What is Chlorella?
Chlorella is single-cell green algae that grows wild in fresh water, and it has long attracted attention as a health food. Chlorella has been on Earth since the birth of the planet owing to its astonishing vitality. The existence of Chlorella was recognized around the time when the first microscope was invented. The Dutch scientist, Beijerinck, discovered Chlorella about 120 years ago. The name Chlorella is taken from the Greek "chloros" meaning green and Latin "ella" meaning small.
You may have experienced that when you placed a fish bowl on a sunny porch, water inside turned green before you knew. What turned the water green are members of Chlorella. Chlorella lives by us in fresh water such as paddles, marshes, ponds, and lakes, and has a worldwide distribution. It is considered the first organism on the Earth and is a plant maintaining the original form of over two billion years ago until today.
Under a microscope, individual spherical organisms 3 to 8 microns (1 micron = 1/1000 millimeter) in diameter are observed in the green water as shown in the right picture. These organisms are tiny plants, Chlorella. They measure only a half of human red blood cells, and come together in a large number to form algae that are very useful for our lives.
Chlorella belongs to green algae network Kurorokokkumu Pirenoidosa eye department Ooshisuchisu academically.
The network has green alga Enteromorpha is our favorite.
As a fellow of the Others, such as belonging to a network of red algae Porphyra tenera is raised kelp brown algae belonging to the network everyday things often see, also, seaweed. These are all colleagues of Chlorella.
While most living organisms consist of many cells, a single cell of Chlorella is an independent life form. It is called a unicellular organism. Although Chlorella is a microscopic plant invisible to the naked eye, it is provided with every organ and function necessary for a life in its cell as a complete organism. Chlorella is a marvelous unicellular plant possessing more ability and power than commonly seen plants.
Various organisms reproduce either sexually or asexually. Chlorella makes wonderful asexual reproduction. Chlorella, about 3 microns in diameter, grows through photosynthesis by using solar energy and carbon dioxide in fresh water. Before it matures to close to 8 to 10 microns, two nuclear divisions occur, and continuously a parent cell undergoes cell divisions to form four offspring at a time. Chlorella is an organism that has been in existence and dividing for over two billion years.
Chlorella's vigorous reproduction keeps making four cells every 24 hours. The first one multiplies into four tomorrow and into sixteen the day after tomorrow, and this goes on. A month later, there will be a huge family of 4 (30), that is 100 kei (1 kei = 10,000 times a trillion). One hundred kei cells weigh 20 tons. If Chlorella continues to multiply at this rate, their calculated volume will be larger than that of the Earth (1.08332 x 10 (12) km3) in 63 days. Chlorella has such energetic reproduction ability as a science fiction movie of Chlorella occupying the Earth may be possibly made.
A calculated scenario is as mentioned above, whereas Chlorella has requirements for life. To manage division, growth, and multiplication, Chlorella needs to absorb sufficient solar energy into chloroplasts, take in a small amount of inorganic salts as nutrients, take in carbon dioxide, and photosynthesize in clean fresh water. As cells multiply, they block off the light to each other. Chlorella without sunlight stops growing, and eventually dies. Even if it is cultured under favorable conditions, a monthly yield will be about 20 grams per square meter (dry weight). Such a tremendous multiplication as one cell grows to a huge family the size of the Earth in 63 days does not happen. Chlorella recovers vigorous reproductive ability when an even and sufficient supply of solar energy and carbon dioxide is available. It is an important plant useful enough to be a future food source when correctly cultured.
Many plants live through photosynthesis, and the source of a life is solar energy in animals and plants alike. The daily yield of 20 grams per square meters indicates that Chlorella produces much more organic matter than regular plants. If we assume one gram of Chlorella has 5.6 kcal, the yearly calories will be 40,880 kcal per square meter. Compared with this, grains generate just 800 kcal per square meter. This shows that Chlorella's photosynthesis provides 50 times more food.
Today, the food crisis is urgent. Scientists around the world are paying attention to nutritious Chlorella. Especially in the United States, research in this field is active. Some scientists reported that culturing Chlorella under favorable conditions in a one-million acre pond (approximate area of Tokushima Prefecture) would fulfill the protein need for the entire U.S. population (about two hundred million people). Now you know why Chlorella is called food for the 21st century.