Intensification of the convective drying process of Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis by capillary draining: effect of the draining support

  • Thouraya GhnimiEmail author
  • Lamine Hassini
  • Mohamed Bagane


The aim of this work is to study the intensification of the convective drying process of Arthrospira (Spirulina) by capillary drainage. Capillary drainage effect was performed by the integration of different draining supports, namely cotton, microfibers, 30 μm fabric, and 80 μm fabric, between the biomass and the drying tray. Drying tests were carried out in a pilot-scale drying tunnel at a free-stream temperature between 39 and 42 °C, at air velocity of 0.5 m s−1 and at air relative humidity around 20%. The Arthrospira biomass was set at two different initial moisture contents on dry basis: 7 kg kg−1 and 5 kg kg−1. For each of these initial moisture contents, the fresh paste was spread over the different draining support, either in a thin layer (dimensions 80 × 80 × 3 mm3) or in cylindrical extrudates (3-mm diameter and 120-mm length) with two different spacings (10 and 20 mm). Drying experiments of biomass in thin layer after the integration of the different draining supports, particularly the 80-μm mesh fabric, lead to a significant drying time reduction compared to that performed without any draining support. For this most effective support, the percentage time reduction was around 30%. However, the percentage time reduction was around 35% for drying tests of biomass in cylindrical extrusions using 80 μm mesh fabric as a draining medium. For all drying tests, the drying kinetic coefficient kx was identified by fitting the falling rate drying period data by a first-order kinetic equation (Lewis model). This coefficient was significantly increased by the presence of the porous material. Its value was equal to 5.604 × 10−4 g dry matter s−1 for drying test without any support and reached a value of 11.556 × 10−4 g dry matter s−1 for drying test with 80-μm mesh fabric.


Spirulina Convective drying Capillary drainage Statistical analysis Energy reduction 



This research work was supported by Bio Gatrana Farm. The authors want to thank Mr. Nizar Chouchen for its scientific support, Mr. Lazheri Nouri for providing Arthrospira biomass, and Mr. Abderrazek Zaaraoui for technical support.


This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.


