An open pond Spirulina farm
is a form of aquaculture in-
volving the farming of species of algae.
The majority of algae that are intentionally
cultivated fall into the category of microalgae
(also referred to as phytoplankton, micro-
phytes, or planktonic algae). Macroalgae,
commonly known as seaweed, also have
many commercial and industrial uses, but
due to their size and the specific require-
ments of the environment in which they need
to grow, they do not lend themselves as read-
ily to cultivation.
Some of the commercial and industrial
purposes of algae cultivation are for produc-
tion of bioplastics, dyes and colorants, feed-
stock, pharmaceuticals, pollution control, al-
gae fuel and for possible future food sources.
Uses of algae
Several species of algae are raised for food.
Purple laver (Porphyra) is perhaps the
most widely domesticated marine algea. In
Asia it is used to produce nori (Japan) or gim
(Korea). In Wales, it is used in laverbread, a
traditional food, and in Ireland it is collected
and made into a jelly by stewing or boiling.
Preparation also can involve frying or heating
the fronds with a little water and beating
with a fork to produce a pinkish jelly. It is
also harvested along western coast of North
America, and in Hawaii and New Zealand.
Dulse is one of many edible algae.
Dulse (Palmaria palmata) is a red species
sold in Ireland and Atlantic Canada. It is
eaten raw, fresh, dried, or cooked like
Spirulina is a blue-green microalgae with
a long history as a food source in East Africa
and pre-colonial Mexico. As it is high in pro-
tein and other nutrients it is currently used
as a food supplement and as a treatment for
Chlorella, another popular microalgae, has
similar nutrition to spirulina. Chlorella is very
popular in Japan. It is also used as a nutri-
tional supplement by companies which makes
the unsubstantiated claims that it can in-
crease growth in animals and children and
reduce mercury levels (supposedly by chela-
tion of the