Spirulina For Nutrition
Pure Whole Spirulina
Whole, Air dried Spirulina
This is what my supplier told me
After reading about a French spirulina micro farm and the way they process the harvested product, I was so impressed that I contacted several spirulina producers until I found one who is processing it the way they do it on that French spirulina micro farm: harvested spirulina is reduced to a thick paste, then pressed through a machine similar to a noodle maker or meat mincer, to make either long round noodles (like spaghetti) or very wide ribbon noodles. These noodles are then placed on trays and in a large dryer with fan forced heated air circulation. In the driers it stays for a maximum of seven hours and the maximum temperature of the circulated air is 60 degrees Celsius (spirulina harvested from desert locations reaching surface temperatures of 62 degrees Celsius came out of dormination upon contact with water). The moisture contents is reduced to 5 – 7%. Then the “chips” are crushed/milled to customer’s specifications.
This is how spirulina is processed anywhere else:
The harvested spirulina is reduced to a thick paste, then it goes to a “rotary atomizer” to mill it into the smallest particles possible. The very fine paste is then heated to about 60 degrees Celsius and sprayed into a drying chamber. The air inlet temperature is 120 – 140 degrees Celsius; the air outlet temperature is about 85 degrees Celsius. The drying takes six to eight seconds. (The air temperature must be so high and the spirulina powder must be so fine, because the powder must dry up while falling from the top of the drying chamber to the floor.) The powder is then bulk packed, or it goes for tableting, or granulated for capsuling – the powder is too fine to be filled into capsules. The granulation involves mixing it with a binder and going through a machine similar to an instant coffee granulator. Only then these granules can be filled into capsules.
So, if you buy encapsulated spray died spirulina, don’t believe that you are getting pure spirulina.
Whole, Air dried Spirulina
What makes this whole (or raw) spirulina nutritionally superior to spray dried spirulina? Every cell of spirulina entering the rotary atomizer is crushed and the filament exposed to very hot air. Everybody knows that if the skin of an apple is not cut and the apple is stored in atmospheric temperatures, it will keep all its nutritional values for months and months. If you will chop it up, you have to dry it for future use, but the nutritional value is reduced proportionally to the temperature used for drying. The higher the temperature the greater loss of nutrients. Though I haven’t tried it, I have a feeling if you would mix whole, raw spirulina with water and gave it the right growing conditions, it would start growing again – it is “live” food – just like all raw fruits and vegetables – and everybody knows that raw foods are the healthiest. All clinical trials are made with whole spirulina, not with spray dried spirulina. Whole, raw spirulina is also much easier to mix with water, juices, or other foods. And because the cell walls are not damaged, the odour and taste are not as pungent as spirulina that was finely milled in the atomizer. (It wasn’t long before I’ve noticed the superiority of whole spirulina over the spirulina I’ve been distributing since 1995. The most noticeable difference is a less pungent taste and odour and much easier mixing of the powder. It is also a lot more effective in neutralizing the onions and garlic breath.)
The users’ benefits of tableting and encapsulating raw spirulina without any additives are self evident – certainty of getting a 100% pure product.
Because the “chips” can be milled to granules of the right size, there is no need to re-granulate it, thus you have encapsulated pure spirulina powder. I don’t know who discovered it, but when the “chips” are milled to certain grain size, and compressed in a special tableting machine, under very high pressure the protein and carbohydrates will act as glue and bind the powder together. This is not possible with spray-dried spirulina – the heat during spray drying changes the physical properties of spirulina (you can’t do with a boiled egg, what you can do with a raw egg).