter cake of Spirulina with dehydrated, pre-cooked cereals - the cereals, together with the Spirulina, being a complete food containing proteins, vitamins, and calories.
This drying method fulfills the requirements of the member states of COMESA concerning food security of the national level (page 1-(i) and Page 2 (ii) establishment of agricultural reserves. It allows the creation of available stocks of balanced nutriments to reinforce the food security in the region.
By economic viability, of course, one means economic usefulness to the country. It would be difficult indeed to find any other natural agricultural product which could do more economically for a country than Spirulina can.
Spirulina helps to bring sickly children back to good health, and to keep healthy children healthy. How much does a sickly child cost his country? Anguish for his parents and family; a drain on the spirit of its community; money out of pocket for medicines and care; lost time at work for the family and the nation - with the subsequent reduction of the national output. Profound malnutrition, if the child lives, causes mental and physical handicapping which nullifies the advances offered by education. How much does that cost a country? Today our balance sheets do not show the value of good health. But a healthy child can gain much for its country. Good health is a roadway to success.
When Spirulina has satisfied the health requirement at home, one can look forward to exterior commerce with this valuable crop. By then you will have mastered the art and science of its production and will be ready to compete in the world market. Worldwide need is 100,000 times today's worldwide production. Growing methods now under development and new forms of presentation should allow us to reach for this extended market.
Many references are quoted in the literature presented to the COMESA conference by Dr. A. Manini. Additional information is presented in this CDRom offered by the Intergovernmental Spirulina Program, as well as in my book, Spiruline: Technique, Pratique et Promesse, Edisud, Aix-en-Provence, 1996.
Dr. Ripley D. Fox
Director General Intergovernmental Spirulina Program
2 December 2002

- Introduction ] CD-ROM Spirulina for Reducing Malnutrition - Historic of the World ]
- SPIRULINA Composition  ]   [  - Texcoco Lake Story  ]
 [ -  
WHERE SPIRULINA is found ] [  - Basins  ]   [  - Photosynthesis ]  
- SPIRULINA Production  ]  [  - Laboratory ]  [  - Harvestings ]
- Mix-drying SPIRULINA ]   [  - Starting ]  [ Problems and Solutions  ] 
[  -
- Why should we grow SPIRULINA ? : for nutrition and health ]
- Public Information-paper on SPIRULINAuseful links ]


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