  1. Anderson DM (2005) Imbibition of a liquid droplet on a deformable porous substrate. Phys Fluids 17:087104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. AOAC (1995) Official methods of analysis, 16th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, ArlingtonGoogle Scholar
  3. Bala BK, Woods JL (1992) Thin layer drying models for malts. J Food Eng 16:239–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Belay A (2013) Biology and industrial production of Arthrospira (Spirulina). In: Richmond A, Hu Q (eds) Handbook of microalgal culture: applied phycology and biotechnology. Blackwell, Oxford, pp 339–358CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bonnin G (1993) A scheme for the transfer of technology concerning Spirulina production and utilization to developing countries. Bull Inst Océanogr Monaco 12:157–167Google Scholar
  6. Davis SH, Hocking LM (1999) Spreading and imbibition of viscous liquid on a porous base. Phys Fluids 11:48–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de la Jara A, Ruano-Rodriguez C, Polifrone M, Assunçao P, Brito-Casillas Y, Wägner AM, Serra-Majem L (2018) Impact of dietary Arthrospira (Spirulina) biomass consumption on human health: main health targets and systematic review. J Appl Phycol 30:2403–2423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Deng X, Mammen L, Butt HJ, Vollmer D (2012) Candle soot as a template for a transparent robust superamphiphobic coating. Science 335:67–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Desmorieux H, Decaen N (2006) Convective drying of Spirulina in thin layer. J Food Eng 77:64–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dufresne ER, Stark DJ, Greenblatt NA, Cheng JX, Hutchinson JW, Mahadevan L, Weitz DA (2006) Dynamics of fracture in drying suspensions. Langmuir 22:7144–7147CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Filali M, Cornet JF, Fontane T, Fournet B, Dubertret G (1993) Production, isolation and characterization of the exopolysaccharide of the cyanobaterium Spirulina platensis. Biotechnol Lett 15:567–575CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fox R (1996) Spirulina, production and potential. Edisud, Aix-en-Provence, p 232Google Scholar
  13. Habib MAB, Parvin M, Huntington TC, Hasan MR (2008) A review on culture, production and use of Spirulina as food for humans and feeds for domestic animals. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Circular no 1034. FAO, Rome, p 33Google Scholar
  14. Herminghaus S (2000) Roughness-induced non-wetting. Europhys Lett 52:165–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hernandez CA, Nieves I, Meckes M, Chamorro G, Barron BL (2002) Antiviral activity of Spirulina maxima against Herpes simplex virus type 2. Antivir Res 56:279–285Google Scholar
  16. Incropera FP, DeWitt DP (2002) Fundamentals of heat and mass transfer, 5th edn. John Wiley & Sons Inc, New York, 698pGoogle Scholar
  17. Jiménez C, Cossió BR, Labella DF, Niell X (2003) The feasibility of industrial production of Spirulina (Arthrospira) in southern Spain. Aquaculture 217:179–190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lago M, Araujo M (2001) Capillary rise in porous media. J Colloid Interface Sci 234:35–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lasseur C (1996) Melissa: a potential experiment for a precursor mission to the moon. Adv Space Res 18:111–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li D-M, Qi Y-Z (1997) Spirulina industry in China: present status and future prospects. J Appl Phycol 9:25–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morist A, Montesinos JL, Cusidó JA, Gòdia F (2001) Recovery and treatment of Spirulina platensis cells cultured in a continuous photobioreactor to be used as food. Process Biochem 37:535–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Oliveira EG, Rosa GS, Moraes MA, Pinto LAA (2009) Characterization of thin layer drying of Spirulina platensis utilizing perpendicular air flow. Bioresour Technol 100:1297–1303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Richmond A (ed) (1986) Handbook of microalgal mass culture. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida 528 ppGoogle Scholar
  24. Riva C, Oreal H (2016) Selenium-enriched Arthrospira platensis potentiates docetaxel, oxaliplatin, and topotecan anticancer activity in epithelial tumors. J Appl Phycol 28:3371–3377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Romay C, Armesto J, Remirez D, González R, Ledon N, García I (1998) Antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from blue-green algae. Inflamm Res J 47:36–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Siddique JI, Anderson DM, Bondarev A (2009) Capillary rise of a liquid into a deformable porous material. Phys Fluids 21:013106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Simpore J, Kabore F, Zongo F, Dansou D, Bere A, Pignatelli S, Biondi DM, Ruberto G, Musumeci S (2006) Nutrition rehabilitation of undernourished children utilizing Spirulina and Misola. Nutr J 5:3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tomaselli L, Palandri MR, Tredici MR (1996) On the correct use of the Spirulina designation. Algol Stud 83:539–548Google Scholar
  29. Xia D, Liu B, Xin W, Liu T, Sun J, Liu N, Qin S, Du Z (2016) Protective effects of C-phycocyanin on alcohol-induced subacute liver injury in mice. J Appl Phycol 28:765–772CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zarrouk C (1966) Contribution à l’étude d’une cyanophycée. Influence de divers facteurs physiques et chimiques sur la croissance et la photosynthèse de Spirulina maxima. Ph.D. Thesis, Université de Paris, ParisGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhang HQ, Lin AP, Sun Y, Deng YM (2001) Chemo and radio-protective effects of polysaccharides of Spirulina platensis on homopoietic system of mice and dogs. Acta Pharmacol Sin 22:1121Google Scholar
  32. Zhmud BV, Tiberg F, Hallstensson K (2000) Dynamic of capillary rise. J Colloid Interface Sci 228:263–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thouraya Ghnimi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lamine Hassini
    • 2
  • Mohamed Bagane
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Thermodynamics Unit Research, National Engineering School of Gabes, ENIGUniversity of GabesGabesTunisia
  2. 2.LETTM laboratory, Faculty of Sciences of TunisUniversity of Tunis el ManarTunisTunisia

Personalised recommendations