Archive for Community

Algae International: Iranian Spirulina Farmers!

Hello fellow algae-nauts!

Here at AlgaeLab we have helped algae farmers around the world, but this farm is special because of its location, Iran. Alireza and his friends have had great luck growing Spirulina for food in his rooftop greenhouse, using two raceway ponds lined with plastic.


They have been harvesting enough to provide fresh Spirulina to Alireza’s friends and family.


It’s great to have colleagues around the world. We’d like to think we’re doing our little part to promote peace between the people of our two countries.

From the heart of the chloroplast,
Dr. Baum

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See Dr. Baum Speak at the National Algae Association workshop!

Dr. Baum will be giving a presentation at the National Algae Association “Technologies and Networking Workshop” entitled “Spearheading the DIY Algae Revolution”, on February 28th, in Richmond, CA… come and say hi if you can!

For more information about the workshop, click here, and here.

Hope to see you there,
Dr. Baum

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February Inventory Clearance SALE!

We are developing improved versions of all of our products and will be announcing them soon! Since we can’t yet show them to you, we thought we’d share a picture of lovely Spirulina food concocted by our friends here at the Lab…

In the mean time, we’d like to offer the AlgaeLab community a lovely sale this month…look around our store, there’s a lot of savings to be had!

In green glory,
Dr. Baum

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1 WEEK: Holiday SALE! Everything 15% OFF!!

Hello fellow Spirulina lovers!

We are announcing our first SALE ever! For the next week, all our culture bottles, kits, and parts are 15% OFF! Buy a kit for a loved one, re-up on your supplies, or sign up for one of our on-demand courses…

Have a look! Sale ends midnight, December 18th.

In blue-green glory,
Dr. Baum

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October In-Person Workshop in Berkeley, CA!

Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum, AlgaeLab instructor

On October 27th, come meet the AlgaeLab crew and be taught in person by NASA algae scientist and AlgaeLab founder Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum! This will be a half-day affair (1-5pm), covering all the material in both online workshops – “Introduction to Algae Farming”, and “Getting Started With Spirulina”, with a live, hands-on demonstration and an opportunity to taste live, fresh Spirulina – plus tips on how to expand your culture outdoors, and anything else you might wish to cover, Dr. Baum is at your disposal for an afternoon!

All participants will receive: one copy of Dr. Baum’s book, Grow Your Own Spirulina Superfood, copies of all the instructional slides, and a one liter bottle of live spirulina culture to start your own tank or pond…
Sign up now, space is limited!

Course Fees:

$379 for workshop plus Full Spirulina Home-Grow Kit, including 1 liter of live culture, heater, air pump, air diffuser, air tubing, thermometer, two tubs of starter and one tub of make-up nutrient powder mix, iron solution, special pH strips, harvesting tube, harvesting cloth, clips, plug timer, and measuring spoons. This is a $50 savings from the online kit price. This is enough gear to be able to harvest from a 10-gallon tank every other day for approximately one year. Buy by clicking here.

$119 for workshop plus one copy of Dr. Baum’s book, “Grow Your Own Spirulina Superfood”, copies of all the instructional slides, and a one liter bottle of live spirulina culture (value $70+) to start your own tank or pond… Buy by clicking here.

October 27th, 1-5pm
Workshop location:

Ace Monster Toys
6050 Lowell Street
Oakland, CA

If the above payment links don’t work for you, either send payment via PayPal (go to, click “send money”, and enter as the recipient), or mail a check to:
772 Santa Maria Road
El Sobrante, CA 94803

Write us at with any questions.

See you there!
– Dr. Baum

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October Live Online Workshops!

Our live online workshops (and the recordings of them) have been quite popular… In response to your requests, we are offering additional sessions of our first course, “Introduction to Algae Farming”, plus a new course: “Getting Started With Spirulina” – see descriptions below. These courses compliment each other well, so see you there!

The E-lecta online classroom interface

Our Online Classroom:

We are very pleased to offer these teachings through an advanced web platform, pictured here. The online classroom includes live audio and video, slides and movies, the ability to text private or public questions, and the ability to ask questions through your webcam/microphone. A recording of the teaching session will be made available to each student completing each course.

Online workshops:

Introduction to Algae Farming
An overview of algae farming technique, and all of the considerations that go into algae farming – including growing, harvesting, and processing – as well as common solutions. The goal is to provide a solid foundation for further exploration of algae farming. A 2-hour course, followed by a half-hour question and answer session with Dr. Baum.

Getting Started With Spirulina
Spirulina is the best way to start algae farming, and this course is the best way to be sure you’ll be successful! Dr. Baum, founder of AlgaeLab and creator of our Grow Your Own Spirulina kits, takes you through all the steps: obtaining and caring for starter culture, growing it out, harvesting, maintenance, and best technique for keeping your culture pure and healthy. A 2-hour course, followed by a half-hour question and answer session.

Introduction to Algae Farming:
Saturday, October 26th, 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)

Getting Started With Spirulina:

Saturday, October 26th, 2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)

Note: There will be more online courses and workshops! Please suggest subjects, times, and dates…

The Instructor: Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum

While working on the NASA OMEGA algae biofuel-bioremediation project, algae scientist Dr. Aaron Wolf Baum founded the Shipyard algae teaching lab in Berkeley, CA, and developed mobile, educational algae installations with the Chlorophyll Collective. He founded, providing kits, culture, and workshops to the public since 2008, and has co-founded two new algae companies — GreenSpring, an innovative algae farm in the San Francisco Bay Area, and SpiraLife, a developer of consumer-oriented, turnkey algae superfood photobioreactors. Aaron is author of the recently-published book, “Grow Your Own Spirulina Superfood: A Simple How-To Guide.”

