- Algae are a composed and mixed group of plantlike organisms and bacteria. Except a few types, all algae perform photosynthesis.
- AlgaeBase, the global algal database, categorised on the 28th of August 2018 up to 49.000 types of algae. However, it is believed that there are multiple more algae in the world, which were not discovered yet.
- Algae are the oldest microorganisms in the world besides bacteria. Because algae are an important performer of photosynthesis, they are accountable for approximately 50% of the global oxygen production – even though they make up only 2% of the world´s total amount of plants. Algae are the ancestors of all land plants and also the basic material for petroleum. They can also be described as natural perfected photosynthetic organisms.
- Algae are organisms, which have a wide variety of habitats. In addition to their well-known fresh and salt water habitat, algae can also grow on stones, soils and alpine snowfields.
- The oldest and most common process to grow algae is the Open Pond production. Further more breeding methods are photobioreactors such as tubular reactor, helix or coil reactor, bag or tube reactor, vessel reactor, flat panel reactor, thin-layer reactor and in the heterotrophic breeding the algae fermenter.
- There are many different types of algae, which can be produced industrial. The mainly grown algae types in Europe are spirulina and chlorella, which are primarily used as nutritional supplements on the market. Other algae that are commonly produced are Haematococcus, Dunaliella und Nannochloropsis.
- Above all, it depends on the environmental conditions. An algae cell can divide every 15-20h under ideal circumstances (light, nutrients, temperature).
- It strongly depends on the type of algae. But the generally valid temperatures are minimum 15°C, optimum 25°C and maximum 32°C.
- Algae need micronutrients, a source of carbon (inorganic CO2, some types of algae can also grow heterotrophically) and light. For those types that can grow heterotrophically photosynthesis is not necessary, which is why they do not need light.
- Algae can cope with different lighting regimes. From 24 hours of continuous light to flashes of light to periods of darkness followed by periods of light of varying lengths (Beherns, 2005). However, most living organisms on Earth are adapted to a day-night rhythm, including algae. Depending on the product one wants to produce from the algae, it makes sense to adjust the illumination period (Lee & Lee, 2001). Since we use only sunlight in our system, our algae are exposed to a natural day-night rhythm.
- Our Chlorella is Chlorella vulgaris, our Spirulina is Arthrospira platensis.
There are new scientific findings on the subject of C. pyrenoidosa. The term “pyrenoidosa” has been prevailing for a very long time – however, it was discovered that the assigned strains were misidentified. Most of the strains formerly grouped under C. pyrenoidosa have now been renamed Chlorella vulgaris, Chlorella sorokiniana or Chlorella fusca, with the latter being moved to the genus Scenedesmus (source: Huss et al., 1999 ; Ullmann, 2006 ; Roshon, pers. comm.).
However, the “reclassifications” are not yet fully completed, why the term still persists. Of course, the term is also demanded on the market by customers because they have been used to it for decades. Of the 3 strains, Chlorella vulgaris has gained the most acceptance worldwide, which is why we only produce Chlorella vulgaris.
- Although the two algae are very similar in appearance as green and blue-green powder, respectively, they are completely different. They are two different types of algae. Chlorella is grass green, also tastes slightly grassy and is a classic microalgae.
- Under the microscope, Chlorella can be recognized by its round shape. Spirulina is blue-green, tastes maritime and actually belongs to cyanobacteria (i.e. unlike Chlorella, Spirulina does not have a cell nucleus or cell walls made of cellulose). However, since it behaves like an algae and performs photosynthesis, it is also called “algae” worldwide. What makes Spirulina special is that it contains the blue pigment phycocyanin, which is responsible for its distinctive blue-green color. As the name suggests, Spirulina looks like a spiral or even rod-shaped under the microscope.
- Furthermore, the algae differ in their ingredients and their effect. Chlorella contains vitamin B12, folic acid, vitamin A, iron and spermidine and is mainly used for detox cures and the removal of harmful substances due to its high chlorophyll content. Spirulina contains vitamin A, vitamin K, iron and spermidine and is known for cell-protective properties. Spirulina was declared the best food of the future as early as 1974.
- Since January 1st 2024 our chlorella has been certified organic. This makes us the 1. algae manufacturer in Europe that produces organic chlorella in a closed system.
- Organic production in a closed system with a clean environment like ours, was long considered impossible. The nutrient sources permitted for organic products under the EU organic legislation were not pure enough for our system and our purity requirements. We have always produced according to the organic concept, but certification was not possible so far. After years of research, however, now we have finally found a way to produce chlorella cleanly and in organic quality.
