Spirulina (Athrospira sp.) is an edible microalga and a highly nutritious potential feed resource for many agriculturally important animal species. Research findings have associated Spirulina to improvements in animal growth, fertility, aesthetic and nutritional product quality. Spirulina intake has also been linked to an improvement in animal health and welfare. Its influence over animal development stems from its nutritive and protein-rich composition, thus leading to an increased commercial production to meet consumer demand. Consequently, Spirulina is emerging as a cost-effective means of improving animal productivity for a sustainable and viable food security future. However, our present knowledge of animal response to dietary Spirulina supplementation is relatively scanty and largely unknown. Therefore, the primary objective of this paper was to review past and current findings on the utilisation of Spirulina as a feed supplement and its impact on animal productivity and health. Only animals deemed to be of agricultural significance were investigated; hence, only ruminants, poultry, swine and rabbits and their responses to dietary Spirulina supplementation are covered.
Keywords: Spirulina; growth; meat quality; milk; pigs; poultry; sheep.
© 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.