Spirulina tablets | Wikimedia Commons
The superfood Spirulina – a green microalga rich in protein, iron, vitamins, and antioxidants – is set to become more affordable thanks to a start-up team from Université Paris-Saclay.
It is a type of fresh water algae, which is formed into a powder creating a blueish-green super powder that, should be incorporated in everyone’s daily diet. There are many health benefits that include being packed with essential protein, amino acids, vitamins and minerals with a fairly neutral taste.
The start-up, Spiris, is working to increase the production of this food. Classified as one of the most nutritional foods on the planet by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, spirulina has been proven to fight malnutrition and prevent cardiovascular disease. It’s often added to smoothies as a nutritional boost, but it’s an expensive supplement.
Technology developed by the team reduces production costs by decreasing water consumption, and land space needed, to produce a quality microalgae.
“Today, spirulina is mainly produced in the US or China,” says Bernard Sacy, co-founder of Spiris. “European production is either on a small scale or highly technological. Combined with imports, this maintains a high price. With our innovative technology, we can provide affordable microalgae – not just a product for the elite.”
Spiris was founded by Bernard and Vincent Nicolas, a biotech engineer from AgroParisTech, a member of Université Paris-Saclay. Having built successful prototypes, they are now working with the university and raising funds to build a large-scale operation to achieve commercial proof of concept.