- Our algae production has always corresponded to organic production, but simply lacking one criteria for making the certification. Above all, sustainability and resource conservation have always been of particular concern to us: we only use Austrian drinking water, sunlight, biogenic CO2 from a regional bioethanol plant and the purest nutrient salts – no pesticides, no genetic engineering, no additives. In our process, we reuse as many resources as possible up to 80% of nutrient salts and water are recycled in the process, in order to have as positive an impact on the environment as possible. Everything remains the same. The only difference between our organic chlorella and our conventional chlorella is the organic certificate. The quality standards remain the same!
- For this reason, we have also decided not to switch to organic products in our online store for the time being, as we want to process our conventional products in stock first. As soon as our stock has been used up, we will start processing our organic raw material for our online store products. As laid out before, the quality is the same premium quality in both cases, the only difference is the certificate.
- We are currently focusing on the production of organic chlorella. Whether we will also produce organic spirulina in the future is still unclear. Whether an organic production of spirulina with our high quality standards will also work in our system is a question that has not yet been answered. Our research and development team will look into this issue in the future.
- However, as already described, we have always produced according to the organic concept, so our conventional spirulina is in no way inferior to organic spirulina: just like our organic chlorella, it is protected from pesticides, heavy metals, toxins and other harmful substances.
- Algae are a vegan source of omega-3. Some varieties can even provide essential omega-3 fatty acids. Fish, for example, also get their healthy omega-3 fatty acids from algae, since they cannot produce it themselves, just like us humans. So instead of consuming omega-3 through fish, we could also consume algae directly. Unfortunately, only a few microalgae species are approved as food. This is not the case with our own algae, which contains the essential omega-3 fatty acid EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which is why we cannot currently offer algae oil. However, we do produce the Chlorella algae in powder form, which contains the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid).
- The “algae oil” that is currently offered on the market is mostly “Schizochytrium” – an organism that does not perform photosynthesis. Schizochytrium contains the omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA. Our process is not suitable for the production of Schizochytrium, as our system is designed for photosynthetic organisms.
Microalgae can be cultivated in various systems. Systems with open ponds and closed systems, mostly photobioreactors made of glass or plastic, have established themselves worldwide. Jongerius ecoduna has opted for a closed system and developed its own process with a focus on sustainability and cleanliness. Both systems offer advantages and disadvantages:
Open pond systems:
+ low production costs
+ easy to operate
+ require little energy (if pump-free)
– strongly dependent on climatic conditions
– low production volumes
– high water consumption (evaporation)
– high consumption of nutrients
– high risk of contamination due to open basins
Jongerius ecoduna system:
+ controlled conditions (pH, temperature, nutrients, etc.)
+ permanent monitoring of all essential parameters
+ water and nutrients can be recycled
+ lower risk of contamination due to closed system
+ risk management for contaminations
+ high production volumes
– dependent on a light source (sun)
– cost intensive
At Jongerius ecoduna we cultivate algae in our patented glass tube system. This allows us to provide them with controlled growth conditions and, together with internal and external analysis of ALL batches, it enables the highest possible product safety.
- The special thing about our plant is that we have designed it not only for efficiency and purity, but also to conserve resources. We have developed our system in such a way that our reactors – unlike the usual ones – manage without pumps. On the one hand, this makes a significant difference in terms of energy, and on the other, the algae can grow as stress-free as possible.
- The glass tubes used also have the advantage that they ensure optimal light exposure of the algae. Due to the large surface area of the upright glass tubes, our algae are supplied with sufficient light from all sides for optimal growth. If we were to cultivate in open water, the algae would shade themselves and restrict each other’s growth due to the depth of the tank. The most productive layer of a pond is a few centimeters below the water surface. Our system takes advantage of this principle and virtually represents a pond set up vertically.
- Our system consists of 43,000 glass tubes: if you were to string them together, the total length would be 230 km. Our glass house covers an area of one hectare. The reactors have a total volume of 780 m3. Our tubes are exactly 6 meters high.
Algae have the habit of absorbing external influences, including negative influences such as heavy metals or other pollutants. Therefore, they can also be used, for example, for water purification or detoxification of our body. However, if algae grow up in an unclean environment, they have already absorbed pollutants from their environment during their growth, which subsequently enter our body through consumption.
In our closed system we can protect the algae from external influences such as heavy metals, iodine, toxins and pesticides in the best possible way. Our algae are also produced free of additives and without genetic engineering. Each batch is checked by an external laboratory. With Jongerius ecoduna you can be sure that our algae are high quality and pure.
