1/4 Spirulina 101: The Intro

What is Spirulina?

These tiny things are what all the hype is about

A Quick History Lesson

Today, when algae is mentioned in regards to food, it’s often praised as some sort of “future food”; something new, never been seen before. Yet, this is far from the truth.

Kanembu women make spirulina in to dihé, a dried cake, to sell at the market I Twitter
A NASA lab’s collection of spirulina I SF Chronicle
Women in Chad dry out their spirulina harvest I CNN

Why Spirulina?

Once people get past the whole eating algae thing, there are pretty much only two types that get talked about: spirulina and chlorella.

Epic showdown 🏆


While spirulina is a spiral-shaped, prokaryotic bacteria, chlorella is spherically shaped and eukaryotic. Chlorella can get up to 100 times larger than spirulina .Chlorella is single-celled and so is spirulina if you look at it closely, but because spirulina cells stick to each other they also function as one whole multicellular, photosynthesizing cyanobacterium.


Spirulina prefers low-alkaline conditions and can grow in fresh, brackish, or salt water. It requires an abundance of sunshine and moderate temperatures. Chlorella on the other hand prefers growing in freshwater occupied by other organisms. This makes it more challenging to harvest than spirulina.

Special Care

Spirulina doesn’t have the hard, indigestible, cellulose rich cell wall that chlorella has, making processing cheaper. Surprisingly, the most highly regarded method of cracking chlorella’s cell wall is gently washing it with sound waves! Spirulina’s digestibility means you don’t need to pay extra for lullaby treatment ;)


Nutrition wise, they’re hard to compare since each has different strengths.

Carbon Sequestering Machine

It seems like every other company is now “sustainable” because they plant trees. Here’s the thing. Trees are great, but they need a lot of space and a lot of time.

Is tree planting oversold? I The Conversation
Company Hypergiant’s fridge sized carbon sequester I Hypergiant



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Klara Zietlow

Klara Zietlow


15 year passionate about the future of food and the environment. Likes animals too :)