Arthrospira maxima

Watery inhabitant

more information

Blue-green algae live in most surface water, but only become visible after a few long, warm summer days. Blue-green algae have existed for millions of years and are responsible for a large part of the oxygen in the air. You can learn more about how these bacteria changed our atmosphere at the ‘Oxygen makers’ exhibit in Micropia.

Blue-green algae live in most surface water, but only become visible after a few long, warm summer days. Blue-green algae have existed for millions of years and are responsible for a large part of the oxygen in the air. You can learn more about how these bacteria changed our atmosphere at the ‘Oxygen makers’ exhibit in Micropia.

Noticable shapes

Arthrospira maxima has a noticable curly shape. Even though the microbes look flat under the microsocpe, in reality they form three dimensional spirales, just like a spiral staircase. Every spiral consists of multiple cells. These spirals nly form when the bacteria are swimming in water. Loose cells have a pill-like shape.

Warm waters

Most surface water contains blue-green algae, but they are not visible with the naked eye. After a few warm days in a row, a blue-green hue can bes een on the water. Those are the algae. The high tempertures allow them to grow more quickly and cover the entire surface of the water. These blooms mostly happen in water that is overly rich in nutrients. While an abundance of nutrients might sound postive, it is rarely so in nautre. When there’s too many nutrients available, often a single microbe, animal or plant will dominate an entire habitat. When nutrients are scarce, there is a much larger variety in species. Much better for the ecosystem.

Healthy addition

While some blue-green algae excrete toxins, A. maxima certainly does not. In fact, it is quite healthy. These algae are dried and sold as a food supplement in powder form. This supplement is very rich in protein and mineral. The powder is often sold under the name Spirulina, a closely related algae. The powder is just as green as the microbe itself. You only have a add a little bit of it to your food to change the colour entirely. Would you fancy a green algae icecream?