The term Algae when used as a Pet Food ingredient can be a bit deceiving. While many view it as a holistic or natural type ingredient and associate it with the ocean this may not always be the case. It is important that the ingredient label provide the specific name of algae used such as Ascophyllum nodosum, Haematococcus pluvialis or Spirulina. In cases where the blanket term “Algae” is used without any identifiers it could be a by product of other manufacturing processes. One such process is described below:


“Algal biomass [biological material from living, or recently living algae] is mixed with a combination of brewer's yeast, a grain product such as whole wheat, and the burnt residues that collect on the interior walls of drying vessels used for spray-drying of yeast extracts. These ingredients are mixed with water to form a dough-like substance, which is made into a desired shape for a dog, cat, or other pet treat. The dough is then cooked to form a pleasant-smelling biscuit-type treat which dogs and cats find highly appealing. In another embodiment, algal biomass is incorporated into Pet Foods as a “flavor or palatability enhancer” (FPE) by being coated onto the surfaces of pelleted or extruded chunks (kibbles), to prepare a flavored dog or cat food. Using algal or fungal biomass in this manner eliminates the noxious and foul-smelling waste problem for manufacturers of nutrition supplements. In addition, pet foods created in this manner contain significant quantities of DHA, a nutrient that is highly valuable in foods for dogs and cats.”


Named Algae products: 


  • Ascophyllum nodosum


Ascophyllum nodosum is a large, common brown alga found on the north-western coast of Europe (from Svalbard to Portugal) including east Greenland and the north-eastern coast of North America.


Ascophyllum nodosum is harvested for use in alginates, fertilisers and for the manufacture of seaweed meal for animal and human consumption. It is host to cytokinins, auxin-like gibberellins, betaines, mannitol, organic acids, polysaccharides, amino acidsChelated minerals are minerals that have been chemically combined with a molecule of protein, an amino acid or even a sugar “complex” (a polysaccharide) to form “complexes” which are more readily absorbable by the body., and proteins which are all very beneficial.


There is increasing controversy over the impact of commercial harvesting of Ascophyllum nodosum for use in garden or crop fertilizers, and as a Pet Food and livestock feed supplement in North America and Europe. Opponents of wild Ascophyllum harvests point to the algae's high habitat value for over 100 marine species, including benthic invertebrates, commercially important fish, wild ducks, shorebirds, and seabirds.


  • aematococcus pluvialis


Haematococcus pluvialis is a freshwater species of Chlorophyta from the family Haematococcaceae. This species is well known for its high content of the strong antioxidant astaxanthin, which is important in aquaculture, various pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics. Haematococcus pluvialis is usually found in temperate regions around the world. Their resting cysts are often responsible for the blood-red colour seen in the bottom of dried out rock pools and bird baths. This color is caused by astaxanthin which is believed to protect the resting cysts from the detrimental effect of UV-radiation, when exposed to direct sunlight.


  • Spirulina


Spirulina is a microalga that can be consumed by humans and animals. It is usually taken by humans as a nutritional supplement and is made primarily from two species of cyanobacteria: Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima. Arthrospira is cultivated worldwide; used as a dietary supplement as well as a whole food; and is available in tablet, flake and powder form. It is also used as a feed supplement in the aquaculture, aquarium, poultry and pet food industries.


Dried Spirulina contains about 60% (51–71%) protein. It is a complete protein containing all essential amino acids, though with reduced amounts of methionine, cysteine and lysine when compared to the proteins of meat, eggs and milk. It is, however, superior to typical plant protein, such as that from legumes.


Spirulina's lipid content is about 7% by weight, and is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and also provides alpha-linolenicAlpha-linolenic acid is an essential omega-3 (N-3) polyunsaturated fatty acid, needed for normal growth and development. acid (ALA), linoleic acid (LA), stearidonic acid (SDA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (AA). Spirulina contains vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (nicotinamide), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin E. It is also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, selenium, sodium and zincZinc is an essential mineral believed to possess antioxidant properties, which may protect against accelerated aging of the skin and muscles of the body; studies differ as to its effectiveness. In pet foods is considered important in helping to support healthy skin, hair and mucous membranes. Zinc also helps speed up the healing process after an injury. It has antioxidant properties and is also beneficial to the body's immune system. Zinc also helps stimulate the action of more than 100 enzymes, and helps to stimulate the sense of smell, synthesize DNA and RNA, and promotes normal growth and development.. Spirulina contains many pigments which may be beneficial and bioavailable, including beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, chlorophyll-a, xanthophyll, echinenone, myxoxanthophyll, canthaxanthin, diatoxanthin, 3'-hydroxyechinenone, beta-cryptoxanthin and oscillaxanthin, plus the phycobiliproteins c-phycocyanin and allophycocyanin. Spirulina intake has also been found to prevent damage caused by toxins affecting the heart, liver, kidneys, neurons, eyes, ovaries, DNA, and testicles.

  • Algae extractThe term Algae when used as a Pet Food ingredient can be a bit deceiving. While many view it as a holistic or natural type ingredient and associate it with the ocean this may not always be the case.


Algae extract is the result of a process designed to extract a specific beneficial component like as Chlorophyll from an Algal Biomass.


  • Algae meal


Algae meal could refer either to the Algal Biomass without extracting the oil, or to the deoiled oil cake. When oil is removed from the algal biomass, the resulting cake does not have lipid content, and is primarily rich in protein and carbohydrates.


Algae cake is a source of nutrients for humans and animals, because the cake of many algal species has high protein content, sometimes as high as 50 to 60% of dry matter. Except for sulphur-containing amino acids (methionine and cystine), the essential amino acid content in many algal species is favourable for the nutrition of farm animals. Algae are also a rich source of carotene, vitamin C and K, and B-vitamins.


Overall, the algal biomass comprises three main components – Carbohydrates, Proteins and Lipids. Once the lipids have been extracted the left-over cake is primarily composed of carbohydrates and proteins. Depending on the growth medium and the nutrients, algae meal could contain some substances such as lead, arsenic, mercury, and heavy metals.


The exact composition of the algae meal depends on the algae species as well as the growth conditions. In addition, it also depends on the amount of oil that has been extracted.