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Blue Eco Farm : Panoramic view to Katam aka Baramar lake group of Ounianga kebir lakes

Spirulina, a seaweed ?

The spirulina is a microscopic, spiral blue-green alga about 100 µm long; its scientific name is Arthrospira Platensis.

 

Belonging to the Cyanobacteria family - a big group of living things that appeared 3.4 billion years ago at the origin of the atmosphere on earth – this blue-green alga was the first living matter able to undergo photosynthesis and provide an evolutionary bridge between bacteria and green plants.

 

In nature, one finds spirulina in alkaline, brackish mineral-rich waters in hot climates. In general, one is likely to find spirulina in places where one finds flamingos. 

Spirulina-Benefits
flamants roses

A rediscovered ancestral food 

Spirulina has nourished the Aztecs and the Mayas in America for centuries. In these memoirs, the Spanish conquistador Cortes (16th century) mentioned American Indians consuming spirulina. 

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 In Chad, Africa, people from the Kanem Empire traditionally consumed spirulina. A Belgium psychologist in the 1940s, Pierre Dongeard, mentioned a green cake called “dihe,” made and eaten by the tribe living around Chad Lake, where spirulina was abundant. Max-Yves & Monique Brandily filmed the first documentary on spirulina there. 

 

In the 60s, the Belgian biologist Jean Leonard explored the Sahara in Africa and gave spirulina samples to Pierre Compere, who later discovered the Platensis species and began to study the nutritional values of spirulina. Both Leonard and Compere were surprised to see that the people around the lake enjoyed much better health than those in the rest of the Sahel region, where populations suffered from malnutrition. The spirulina venture had begun. 

Then, in the 70s, an American, Dr. Ripley Fox, devoted his whole life to researching the power of spirulina in fighting malnutrition. His work led to the development of the first spirulina farms worldwide. In 1974, the United Nations at the World Health Conference declared Spirulina "the best food for the future.” During the same period, the first industrial spirulina culture in the United States grew with Henri Durant-Chastel of Sosa Texcoco at the helm. Other spirulina pioneers Jacques Falquet (Antenna Foundation), Claude Villars, Jean-Paul Jourdan started several small spirulina farms in their humanitarian projects, thus pushing forward the development of spirulina all over the world. 

  

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The story does not end here. At a time when all countries are searching for food-sustainability solutions and wondering how to feed growing populations, spirulina can be part of the solution.  The culture of spirulina does not need a lot of water, so it is very environmentally friendly. 

 

More and more people facing pollution, stress, and the difficulty of getting fresh and good-quality foods are consuming spirulina to give them much-needed strength and vitality! Spirulina is, indeed, a true gift of nature! 

If you want to know more about Spirulina, some books to read are: 

La spiruline – Un super aliment : Dr Jean Dupire – Ed. Guy Trédaniel 2011, 2016 

Spirulina: Production & Potential. Front Cover. Ripley D. Fox. Edisud, 1996 

Spiruline l’algue bleue de santé et de prévention : Dr Jean-Louis Vidalo – Ed. Dauphin 2020 

Les incroyables vertus de la spiruline – Un aliment d’exception : G. Laval-Legrain et B. Legrain – Ed. Jouvence 2013, 2016 

Ancestral food
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