The True Value of Spirulina

J Agric Food Chem. 2020 Apr 8;68(14):4109-4115. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.9b08251. Epub 2020 Mar 25.


Algae products are attracting growing interest due to their pleasant taste and their high contents in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Specifically, spirulina products are widely promoted for their high vitamin B12 content. So far, knowledge regarding the contamination with cyanotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is scarce, although some studies reported high contaminant levels in spirulina products. The regular intake of spirulina, and very likely other algae products as well, as a dietary supplement in the gram range demands a closer monitoring of potentially harmful constituents.

Keywords: Arthrospira platensis; cyanobacteria; food safety; food supplement; spirulina.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Essential / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Complex Mixtures / chemistry*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Food Contamination
  • Humans
  • Metals, Heavy / chemistry
  • Minerals / chemistry
  • Nutrients / chemistry*
  • Pesticides / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / chemistry
  • Spirulina / chemistry*
  • Vitamins / chemistry


  • Amino Acids, Essential
  • Complex Mixtures
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Minerals
  • Pesticides
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Vitamins