P11.7-M study on spirulina as health supplement already completed – DOST

Published May 30, 2021, 1:39 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has announced the industry-based research facility’s completion of the pilot-scale production of spirulina tablet and caplet as a health supplement.

Spirulina tablets (Photo from DOST VI)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the Applied Research and Innovation Laboratory (ARIL) has already completed the pilot-scale of producing spirulina tablet and caplet through the assistance of DOST Region VI.

He said the ARIL received funding support worth P11.7 million from DOST-Business Innovation through Science and Technology (BIST) Program to complete the project.

“Researchers at ARIL were able to produce 350mg tablets and 700mg caplets with quality comparable to imported products at Herbanext Laboratories in Bago City,” the DOST chief said in a report.

He noted that currently, Herbanext Laboratories Inc. is the only approved project of the BIST program.

The DOST’s BIST program aims to help private companies and industries in acquiring novel and strategic technologies, such as state-of-the-art equipment and machinery, technology licenses, and patent rights among others.

Spirulina production technology (Photo from DOST VI)

De la Peña said DOST VI is likewise extending assistance to the ARIL in “the development of a supply chain and a processing facility that will catalyze new high-value crops for aquaculture particularly in the Western Visayas region.”

He noted that the region has been traditionally a hub of progressive aquaculture technologies.

He said the ARIL is also studying other algal and seaweed species for development into health products.

The DOST VI said spirulina grows in both fresh and saltwater. It is a type of cyanobacteria, a family of single-celled microbes that are often referred to as blue-green algae.

“This organic and nutrient-rich dietary supplement contains around 60 percent protein, 24 percent carbohydrates, and eight percent fat,” the DOST VI said.

It noted that in recent years, Spirulina tablets have become a popular nutraceutical product for its many health benefits such as the ability to modulate immune function and exhibit anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of histamine by mast cells. “Also, some randomized controlled trials indicate anticancer, antiviral, and antiallergic effects,” it said.

It even cited that spirulina cultivation in space is also being seriously considered as dietary support in long-term missions to Mars.