Spirulina is unique functional ingredient for various foods

Spirulina is source of antioxidants and vitamins (E, proA, all B group, but B12), minerals, like Fe and Ca, and all essential aminoacids. Dried spirulina contian a lot of protein, up to 70 %, but fresh spirulina contain more antioxidants. Antioxidants are sensitive to drying with hot air and therefore most of them are lost during drying.

Spirulina is a unique TASTELESS functional ingredient. Some of properties found in various authors studies:

  • natural fermentation booster for milk and fermented soy beverages
  • masking sour and bitter aftertaste
  • as an antimicrobial agent against drug-resistant food-borne bacterial pathogens in juices, purees, smoothies etc.
  • deep green colorant
  • anti-aging food ingredient
  • soft cheese ingredient to improve protein, water, fat, ß carotene content, and texture
  • ice cream ingredient to improve protein, total solids, fat and total sugar content, overrun, melting point, and sensory properties
  • enhancing growth and survival rate of lactic acid bacteria present in yogurt
  • sports drink ingredient to reduce lactic acid and reduce muscle inflammation after high-intensity training

Read more about these functions and details in articles below.

What is fresh spirulina?

Fresh spirulina ( (microalgae A.platensis) looks like deep green thick paste (see the photo). Spirulina is a microalgae, we harvest it by filtering and then it looks like a paste. The paste consists of tiny (less than 1/10 mm) particles that do not dissolve in water.

Fresh spirulina has virtually no taste and smell. The unpleasant smell and taste for spirulina POWDER rise during spirulina drying in hot air. Fresh spirulina has up to 5x higher antioxidant level than dried spirulina.

Fresh spirulina has short shelf life till cells broke and beautiful blue-violet pigmen called phycocyanin comes out – just few hours in room temperature and ~ 48h in a fridge. However it is still safe to use. Microbial contamination starts only after the specific bad smell has appeared.

Spirulina: natural and tasteless antimicrobial additive

The first most amazing property that food producers will notice adding spirulina (microalgae A.platensis) is shelf life increase due to antibacterial properties of spirulina. Also to drug-resistant bacteria! Consumers demand natural, functional, high quality and safe products. Spirulina is natural and fuctional ingredient. Ususally 0.5-2% additive already gives noticable changes. Organoleptic properties of dried spirulina porwder limits it use to max 4% of recipe, but fresh spirulina has neutral taste, so there are no organoleptic limits. You are free to create new, innovative repices with high nutrition.

Antimicrobial activity  Spirulina against food-borne bacterial pathogens

Spirulina contain high quantity of polyphenols exhibiting broad spectrum antimicrobial effects against drug-resistant food-borne bacterial pathogen.  Secondary metabolites of spirulina are active against both gram-positive  (Staphylococcus aureus) and gram-negative (E.coli) pathogens. Work results suggests that phenolic compounds from Spirulina provide a natural and sustainable source of food preservatives.

Full article (Alshuniaber 2021)

Inhibits Growth of Fungi and Bacteria in Unpasteurised Apple Juice

A. platensis (spirulina) or its fractions were added to the sterilised apple juice inoculated with Aureobasidium pullulans LW14 and stored at 4 °C for 96 h. When A. platensis biomass was added to the sterilised apple juice (1.15% w/v), it effectively inhibited growth of a fungi A. pullulans LW14 and the metabolism of all analysed sugars (glucose, sucrose and fructose). Protein fraction added to the sterilised apple juice contributed significantly to mycostatic properties of A. platensis

Full article (Wajda 2020)

Spirulina against Pseudomonas and  Listeria

A. platensis extract (0.1%, 0.15%, 0.2%, 0.25%, 0.3% and 0.5% v/v) were tested on Pseudomonas fluorescens and Serratia liquefaciens, two species commonly involved in food spoilage, and Listeria innocua, as representative of the human food borne pathogenic species Listeria monocytogenes. The results confirmed the antimicrobial potential of A. platensis extract

(Bancalari 2020)


Natural fermentation booster

Spirulina is a great fermentation booster. Spirulina increase activity and viability of ferments in cheese, kefir, youghurt in and descrese growth of pathogens in milk and plant-based products. The request for dairy-free alternatives is rapidly increasing because of the rising incidence of lactose intolerance and veganism. Several studies on lactic acid bacteria (LAB) showed their: (i) capacity to resist intact to the transit through the gastric tract, (ii) ability to colonize the host gut, and (iii) safety and potential health benefits such as cholesterol reduction (; ).

Yoghurt enriched by Spirulina

The addition of Spirulina platensis into yoghurt can increase the quality of yoghurt especially on nutritional and functional properties of the product.  Yoghurt with different concentration of
S. platensis
(0.5%; 0.75%; 1%; 2% and 3%) was tested. The best
acceptance of panelists (hedonic test included appearance, flavor, taste and consistency) was for  1%  of S. platensis addition. Addition of S. platensis powder on yoghurt has revealed in increasing number and accelerate growth of lactic acid bacteria. This is explained that spirulina is a nutrient source for lactic acid bacteria.

Full article (Agustini 2017)

Spirulina role in vegan kefir

Increasing Spirulina platensis concentration increased the counts of lactobacilli and lactococci and the total phenolic content of kefir, whereas pH values of kefir samples decreased. An increase in the Spirulina platensis amount was correlated with lower L*, a*, and b* values than control samples. Spirulina powder was added in concentration of 0.25% and 0.50%. Titratable acidity, pH, water holding capacity, and microbiological counts were measured in kefir samples for 21 days. According to the results, Spirulina platensis can be considered as a promising functional food component to improve the prebiotic potential and bioactive quality of foods.

Atik 2021

Fermentation Booster for Milk and Soy Fermented Beverages

The aim of this work was to evaluate the potential boosting effect of two different concentrations (0.25% and 0.50% w/v) of A. platensis on the fermentation capability of several starter lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains, 1 probiotic and 4 commercial mix culture.
In tryptic soy broth (TSB), the A. platensis boosting effect was significantly higher if compared to yeast extract for all the starter LAB strains
except for Lb. casei. While the most evident boosting effect in reconstituted skim milk powder (SSM) was found for S. thermophilus and Lb. casei. LAB growth was promoted by A. platensis. It was demonstrated that the booster effect took place, but it was variable and dependent not only on the mix culture used, but also on the substrate and A. platensis concentration. Also, rheological and color modifications were found to be dependent on these factors.

However authors did not reach as high improvements as in other studies probably due to auctoclaving spirulina before use (due to possible microbial contamination) that degraded pigmants noticably.

Full text (Martelli 2020)

Spirulina as substrate for lactic acid fermentation in lactose-free (plant based) functional beverages

Lactic acid fermentation can be considered a valuable technology to enhance safety, shelf life, sensory and nutritional properties of vegetables and fruits. This study investigated the use of A. platensis F&M-C256 biomass in a vegetal soybean drink or in water, as substrate for lactic acid fermentation by the probiotic bacterium L. plantarum ATCC 8014 ( LAB8014), evaluating the fermented products in terms of bacteria content  Lactic acid concentration reached similar values (about 1.7 g L-1) in the two broths - soybean drink and water, while acetic acid concentration was significantly higher when spirulina was added (7.7 and 4.1 g L-1, respectively.  Fermentation by L. plantarum is an appropriate technology to obtain A. platensis-based lactose-free beverages.

Full text (Nicolai 2020)