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    Lyce Paul Moreau Bras Panon Reunion Island

    Spirulina, an asset for sustainabledevelopment

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    Contents

    Introduction..........................................................................................................................................3

    I Spirulina, a photosynthetic bacterium................................................................................................3

    a) Arthrospira platensis is a bacterium. ..................................................................3b) Spirulina carries out photosynthesis...................................................................4

    c) Spirulina is edible and can be cultivated.............................................................4

    II Spirulina in human nutrition.............................................................................................................4

    a) The nutrients Spirulina brings.............................................................................4

    b) Malnutrition........................................................................................................5

    c) Spirulina brings elements that can help fighting against malnutrition................5

    d) The use of Spirulina in the fight against malnutrition........................................5

    e) The use of Spirulina in developed countries.......................................................6III The culture of Spirulina...................................................................................................................6

    a) Mr Thbaudin's future Spirulina farm in Reunion island....................................6

    b) Different kinds of farms......................................................................................7

    c) An expanding market..........................................................................................7

    IV Providing nutrients to an organic production of Spirulina..............................................................8

    a) The purpose of our study.....................................................................................8

    b) Setting up our culture..........................................................................................8c) Our final protocol................................................................................................9

    d) Results.................................................................................................................9

    e) Discussion.........................................................................................................10

    f) Perspectives.......................................................................................................11

    Conclusion..........................................................................................................................................11

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    Introduction

    We are Anas, Aurlie, Flora, Nelcie and Vairea. we are sixth form students in a high school called

    lyce Paul Moreau. It's located in Bras Panon, East of Reunion Island.

    One of our schoolmates has a disease that makes her often feel tired. A friend of her mother's

    advised her to use Spirulina tablets againts this tiredness. She tried these tablets and felt relieved.

    We were interested by an advertisement she showed us. This document stated that Spirulina was a

    cyanobacterium. That's why we talked about that to our biology teacher, Mr Grondin.

    Our teacher had met Mr Thbaudin. Mr Thbaudin would like to grow organic Spirulina in Reunion

    Island.

    We also learnt that Spirulina could be used as a cure against malnutrition.

    Thanks to all this information, we decided to study Spirulina for the Focus Comenius project:

    Spirulina can contribute to sustainable development, either in developed or in developing countries.

    Sustainable development is a development that "meets the needs of the present without

    compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", as the BruntlandReport reads.

    The goal of this document is to present some information we could gather about this topic.

    It also presents an experimental study that we carried out: we tried to find a nitrogen source for

    Spirulina that doesn't come from the chemical industry.

    I deed M Thb di d e 't e i e it e e f hi S i li d e f

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    Several cells align in small filaments called trichomes. These filaments may have different

    shapes: coiled (it's the case for the Lonar strain that Mr Thbaudin gave us, and that we used in

    our study) or curly (like the Paracas strain that Mr Thbaudin also grows).

    External elements, like the beaks of flamingoes, may break the trichomes and participate in the

    dissemination of Spirulina: Spirulina is unicellular.

    Spirulina can be found naturally in lakes, for example in Tchad or in South America.

    b) Spirulina carries out photosynthesis

    Spirulina is blue-green. That's why, in the past, it was considered as a blue alga . In fact, it is a

    cyanobacterium, that is a bacterium that carries out the same photosynthesis as plants. Spirulina

    synthesises organic matter from mineral elements (water, mineral ions) and light energy. During thisprocess, it produces molecular oxygen O2 and consumes carbon dioxide CO2.

    c) Spirulina is edible and can be cultivated

    Even if it is not an alga, Spirulina is often refered to as a micro-alga. It has been consumed for very

    long: Aztecs ate it 7000 years ago. It's also a traditional food, called Dihe, in some regions of Tchad.

    The cell wall of Spirulina is chemically different from the cell wall of plant cells. Therefore,

    humans can digest it far more easily.

    II Spirulina in human nutrition

    a) The nutrients Spirulina brings

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    b) Malnutrition

    Malnutrition is an inadequate diet which leads to the insufficient, excessive or imbalanced

    consumption of nutrients . It also leads to medical conditions. Developing countries are the ones

    which are the most affected. Malnutrition comes from poverty, inappropriate agriculture or nutritio-

    nal ignorance. In poor countries, malnutrition may delay growth in children, increase mortality rate

    and weaken immune systems.

    c) Spirulina brings elements that can help fighting against malnutrition

    Spirulina is protein-rich. It brings all the essential amino-acids that humans have to find in their

    diets. A lack of these nutrients may lead to medical conditions. In some of them, the sufferer's blood

    cannot retain its water. This water then flows into the sufferer's body. That's why some children

    suffering from malnutrition have a swollen belly.

    d) The use of Spirulina in the fight against malnutrition

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    (a substance that has no pharmaceutical or nutritional effect) instead.

    At the end of the experiment, 68% of the children of the first group had gained weight, whereas in

    the other group, 43% gained weight, 37% did not change, and 20% lost weight.

    Even if they do not remove all the uncertainties, these results are encouraging.

    e) The use of Spirulina in developed countries

    Molecules contained in Spirulina, and the testimonies of users result in a commercial success of

    Spirulina in developed countries.

    It's the case for athletes like long-distance runners, who use it because Spirulina has a reputation for

    improving their performance.

    One of our teachers practices capoeira at a high level. He told us that many of the athletes practicing

    this sport use Spirulina as a diet supplement, for instance when their training leads to a strongincrease of their muscular mass. In such conditions, they need the nutrients brought by Spirulina.

    Spirulina is also appreciated as a diet supplement that has no side-effect.

    Large companies use this reputation to advertise around Spirulina.

    The use of Spirulina in human diet has a potential for sustainable development in which a good

    health of the population is important.

    III The culture of Spirulina

    a) Mr Thbaudin's future Spirulina farm in Reunion island

    Mr Thbaudin has been setting up a Spirulina far for many years in St Leu, Reunion island. He has

    installed pilot ponds in his courtyard.

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    Mr Thbaudin uses a Secchi disk to monitor his production.

    M.Thbaudin monitors his production with a Secchi disk. He measures the depth at which the white

    disk canot be seen. The deeper it is, the more concentrated the culture.

    When the culture is concentrated enough, Mr Thbaudin harvests the Spirulina.

    He filters the culture using a piece of fabric. He dries the filtrate in the solar dryer. Before drying, he

    gives the Spirulina paste a shape of spaghettis by means of a syringe.

    Commercial production has not yet begun. Mr Thbaudin is choosing the final location of his farm.

    Mr Thbaudin's growth medium is compatible with the standards of organic agriculture. 2 thirds of

    his production will be sold, and the remaining third will be used for humanitarian purposes.

    b) Different kinds of farms

    There are differeny kinds of Spirulina farms. There are, for instance:

    - Small farms which grow Spirulina in small ponds. They can be fou