Bioactive Molecules of Spirulina: A Food Supplement

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


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.


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



acquired immunodeficiency syndrome




essential fatty acid


gamma linolenic acid


human immunodeficiency virus


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


National Aeronautics and Space Administration


net protein utilization


protein efficiency ratio


polyunsaturated fatty acids


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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