Spirulina and chlorella are very similar in the fact that they are both types of micro-algae, but whereas spirulina is a spiral-shaped, multi-celled plant with no true nucleus, chlorella is a spherical-shaped single-celled micro-organism with a nucleus. Spirulina can sometimes be up to 100-times larger than chlorella.
Physical Differences Between Spirulina and Chlorella
In addition, while spirulina is a blue-green form of algae, chlorella is a solid green-colored form of algae.
Spirulina tends to grow best in fresh water ponds, rivers, and lakes that have a relatively high alkaline content. Moderate temperatures and abundant sunshine are required in order to produce exemplary crops. In most natural environments, the waters where spirulina flourishes is usually home to very few other organisms, so harvesting the crop is easier. Meanwhile, chlorella, which is also grown in fresh water, tends to occupy water with other organisms due to its microscopic size, making it much more difficult to harvest and cultivate.
Cultivation Differences Between Spirulina and Chlorella
Chlorella is also traditionally more difficult to process than spirulina, due to the fact that it has an indigestible cellulose wall. Therefore, chlorella requires processing before it can be made available for human consumption. It first has to undergo a complex process in order to mechanically break the cellulose wall. If the cellulose wall isn't broken, then the body won't be able to digest it. This process is not only complex, but it requires expensive equipment to perform. Therefore, the cost of the product is ultimately significantly higher.
In comparison, spirulina has a perfectly digestible cellulose wall, therefore it is readily available for consumption, and immediately digested and absorbed when taken.
Both spirulina and chlorella are classified as superfoods, so they are both among the richest nutrient sources on the planet. But, spirulina has a higher percentage of protein and iron, as well as all eight essential amino acids; potassium; zinc; calcium; vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and B-12. Spirulina also has a higher percentage of beta-carotene, while chlorella has a greater level of chlorophyll (due to its dark green color).
Nutritional Differences Between Spirulina and Chlorella
• Spirulina is easier on the digestive system than chlorella and other types of blue-green algae
Additional Differences Between Spirulina, Chlorella, and Other Blue-Green Algae
• Spirulina offers the highest level of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a "good fat" that is vital for the health and function of the brain, heart, and other body organs and systems
While both spirulina and chlorella each exhibit incredible health benefits when taken as part of a daily diet, it is clear that due to a significantly higher level of beneficial nutrients and a host of other reasons, spirulina is easily superior to chlorella, and all other types of blue-green algae.
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