Only Austrian drinking water, sunlight, biogenic CO2 and selected pure food-grade nutrient salts are used for the production of our algae.
Water: We use only Austrian drinking water, which we additionally treat by reverse osmosis (RO). This gives us a 100% barrier against microorganisms and heavy metals in the water. In addition, most of the water is recovered, recycled and reprocessed after harvesting.
Air: The air is treated using oil separators, sterile filtration, activated carbon filters and dryers. We thus have air of the quality that it may be directly introduced into food products. Due to the activated carbon filters, there is also a 100% barrier against heavy metals and other pollutants.
CO2: We source biogenic CO2, which is a byproduct of a bioethanol plant in Austria. Thus, we use CO2 from a sustainable source and avoid the use of a fossil CO2 source.
Sun: The sun serves as the only source of light and energy in the growth of our algae.
Nutrient salts: Microalgae, like any other plant, need nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and some trace elements as nutrients, in addition to CO2, so that they are optimally supplied. For this purpose, we use only selected, pure nutrient salts.
Algae: We have an in-house algae strain collection from which we select the most suitable production strains. These are propagated in several steps from a few milliliters of algae culture up to 1000 l until they are inoculated into our plant, where they continue to multiply until the optimal density of cells for harvesting is reached. Only one part of the algae is harvested at a time, while the other part continues to multiply. In this way, we ensure continuous growth.
We dry both types of algae with a gentle spray-drying process, where the powder itself is never heated above 40 degrees and the drying process takes only a few seconds. Thus, our algae have raw food quality.
On the one hand, we check our algae in our in-house laboratory, on the other hand, we work with independent external laboratories to analyze the microbiology and vitamin values of all batches. Thus, we offer not only the purest quality of our algae, but also absolute product safety.
The production of microalgae is becoming increasingly interesting, especially for securing the future food supply. The population is increasing, but at the same time fertile soil is becoming increasingly scarce. This increases the production pressure on food. Microalgae can be part of the solution to this problem, providing up to 10x more output/hectare than, conventional crops while not requiring fertile land. Plants like ours could be located almost anywhere in the world and ensure continuous production of microalgae.
Our production also uses only Austrian drinking water, selected pure nutrient salts, sunlight and biogenic CO2. Water and nutrients are recycled and reused up to 80%. This makes our production particularly resource-friendly. In addition, we have a pump-free system and do NOT use artificial lighting, which is why our plant consumes much less energy compared to others. We also use 100% of the waste heat from our compressors, limiting energy loss to a minimum throughout the production process. Unlike comparable products from Asia or America, our algae are produced directly in Lower Austria and thus have no long transport routes behind them.
Chlorella naturally contains omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid), folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin A (beta-carotene), iron and spermidine. In addition, Chlorella also has a high chlorophyll content, a pigment that not only provides the green color of Chlorella, but is also considered detoxifying and antioxidant. Chlorella is especially valued for its ability to bind external influences to itself and is often taken for detox reasons.
- Spirulina naturally contains vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin K, iron and spermidine. In addition, spirulina contains the blue pigment phycocyanin, which is considered a powerful antioxidant and is valued for cell-protective properties.
- Microalgae are not a classic dietary supplement, but a natural product. Because microalgae naturally have high concentrations of many vitamins and nutrients, they are often taken as a natural food supplement. Unlike synthetic vitamin tablets, with algae you don’t get isolated vitamins, but a range of them. Algae are considered to be beneficial to health because of their overall natural composition of vitamins, minerals, pigments, phytochemicals and trace elements. Spirulina, for example, is known to be cell-protective and chlorella detoxifying.
As a natural product with natural fluctuations, algae are often considered an unreliable source of nutrients. We address this challenge by analyzing each batch with external laboratories, providing our customers with assurance about the nutrient content and purity of our products.
