How to Grow My Chlorella

Chlorella is a green algae known for its high concentration of essential nutrients and vitamins. It is sold as a dietary supplement. Most of the world's chlorella comes from Asian nations such as Japan, but it is possible to grow chlorella at home. You still need to process the chlorella in a blender or food mixer to break down its cell walls so you can access the nutrients, but growing chlorella is relatively easy.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass containers

  • Mineral water

  • Chlorella cultures

  • Thermometer

Step 1

Purchase chlorella cultures from a reputable vendor. One to try is the Carolina Biological Supply Company. Ask for Chlorella pyrenoidosa or Chlorella vulgaris.

Carolina Biological Supply Company PO Box 6010 Burlington, NC 27216-6010 (800) 334-5551 Email: customer_service@carolina.com

Step 2

Sterilize some glass containers as you would canning jars, with boiling water. Chlorella should be as free from contamination as possible.

Step 3

Place the sterilized containers in a sunny area--for example, near a window.

Step 4

Fill the glass containers about two-thirds full with mineral water. Put the chlorella cultures into the glass containers according to the packaging instructions.

Step 5

Use a CO2-generator, such as tablets or aerosol systems, to keep CO2 in the mineral water--the chlorella will need the CO2 to survive, just as people need oxygen. You can buy the generators at aquarium shops. Normally, in the mass production of chlorella, mechanical arms turn in the tubs of water holding chlorella, which incorporates CO2 into the water.

Step 6

Monitor the temperature of the water. Keep the temperature around 82 degrees F by changing the amount of sunlight that reaches the containers, or by using a plant lamp. Stir the water at least twice a day to let all of the chlorella have access to the sunlight.

Step 7

Harvest the chlorella when the density of the algae reaches 30 grams per one liter of water. This should take about seven days.

Tip

If you cannot use the chlorella you've grown all at once, let the water evaporate and place the dry chlorella in sealed containers. Chlorella has a shelf life of about two years as long as you do not break the cell walls. Simply rehydrate and blend the chlorella when you are ready to use it (try it in a smoothie), or grind the dried chlorella by hand with a mortar and pestle. Note that you can eat unprocessed chlorella but that you'll only get about half the nutrients as you would with processed chlorella.

References & Resources