Spirulina from Cyanotech Co. Safe
Cyanotech Corporation Announces Results of Independent Laboratory Testing of Spirulina
by Suzi Fraser
Cyanotech Corporation recently announced the results of testing done at the Department of Biological Sciences at Wright State University (Dayton, Ohio), on Spirulina Pacifica confirming the absence of BMAA.
An article, "Diverse taxa of cyanobacteria produce b-N-methylamino-L-Alanine, a neurotoxic amino acid" by Cox et al., appeared in the April 2005 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS 102:5074-5078). This study showed a potential toxin, BMAA, was found in diverse groups of cyanobacteria, which may have raised some concern over the safety of Spirulina, a product sold worldwide as a dietary supplement. On April 13, 2005, Cyanotech Corporation filed a Form 8-K with the Securities & Exchange Commission in response to a press release issued by Earthrise Nutritionals, LLC which cited such concern and mentioned Cyanotech.
Spirulina (Arthrospira) was not included among the 30 types of cyanobacteria tested and referenced in the article. Cyanotech, however, took the precautionary measure of submitting samples of its spirulina products for independent testing for BMAA. The Company first approached Dr. Paul Alan Cox, the primary researcher and co-author of the PNAS article, who did not respond to the request. The Company then enlisted the services of Professor Wayne W. Carmichael to test its Spirulina product. Professor Carmichael is a full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wright State University and a leading expert in the field of cyanobacterial toxins. On June 3, 2005, Professor Carmichael reported his findings confirming the absence of detection levels of the suspected neurotoxin BMAA in Cyanotech's Spirulina Pacifica.
"The results of the test confirm that our Spirulina contains no trace of BMAA and we are pleased to provide this reassurance to our customers of the integrity of our products," said Gerald R. Cysewski, Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "One of the primary goals of Cyanotech is to offer microalgal products which provide high value to our customers and this affirmation of the absence of detectable BMAA in our Spirulina is further evidence of our commitment to quality and safety of our products."
Cyanotech Corporation, a world leader in microalgal technology, produces high-value natural products from microalgae and is the world's largest commercial producer of natural astaxanthin from microalgae. Products include BioAstin(R) natural astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant with expanding applications as a human nutraceutical; NatuRose(R) natural astaxanthin for the aquaculture and animal feed industries; Spirulina Pacifica(R), a nutrient-rich dietary supplement; and phycobiliproteins, which are fluorescent pigments used in the immunological diagnostics market.