- Vitamin A contributes to a normal iron metabolism
- Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal mucous membranes
- Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal skin
- Vitamin A contributes to the maintenance of normal vision
- Vitamin A contributes to normal immune system function
- Vitamin A has a function in cell specialization
- Vitamin K contributes to normal blood clotting
- Vitamin K contributes to the maintenance of normal bones
- Iron contributes to normal cognitive function
- Iron contributes to normal energy metabolism
- Iron contributes to the normal formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin
- Iron contributes to normal immune system function
- Iron contributes to normal oxygen transport in the body
- Iron contributes to the reduction of fatigue and tiredness
- Iron has a function in cell division
- Vitamin B12 contributes to a normal energy metabolism
- Vitamin B12 contributes to a normal function of the nervous system
- Vitamin B12 contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
- Vitamin B12 contributes to normal mental function
- Vitamin B12 contributes to normal red blood cell formation
- Vitamin B12 contributes to normal immune system function
- Vitamin B12 contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
- Vitamin B12 has a function in cell division
Not every algae is the same and not all vitamin B12 is the same. There are bioavailable and non-bioavailable forms of vitamin B12 or cobalamins for our body. Spirulina does contain vitamin B12, but not significant amounts of the bioavailable form. Our Chlorella, however, contains relevant amounts of the bioavailable forms of vitamin B12. These are produced, among other things, by an accompanying commensal bacterial flora. Only the content may vary from product to product and from batch to batch under certain circumstances, because the accompanying flora is not always developed in the same way. Therefore, we analyze the content of bioavailable vitamin B12 in each of our batches (with the HPLC method) to be able to give our customers certainty. Our chlorella products are therefore a reliable source of vitamin B12.
- Folate contributes to the growth of maternal tissue during pregnancy
- Folate contributes to normal amino acid synthesis
- Folate contributes to normal blood formation
- Folate contributes to normal homocysteine metabolism
- Folate contributes to normal mental function
- Folate contributes to normal immune system function
- Folate contributes to the reduction of fatigue and tiredness
- Folate has a function in cell division
- Spermidine is a biogenic, endogenous polyamine that is closely associated with cell growth and function. Natural factors that increase spermidine levels include growth, pregnancy, repair of muscle cells after strenuous exercise, and regeneration of red blood cells after blood loss or anemia. The amount of spermidine produced by the body itself decreases with age. In aging research, it is believed that concentrated spermidine in combination with autophagy can counteract the cell aging process and support cell health. Autophagy is the natural renewal and recycling of damaged cells.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the body because it cannot produce them itself. They include the fatty acids ALA, EPA and DHA. In our Chlorella, the fatty acid ALA, is contained.
In most cases, microalgae are cultivated in open basins or natural waters. In this case, the input of environmental influences cannot be controlled in the same way as in closed systems. This can lead to contamination. Since microalgae tend to absorb external influences, they may be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides or other pollutants without this being detected. Most algae producers do not test all batches individually for contamination, but take one sample per season, which is the average of all batches produced during the season. As a result, variations in individual batches may not be detected. Therefore, we not only prevent external influences through our closed system, but also check the quality of ALL batches of our algae.
Our two strains of algae do not naturally contain iodine. However, since high concentrations of iodine are often found in natural waters, many algae are contaminated with iodine. Since we produce in a closed system, i.e. without external influences, we can exclude iodine contamination.
Our pure Spirulina and Chlorella algae are available either as powder or pressed to tablets (pressed powder in tablet form, free of additives such as binders or fillers). Our tablets are perfect for easy daily supplementation, as they are convenient to take, for example: with a glass of water. Our powder is suitable for daily use, e.g.: as a fixed ingredient in your smoothies, porridge or similar – as well as for experimental cooking and baking for salty as well as sweet dishes. We also offer a small assortment of foods with algae, such as our spirulina noodles or our algae honey (available in 3 varieties).
- The blue-green Spirulina has a refreshing taste of herbs, with a slightly sweet and sour note. It tastes very rich, umami and maritime.
- The grass-green Chlorella has an intense grassy taste with a fine citrus note and is mildly tart.
Both types of algae can be used as an ingredient or seasoning and go well with both sweet and salty dishes. It is advisable to mix the algae powder with some liquid beforehand to avoid lumps – similar to starch or pudding powder. In order to preserve the vitamins contained, it is best to process the algae cold or to add them at the end of cooking. Otherwise, short heating at high temperature is recommended rather than low temperatures with long cooking or baking times.
The intensity of the algae flavor is mainly controlled with the dosage. As a basic rule: about 1% algae per total mass for dishes where the algae flavor should not be in the foreground. Depending on the taste as well as the consistency of the dish, the proportion of algae can be increased accordingly. If you want to integrate more algae, but you want the algae taste to remain in the background, you can neutralize it with foods that have an intense taste of their own, which harmonize well with algae. For spirulina, these include horseradish, lime, dark chocolate, honey, dill, guava, strawberry or raspberry. For Chlorella, spinach, tomato, honey, pistachio, banana or orange are well suitable.
Just like the taste, the color intensity will vary depending on the dosage. If green foods are an inhibition, it is recommended to combine the algae with foods that are well known but also naturally green (parsley, broccoli, peas, limes, spinach, etc.).