Spirulina is cyanobacteria (or algae) that has been gaining popularity for its purported "superfood" properties. For the health-conscious reader, spirulina may be an attractive dietary supplement worth investigating.
Spirulina was originally found and utilized by Aztecs in the 16th century, and was later rediscovered in Lake Texcoco by French researchers. It is high in protein, and contains many important nutrients, such as vitamin B-12 and iron. Unlike some other dietary supplements, fresh spirulina is odorless and nearly tasteless, making it a great addition to almost any food. In a recent SE3D experiment, spirulina was mixed with chocolate to create a chocolate print that nearly indistinguishable from a normal print in terms of taste and texture.
Recently, Robert Henrikson opened the first spirulina farm in Northern California. Spirulina can be cultivated locally in many temperate climates in outdoor ponds, or simply harvested from lakes. Fresh water is not required, as brackish and alkaline water will work as well. Spirulina does not require fertile land. As the world faces growing environmental problems such as water and land shortages, spirulina represents an excellent eco-friendly solution that is also accessible and affordable.
Spirulina being made into shapes is not an abstract idea. You can find spirulina in tablet or powder form in many stores. In terms of bioprinting, the technology is rapidly growing to the point where one day printing food may be a viable option.