March 15, 2007

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Spirulina Algal Technology

Phototrophic Bacteria



Microbial Pigments




Indigenous fermented food

Plant Tissue Culture

Tea Plantation

Algal Technology

Spirulina Production

The first major research programme in this field at MCRC was on Spirulina and this after years of intensive research had brought recognition and accolade for MCRC. The President of India NRDC Award was conferred on MCRC in 1991 for this work.

Spirulina is a wholesome food supplement rich in b-carotene, phycocyanin, linolenic acid as well as many vitamins and minerals. Spirulina grows in a well defined alkaline medium and could be cultivated easily. Through multidisciplinary research MCRC had established all the needed technologies for mass cultivation, harvesting, drying and even packaging of Spirulina. As a pioneer in Spirulina research MCRC had designed its own pond systems, continuous agitation facilities and even versatile filtering devices. All these were later licensed to the sister concern, The New Ambadi Estates (now Parry Agro Industries Ltd.), whose production centre at Pudukottai District of Tamil Nadu currently produces over 120 tonnes of spray dried Spirulina per annum.

MCRC has extended the Spirulina technology to the villages by training the rural people especially women to grow this algae in their backyards for nutrition and income generation. MCRC with financial support from DBT has likewise assisted in rehabilitating the earthquake-stricken villagers of Latur, Maharashtra by introducing this technology as an income generating activity. This cooperative movement is supervised currently by the Dr. C.V. Seshadri Memorial Charitable Trust, Latur, a spin off arm of MCRC.

Utility of seaweeds in pollution control is currently being explored by growing them in aquaculture farms. Agar yielding sea weeds are mainly used in these studies. On an average the yield of sea weeds in the aquaculture farms is about 44 kg/sq. metre. Studies on exploitation of specific sea weeds as nutritional and healthcare supplements and as fertilizers have been initiated and these are to continue for the next 5-10 years. The algae being studied now are ulva lactuca, Gracilaria edulis and G. verrucosa. The other major algal technology innovations include biomass and proteins from Chlorella and Scenedesmus and hydrocarbon from Botryococcus braunii. All these together with the suggested nutraceutical values of many sea weeds are expected to form the thrust areas of research and development for the future.