Spirulina is an aquatic micro-organism often referred to as an algae, though it more closely resembles bacteria. It is used as a food supplement to combat malnutrition. 1 gram of spirulina is said to be as nutritious as 100g of spinach or carrots, and is cheaper. It has an extremely high protein content, with 60-70% of its dry weight consisting of a balanced mix of various essential amino acids. Further it is very rich in beta carotene (to produce vitamin A), iron, vitamin B12, ganna-linolenic acid and other micronutrients. It has no cell wall and is therefore very easy to digest.

Spirulina was rediscovered during a European scientific mission in Chad, as a traditional food of the locals called dihé. It was a blue-green, dried cake made of a micro-organism which grew in the natural alkaline lagoons found in this region. It improves physical growth as well as cognitive development. It also improves immunity, and therefore helps in fighting and preventing HIV/AIDS and anaemia. Studies show it is also effective against arsenic poisoning.

It can be consumed directly as the paste which is harvested or dried. This is highly useful for cheap, local distribution in rural areas. Further it is also suitable to be produced industrially for the middle class. This is in the form of pills sold in pharmacies or combined with various food products such as rice, milk products, energy bars, candy, noodles, etc.