Chlorella (Chlorella vulgaris) is a fresh water, single-celled algae that grows in fresh water. Chlorella contains the highest amount of chlorophyll of any known plant. Chlorella emerged over 2 billion years ago, and was the first form of a plant with a well-defined nucleus.

Because Chlorella is a microscopic organism, it was not discovered until the late 19th century, deriving its name from the Greek, “chloros” meaning green and “ella” meaning small.

The Benefits of Chlorella’s Fast Growth Rate

Chlorella’s has a very fast growth rate under favorable culture conditions, whether in phototrophic conditions (using light) or mixotrophic conditions (using both light and organic carbon) conditions. This makes it an excellent candidate for sustainable food production due to its nutritional content and efficiency in biomass generation.

Chlorella Growth Rate Under Various Conditions

Below we will explore the effects of these varying conditions on the growth rate of Chlorella:

Phototrophic Conditions: Chlorella is a type of green algae that can undergo photosynthesis, a process where it uses light to convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates and oxygen. In phototrophic conditions, Chlorella utilizes light as its primary energy source for growth. This means that when provided with adequate light, nutrients, and favorable environmental conditions, Chlorella can grow rapidly through the process of photosynthesis.

Mixotrophic Conditions: Chlorella also has the ability to grow in mixotrophic conditions. In mixotrophy, an organism can use both organic carbon (like sugars) and light to produce energy and grow. This flexibility allows Chlorella to adapt to various nutrient conditions, making it versatile in different environments.

Favorable Culture Conditions for Chlorella Growth

Nutrient Availability: Chlorella requires essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and micronutrients for growth. When these nutrients are available in sufficient quantities, it promotes the rapid multiplication of Chlorella cells.

Light Exposure: Adequate exposure to light is crucial for Chlorella’s photosynthetic activity. Light acts as the energy source for Chlorella to convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds.

Temperature and pH: Chlorella thrives in specific temperature and pH ranges. Optimal conditions for growth typically fall within a certain temperature range, and maintaining the appropriate pH level in the culture medium is essential for its metabolic processes.

Chlorella as a Food Source

Due to its rapid growth rate, Chlorella is considered a valuable food source.

The high growth rate allows for efficient biomass production, meaning a large quantity of Chlorella biomass can be generated in a relatively short period.

Chlorella is rich in nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids (see detailed list below). This makes it a nutritious food source with potential health benefits.

The ability to cultivate Chlorella in controlled environments, such as bioreactors or open ponds, has led to its use as a sustainable and nutrient-dense food supplement.

Chlorella Active ingredients

Chlorella is a nutrient-dense superfood that contains 60% protein, 18 amino acids (including all the essential amino acids), and various vitamins and minerals. One of its unique properties is a phytonutrient called CGF.

Chlorella provides all of the dietary-essential amino acids in excellent ratios. It is also a reliable source of essential fatty acids that are required for many important biochemical functions, including hormone balance.

Chlorella also contains high levels of; chlorophyll, beta-carotene and RNA/DNA. More than 20 vitamins and minerals are found in Chlorella, including ironcalciumpotassiummagnesium, phosphorous, pro-vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7 (Biotin), B9 (Folic Acid), B12, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and inositol.

Cultivation of Chlorella

Although the algae grow naturally in fresh water, Chlorella destined for human consumption is generally cultivated outdoors in mineral-rich freshwater ponds under direct sunlight.

The entire process from strain maintenance in the laboratory to harvesting of the final product is monitored by microbiologists to ensure optimal nutrient value and product purity. It is often combined with other natural green foods such as; Spirulina, Wheatgrass, barley greens and sometimes Seaweed.

Chlorella Health Benefits

Below we will explore some of the health benefits of Chlorella in more detail:

Chlorella Boosts the Immune System

Chlorella is thought to boost the immune system and help fight infection. It has been shown to increase the good bacteria in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, which helps to treat ulcers, colitis, diverticulosis and Crohn’s disease. It is also used to treat constipation, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Chlorella has been used to treat cancer and also help protect the body from the effects of cancer radiation treatment.

Chlorella Used as a Health Supplement Across Asia

The algae, which is a popular food supplement in Asia and has been used as energy-producing food for centuries, is often used to prevent or curb the spread of cancer, enhance immunity, promote a good balance of bacteria in the gut, and lower blood cholesterol.

