Spirulina vs. Aphanizomenon flos-aqua.
The Safety of Raw Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica ®

Blue-green algae and microcystin toxins.

Spirulina Pacifica LogoSpirulina Pacifica tablets
Why we no longer say certified organic spirulina.
Our cold processed, all natural, raw spirulina is grown pesticide and herbicide free, and does not contain any genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

AARP Magazine, the world's highest circulation magazine produced by the American Association of Retired People, rates Spirulina as "the #1 food that can add years to your life" in the Sept/Oct 2006 issue. If you are going to follow AARP's advise, why not choose the best?

Blue-green algae and microcystin toxins:

The microalgae industry has developed to its current status by providing a safe and nutritious product for the human supplement market as well as the animal and aquaculture feed markets. The vast majority of this microalgae biomass is produced from Spirulina, Chlorella, and Aphanizomenon flos-aqua.

Concern over the discovery of toxic algae blooms in lake harvested alga underscore vital differences between cultured Spirulina and Chlorella and species of wild lake-grown algae.


Scientists believe there are over 30,000 species of microscopic algae. The immense range of species includes nutritious varieties like Spirulina and Chlorella, as well as potentially dangerous species such as the Microcystins strains identified in some lakes. In this way, microalgae are similar to mushrooms. Common cultured table mushrooms are absolutely safe and healthful while others, such as toadstools, can be poisonous. The same situation occurs in the bacterial group. The lactobacilli are essential for good digestion while others, such as Salmonella can cause disease.

Cultured spirulina can be grown free of contaminating algae for several reasons. The growing conditions for spirulina are unique as it is cultivated and thrives in very alkaline conditions. Competitor algae and other contaminants simply cannot compete and grow under these harsh conditions. Ponds are monitored and analyzed every day and carefully controlled to maintain a balanced chemistry. Samples are carefully scrutinized on a daily basis via microscopic testing to assure purity and cleanliness. Water runoff from outside sources cannot enter the raised raceways that cultivate spirulina and chlorella. Thus, there is no possibility for agricultural waste such as pesticides and herbicides to contaminate the cultures. Finally, as a precautionary measure, lots are periodically screened for cyanotoxins; none have been detected in Nutrex Hawaiian spirulina cultures.

Cyanotoxins have long been recognized as a water-based disease that causes animal illness and death. The biotoxins, microcystin and nodularin, have been implicated in causing irreversible hepatotoxicity and tumor promoting reactions in laboratory rats. Evidence in China suggests a correlation between microcystins in drinking water and primary liver cancer. Australia, Canada, and Great Britain are moving to establish maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) of microcystins in drinking water, which are in parts per billion. In Australia a limit of 1 ppb (1mg/liter) has been proposed.
The June 1994 Criteria Document on Microcystin-LR for Canadian drinking water recommends a MAC of 0.5 ppb (0.5 mg/liter) for microcystin-LR and 1 ppb (1.0mg/liter) for total microcystins. An even lower level of 0.01 ppb (0.01 mg/liter) has been proposed for Chinese waters based on research and levels of microcystins found in drinking local water.
Because of the risk for cancer and liver damage, further research is needed to elucidate the dose dependent effects of microcystins. Excellent reviews of cyanotoxins, microcystins, and nodularins have been published recently (Carmichael; 1992, 1994, 1997).

Despite the controlled conditions, precautions, quality control, and proven safety of spirulina and chlorella, consumers often confuse or associate spirulina and chlorella with wild lake harvested aphanizomenon flos-aqua which is vulnerable to toxic microcystin and nodularin contamination. As a result of these concerns, Cyanotech Corporation and other international spirulina and chlorella manufacturers formed a consortium in 1995 to jointly fund a phytotoxin research project. This research was performed in the laboratory of Dr. Wayne Carmichael (Wright State University) and resulted in a very sensitive assay for microcystin and nodularin toxins in algae products. The project generated a technical booklet for the microalgae industry entitled “Detection of microcystins and nodularins using an enzyme linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) and a protein phosphatase inhibition assay (PPIA)”. The PP2A inhibition assay is 1000 times more sensitive than the HPLC or mouse bioassay (0.05 ng/ml) and the ELISA assay method for the detection of microcystin and nodularin is sensitive to 0.002 ng/ml.

Cyanotech Corporation has been a producer of spirulina platensis and other microalgae products since 1984 in accordance with Good Manufacturing Practice. The Hawaiian production facility has ISO 9002 certification, which requires internationally recognized quality assurance procedures. Quality control is assured on-site by technicians who conduct chemical and microbiological assays to guarantee the purity of the ponds and final product. Consumer safety of our product is of utmost priority. Spirulina received GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the FDA in 1981, chlorella also has that same classification. Whereas Aphanizomenon flos-aqua has never been granted this status. Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica cultivated under carefully controlled conditions has never contained cyanotoxin contamination.

References
Carmichael, W.W. 1992. Cyanobacterial secondary metabolites-the cyanotoxins. J. Appl. Bacterial. 72:445-459.
Carmichael, W.W. 1994. The toxins of Cyanobacteria. Sci Am. Jan Vol. 270:78-86.
Carmichael, W.W. 1997. The Cyanotoxins. In, Advances in Botanical Research Vol. 27: 211- 255. Academic Press Ltd.
“Toxin forces halt of algae harvest in S. Oregon lakes”. The Oregonian (AP), September 6, 1996.
Spirulina Pacifica Technical Bulletin #058 Revision Date: May 10, 1999
Contact: Dr. R. Todd Lorenz


Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica
is a select strain of cold processed raw spirulina platensis developed over many years of continuous cultivation in Hawaii. Strain development and perfection started in 1984. The cultures in Hawaii represent the oldest continuously cultivated and harvested spirulina in the world.
Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica
has been extensively analyzed by molecular biologists at the University of Hawaii who identified unique enzymes not previously found in other strains of spirulina platensis.

A nutrient-rich dietary supplement, Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica's unique strain of cold processed raw spirulina is a highly absorbable source of protein, natural beta carotene, mixed carotenoids and other phytonutrients, B vitamins, gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and essential amino acids.

Spirulina Pacifica cultivation ponds


Some of the nutrients in raw spirulina pacifica, such as phycocyanin, superoxide dismutase, glycolipids, sulfolipids, various carotenoids, RNA, and DNA, are just beginning to receive serious scientific attention, while others have yet to be researched. We still know relatively little about the trace elements and the more than 2000 enzymes in raw spirulina. One thing is certain however Nutrex cold processed raw Hawaiian spirulina is a truly rich super whole food.


Hawaiian spirulina pacifica
is the only cultured microalgae grown with ultra pure deep ocean water as a source of minerals and trace elements. The deep ocean water is pumped up from a depth of 2000 feet, supplying magnesium, calcium, and every trace element. This unique resource is also used in our cold processed raw spirulina drying system.

Raw Nutrex Hawaiian Spirulina Pacifica uses a patented Ocean Chill Drying process to eliminate the oxidation of carotenoids and fatty acids that occurs in standard dryers.


Spirulina Pacifica chill dry process


The process employs a closed drying system that is kept at low oxygen concentrations by flushing with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The process relies on very cold ocean water drawn from 2,000-foot depths to provide dehumidification and actually dries microalgae products in less than six seconds.
This process makes Hawaiian spirulina the only cold processed raw spirulina in the U.S.A..

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