Rich in protein, chlorella algae is widely cultivated in man-made freshwater ponds, as a food source. Studies are going on to find the health benefits and potential uses of this algae.
Chlorella is a spherical-shaped, unicellular algae, that has gained tremendous importance in the last few decades. Algae are a huge resource in terms of producing food, fuel, and fertilizer. Chlorella is a promising green algae known for its high protein content. High quality algae are used for human consumption, whereas those of lower grade are fed to farm animals.
Chlorella Algae: Information
The name itself suggests that it is a type of green algae. The high chlorophyll content makes it look bright green. In fact, it contains the highest percentage of chlorophyll pigment in the plant kingdom.
It is a eukaryotic and advanced algal form. As per taxonomical classification, this algae belongs to the class Trebouxiophyceae of the division Chlorophyta. Categorized under the order Chlorellales, the family of chlorella is Chlorellaceae. The genus name is Chlorella and species name varies according to strain.
Growth in Aquarium
Uncontrolled growth of this algae is often noticed in nutrient-rich aquarium water. With time, it results in opaque or greenish water, which is not good for the fish and other aquarium inhabitants. Reducing the nitrate and phosphate content in the fish tank may help control excess growth of this green algae. Hence, in order to prevent future problems, one should monitor the water chemistry on a regular basis.
With the potential prospect of using this algae as a food source, it is cultivated on a large scale in artificial freshwater ponds. The required growth conditions are maintained properly, which helps in getting high yield. The growth rate of this algae in a well-maintained pond is very high. It is observed that it increases fourfold in biomass after every 24 hours.
The two most popular species of this algae used in formulation of nutritional supplements are, Chlorella vulgaris and Chlorella pyrenoidosa. The harvested algae is processed in several steps, prior to formulation of its powder, tablets, and other products. After taking certain efforts to meet the set food standards, its supplements are released in the market.
Besides proteins and amino acids, it provides an adequate amount of calories, beta carotene, fats, and vitamins. The health benefits of this green algae are body detoxification, quick healing, low cholesterol level, and reduction in high blood pressure. Consumption of these supplements on a regular basis helps promote the multiplication of probiotic bacteria present in the body. It is also claimed to help lose weight, promote immune system, and fight cancer.
Although it is appreciated for its nutrients and health benefits, it is also associated with certain adverse effects. People who are prone to food allergies complain of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach problems after ingesting its products. Other probable side effects are skin conditions and irregular heart rate. Thus, children and pregnant women should take its supplements only under medical supervision.
The notable benefits of this algae are attributed to rich protein content, other nutraceutical properties, and high growth rate. Many people are not clear about the differences between chlorella and spirulina. No doubt, both are rich sources of protein and are used as superfoods. But, there are a lot of differences between these two algal strains, starting from taxonomy to nutritional value. In today’s date, where there is an increased need of food and nutritional supplements, this algae is a reliable source which can suffice this ever-increasing demand.
Disclaimer: This NutriNeat article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.