In Japan, it is traditionally used as a treatment for duodenal ulcers, gastritis, hypertension, diabetes, hypoglycemia, asthma, and constipation. More recently, it is has been touted as an effective therapy for elevated cholesterol levels, a prophylactic to ward of infections and, and adjunct treatment for cancer.

Chlorella for Cancer Radiation Treatment

Chlorella is now used as an adjunct supplement during radiation treatment for cancer. Its abundance of chlorophyll is known to protect the body against ultraviolet radiation.

Chlorella Research

Chlorella has been the focus of many medical and scientific research projects. Based on very early research, it appears that Chlorella may play a role in fibromyalgia, hypertension, or ulcerative colitis and has an effect on the immune system. More studies are needed to confirm initial findings.

Research conducted in Japan suggests that Chlorella may have anti-tumour activity against breast cancer. However, its main use in cancer therapy is to help remove radioactive particles from the body after radiation treatment.

So far, the bulk of evidence for Chlorella’s long list of medicinal powers comes from animal studies. Studies in mice have shown that Chlorella vulgaris can protect against the development and spread of cancer, and other rodent studies have shown that it lowers cholesterol and helps organisms get rid of toxic chemicals, such as dioxins.

Chlorella as a Food for Future Space Travel

While Chlorella has not been extensively used as a primary food source for space travel, there has been interest and research exploring the potential of algae, including Chlorella, as a component of life support systems for long-duration space missions. Algae have several characteristics that make them intriguing for space exploration

Nutritional Content: As mentioned above, Chlorella is rich in essential nutrients, including proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids. This makes it a nutrient-dense food source.

Photosynthetic Ability: Algae, including Chlorella, are photosynthetic organisms that can use light to produce oxygen and convert carbon dioxide into organic compounds. This photosynthetic activity is valuable for closed life support systems in space, where oxygen production and carbon dioxide removal are critical.

Biomass Production: Chlorella has a rapid growth rate, allowing for efficient biomass production. This characteristic is advantageous for producing a continuous and sustainable food supply during extended space missions.

Carbon Dioxide Recycling: Algae can play a role in recycling carbon dioxide exhaled by astronauts, helping to maintain the balance of gases in enclosed space environments.

Water Recycling: Algae can be cultivated in systems that recycle water, contributing to water purification within closed environments.

Research and experiments involving the use of algae, including Chlorella, in space-related scenarios have been conducted. However, the practical implementation of algae as a significant food source for astronauts in space missions is still in the early stages of exploration.

Space agencies and researchers continue to investigate various approaches to developing sustainable and closed-loop life support systems for long-duration space missions, including the cultivation of plants and algae. These efforts aim to reduce the reliance on resupply missions from Earth and create more self-sufficient ecosystems within spacecraft or space habitats.

It’s worth noting that current space missions primarily rely on pre-packaged, processed foods for astronauts. As technology and research progress, the integration of algae and other biological systems into space travel may become more feasible.

Always take care when taking herbs and Read Our Disclaimer.

Chlorella Herb Notes / Side Effects

Although unlikely, Chlorella may cause allergic reactions such as breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest, chest pain, skin hives, nausea, diarrhoea or stomach cramps, rash, or itchy or swollen skin and heightened sensitivity to the sun. In the event of these occurring, stop taking the capsules. As with all allergic reactions, it is always prudent to seek medical advice from your doctor.

Chlorella supplements can be rich in vitamin K, which can reduce the effectiveness of the blood-thinning drug warfarin.

Chlorella Latin Name

Chlorella vulgaris
Note: Chlorella vulgaris used to be attached to the taxon Chlorella pyrenoidosa, however the taxon Chlorella pyrenoidosa is now extinct.

Chlorella Common Name

Chlorella (Algae)

Properties of Chlorella

Anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, prophylactic.

Chlorella contains Vitamins & Minerals

Calcium, CGF (phytonutrient), beta-carotene, biotin, carotenoids, chlorophyll, Essential fatty acids (EFAs), folic acid, inositol, iodine, iron, magnesium, PABA, pantotheneic acid, phosphorous, potassium, proteins, RNA/DNA, vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B2, B3, B5, B6 B7, B9 and B12, E and K, zinc.

Chlorella is indicated for:

Asthma, boosting immune system, cancer, colitis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, diverticulosis, duodenal ulcers, fibromyalgia, gastritis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormone balance, hypertension, hypoglycemia, preventing and fighting infection, protecting the body from the ill-effects of both cancer radiation treatment and ultraviolet radiation, toxic chemical disposal, ulcers and ulcerative colitis.

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