Researchers analyzed fresh, frozen and dried spirulina. Frozen spirulina contained 2.7 times more phycocyanin, 6.8 times more chlorophyll, 3.7 times more carotenoids, 2.3 times more protein and 8.9 times more vitamin C than conventional dried spirulina sold as a supplement.
The aim of this independent research was to evaluate the eﬀects of freezing, oven-drying and freeze-drying on the chemical composition of spirulina biomass.
Total proteins, photosynthetic pigments and antioxidants were analyzed and compared to their respective quantities in fresh biomass.
Spirulina was analyzed in four states:
Fresh: This provided baseline analyses. Note that fresh spirulina - like most fresh produce - starts to deteriorate rapidly and needs to be consumed soon after harvest for maximum benefit.
Frozen: Freezing has been recently adopted for the conservation and distribution of spirulina biomass.Rapid freezing is used to avoid the risk that the increased water volume could damage the cell walls. The frozen spirulina exhibited the highest content of photosynthetic pigments, protein, and vitamin C compared to dried spirulina.
Heat Dried: Oven drying is the conventional method, but the loss of water and high temperature during drying can damage heat-sensitive molecules and reduce the number and quality of the compounds.
Freeze Dried: Freeze-drying is a technique that results in higher quality dried spirulina. Freeze-drying is a slow and expensive process and is almost never used for spirulina supplements.
Researchers analyzed the important photosynthetic pigments - bioactive molecules that provide powerful antioxidant benefits.
Phycocyanins and carotene are important active contributors to the health beneﬁts of spirulina products. These molecules have excellent antioxidant, anti-cancer, and anti-inﬂammatory properties.
Carotene, in addition to its photo-protectant role, contributes signiﬁcantly to the nutritional and therapeutic value of spirulina for its pro-vitamin A action and the anti-inﬂammatory and antioxidants eﬀects.
The low carotene content in conventionally dried spirulina could be due to the chemical deterioration of carotene during oven drying as this molecule is sensitive to oxygen.
The frozen sample exhibited the highest content of C-phycocyanin, phenols, and vitamin C compared to the fresh biomass.
The results show that frozen spirulina provides 2.7 times more phycocyanin, 6.8 times more chlorophyll, and 3.7 times more carotenoids than conventional dried spirulina sold as a supplement.
The researchers also measured total protein and Vitamin C levels.
The results show that frozen spirulina provides 2.3 times more protein and 8.9 times more vitamin C than conventional dried spirulina sold as a supplement.
The results of this study show that spirulina has diﬀerent functional value depending on how it is processed and stored.
Drying can cause signiﬁcant loss of nutrients and functional properties.
Molecules - A peer-reviewed open access scientific journal - 2019
Curated by Spiruliving Institute
Spiruliving Institute is a not for profit dedicated to increasing awareness of the benefits of fresh (never dried) spirulina by curating independent research and making such research available to the public.