Arthrospira is a genus of free-floating filamentous cyanobacteria characterized by cylindrical, multicellular trichomes in an open left-hand helix. There is a dietary supplement made from Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima, known as Spirulina. The maxima and platensis species were once classified in the genus Spirulina. There is now agreement that they are in fact Arthrospira; nevertheless, and somewhat confusingly, the older term Spirulina remains in use for historical reasons.
Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima occur naturally in tropical and subtropical lakes with high pH and high concentrations of carbonate and bicarbonate. Arthrospira platensis occurs in Africa, Asia and South America, whereas Arthrospira maxima is confined to Central America and Arthrospira pacifica is endemic to Hawaii Islands of America. Most cultivated spirulina is produced in open channel raceway ponds, with paddle-wheels used to agitate the water. The largest commercial producers of spirulina are located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Pakistan, Burma (a.k.a. Myanmar), Greece and Chile.
- Ciferri, O. (1983). "Spirulina, the edible microorganism". Microbiological reviews 47 (4): 551–578. PMC 283708. PMID 6420655.
- Vonshak, A. (ed.). Spirulina platensis (Arthrospira): Physiology, Cell-biology and Biotechnology. London: Taylor & Francis, 1997.
- Habib, M. Ahsan B.; Parvin, Mashuda; Huntington, Tim C.; Hasan, Mohammad R. (2008). "A Review on Culture, Production and Use of Spirulina as Food dor Humans and Feeds for Domestic Animals and Fish". Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations. Retrieved November 20, 2011.
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