Course Fees:

  • $59 for one course, plus access to recording of the class.
  • $99 for both courses, plus access to recordings of both classes.
  • Special package deal: $129 for either online course and access to class recording plus 1L bottle of Spirulina Starter Culture, and “Grow Your Own Spirulina Superfood” book, shipping included – a discount of over $30! (U.S. only)
  • Super-special package deal: $169 for both online courses and access to both class recordings, plus 1L bottle of Spirulina Starter Culture, and “Grow Your Own Spirulina Superfood” book, shipping included – a discount of over $50! (U.S. only)
  • Course Options

    (If the button does not work for you, just go to directly and send your payment to Be sure to specify in the notes part of your payment which classes you are signing up for, and you will receive an email explaining how to enroll in our online university…
    See you there!

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Announcing the AlgaeLab “No Fail” Guarantee!

Are you interested in growing your own Spirulina but afraid that you might not be able to succeed on your first try? Stop worrying, AlgaeLab has your back! Every kit and bottle of Spirulina we sell now comes with AlgaeLab’s “No Fail” Guarantee: if your Spirulina fail to grow for any reason in the first 45 days, we will send you a new bottle for only $20 (to cover shipping and handling).

So jump on in, you can’t go wrong!

From the heart of the chloroplast,
Dr. Baum

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Culture Growth Tip: Cheap USB Temperature Logger

Hello good green folks!

One of the main problems new algae farmers run into is excessively high temperatures in the early afternoon, especially during summer months. Since it’s usually not possible to watch the thermometer all day long, I suggest logging the temperature to see how close you are getting to the danger zone (102+F), so you can know how much to turn down your heater. Though I encourage everyone to build their own system (as we have in our lab), this does not have to be expensive or complicated – here is a little waterproof number that will log up to 16,328 reading then dump them to your computer via integrated USB, all for just $59

Let us know how this device works out for you!

From the heart of the chloroplast,
Dr. Baum

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Come See Us at the East Bay Mini Makers’ Faire!

We will have a booth with live Spirulina and live demonstrations, come meet the AlgaeLab team!

East Bay Mini Makers’ Faire:
October 20th, Oakland, CA.

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AlgaeLab At Large: The Quest for the Algae of the Lost City of the Volvons

Haematococcus pluvialis (say it three times fast!) is an extraordinary algae. It can crank out a fabulously powerful and widely sought-after antioxidant called astaxanthin, that retails for about $70,000.00 per kilogram. HP also has an interesting and complex lifestyle; when its cells are well-fed and healthy, they are bright green, and swim about by means of a pair of flagella; when times get tough, though, such as when their puddle dries up, they transform themselves radically, into non-motile, perfectly spherical cysts of a rich red color. Thus their name, which means “blood cells of the rain”.

Haematococcus pluvialis in our lab.

Haematococcus pluvialis in our lab.

The red form is very hardy, and can withstand drying out; the red color comes from the astaxanthin, which seems to protect the cell during this time.
There are only a limited number of strains of HP commercially available, so it is interesting to seek new ones out; thus, when my algae wizard friend stumbled on an image of a stone hollow in the California hills, filled with a blood-red liquid, it struck our interest, particularly because the hollow was of Native manufacture, and in an obscure place of great anthropological significance. This was the Lost City of the Volvons, purportedly the largest settlement on the West Coast prior to the arrival of the Spanish. The stone hollows were their mortars (as in mortar & pestle), used to grind acorns into a lovely mush, edible after submersion in the nearby stream for a few days, to leach out the tannins.
The idea that in the process this native people – the Volvons – had inadvertently (?) created some very long-term Haematococcus habitat, perhaps even a particular Volvonic strain, was sufficiently intriguing to prompt a collaboration in locating, visiting, and ultimately sampling algae from this lost ancient city.
Setting out on our algae adventure...

Setting out on our algae adventure…

We knew that the city was somewhere in the vicinity of Mount Diablo; after some sleuthing we found a likely area, and hiked out there, through oak groves on grassy hills, clambering over boulders and streams. And under a tree, we found our first mortars (see image), and imagined Volvon women with tule reed baskets full of acorns, grinding their staple food happily, before the arrival of Europeans who would take away their land and almost erased their existence.
We stumbled among the rocks, ravines, and trees for a while, without finding anything that could be interpreted as urban. All the mortars were dry, or full of water cold and painfully clear.
Volvon mortars.

Volvon mortars.

Two months later we tried again, armed with a better notion of where the city stood, and the hope that warmer temperatures would prompt the growth of the precious algae. Getting to the putative city site involved jumping a fence or two, into questionable territory, but then there it was – an array of mortars far beyond anything we had seen before. And wasn’t the goop inside some of them distinctly reddish? We gathered samples, and brought them back for culturing.
Collecting samples from Volvon mortars.

Collecting samples from Volvon mortars.

But then, lo and behold, in a tiny pool in a sink left in our backyard (due to an oft-delayed remodeling project), brilliant red exploded. The cells inside were classic Haematococcus, green swimmers plus plump red cysts. It grew robustly in our flasks, and the Sobrante Sink strain (shown above) was born, perhaps with a wisp of Volvon magic.
Pluvial miracle in an abandoned sink.

Blood-red miracle in an abandoned sink.

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