Incorporation of Spirulina (Athrospira platensis) in Traditional Egyptian Cookies as a Source of Natural Bioactive Molecules and Functional Ingredients: Preparation and Sensory Evaluation of Nutrition Snack for School Children

Main Article Content

D. M. El Nakib
M. M. Ibrahim
N. S. Mahmoud
E. N. Abd El Rahman
A. E. Ghaly


Spirulina (Athrospira platensis) is very rich in protein, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals and its incorporation into foods will enrich their nutritional values. The objectives of this study were to incorporate spirulina into traditional Egyptian cookies as a source of natural bioactive molecules and to evaluate the effect of the amount of added spirulina on their sensory properties (texture, shred, color, odor and taste) and acceptability using a panel of 10 members. The results indicated that addition of spirulina to the cookies affected the texture, the mouth feel, the easiness with which breaking a cookie was made, the fragmentation and the appearance of the break line.  The cookies that received no spirulina had smoother texture and moist-smooth mouth feel whereas those received spirulina had more sandy-course texture and heavy-chewy mouth feel. Increasing spirulina content from 5 to 15% made the cookies more firm and harder to break. Irregular large parts and continuous break lines were observed with the cookies that received no spirulina while more granules and smaller parts with irregular line were observed with all the cookies that received spirulina. The results showed that adding spirulina to cookies may help maintain their integrity and reduce breakage during packaging and distributions. The color of the cookies that received no spirulina was yellow to yellow-orange and that of the cookies that received 5 and 10% spirulina was yellow- green to green-yellow-green while that of the cookies received 15% spirulina was green-yellow-green to green-blue-green. All the baked cookies had a noticeable smell and the odor intensity ranged from faint to strong. Increasing the spirulina content from 5 to 15% (3-fold) increased the odor intensity by 19.6%. The nature of the smell of the cookies that received 0 and 5% spirulina was pleasant while that of the cookies that revived 10 and 15% spirulina was musty-seawater and fishy-seawater, respectively. The addition of spirulina affected both the taste and the degree of acceptance. The taste of the cookies that received no spirulina was sweet-delicious with a high degree of acceptance while the taste of the cookies that received spirulina varied from sweet-sour to bitter-fishy with lower degree of acceptance. Adding 5% spirulina did not affect the smell or the taste. However, addition of a flavoring agent to cookies having higher spirulina contents (10-15%) may be required to musk the smell and taste of spirulina. The results showed that addition of spirulina enhanced the nutritional value of the cookies by increasing the protein content of the cookies and enriching them with vitamins, mineral, omega fatty acids and amino acids, all of which have significant health benefits to school children. Therefore, a further work should be directed towards improving the smell and the taste of spirulina cookies.

Spirulina, cookies, amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, texture, shred, color, odor, taste.

Article Details

How to Cite
Nakib, D. M. E., Ibrahim, M. M., Mahmoud, N. S., Rahman, E. N. A. E., & Ghaly, A. E. (2019). Incorporation of Spirulina (Athrospira platensis) in Traditional Egyptian Cookies as a Source of Natural Bioactive Molecules and Functional Ingredients: Preparation and Sensory Evaluation of Nutrition Snack for School Children. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 9(4), 372-397.
Original Research Article


CAPMAS. Number of students enrolled in schools under the Ministry of education. Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics, Ministry of Education, Egypt; 2019.

Soliman G, Azmi M, El S, Said A. Prevalence of anemia in Egypt (Al-Gharbia Governorate). Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2007;28(2):395- 305.

El Sayed NA, Gad A, Nofal A. Assessment of the prevalence and potential determinants of nutritional anemia in Upper Egypt. Food Nutrition Bulletin. 1999;20(2): 417-421.

Elalfy MS, Hamdy M, Abdel Maksoud S. Pattern of milk feeding and family size as risk factors for iron deficiency anemia among poor Egyptian infants 6 to 24 months old. Nutrition Research. 2012; 32(1):93-99.

Mansour P, Barduagni AS, Ahmed F. Anemia among schoolchildren in Qena Governorate, Upper Egypt East Mediterranean Health Journal. 2004;10(8): 916-920.

Mohamed A, Abo-donia A. Contributing factors of iron deficiency anemia among children under two years attending family health centers in Alexandria. New York Science Journal. 2011;4(1):35.

Selmi AS, Al-Hindi A. Anemia among school children aged 6-11 years old in Gaza Strip, Palestine. Annals of Al-Quds Medicine. 2011;7(1):27-32.

Kanagalingam MG, Forouhi NG, Greer IA. Changes in booking body mass index over a decade: Retrospective analysis from a Glasgow Maternity Hospital. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2005; 112(12):1431-1433.

Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007-2008. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010; 303(2):242-249.

El-Masry SA. Nutritional assessment of Egyptian children. Egyptian Medical Journal. 2007;6(1):40-49.

Shaaban SY, El-Masry SA, Younis NT, Mohamed HH. Malnutrition among preschool children in Cairo. Egyptian Pediatric Association Gazette. 2008;56(1): 26-34.

El-Shafie MA, Bahbah MH, Randa AM. Recent advances in pathophysiology and management of childhood obesity. Master essay, Menoufia: Faculty of Medicine Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt; 2-11.

Hafez AS, EI-Awady MY, Hassan NE. Obesity profile among primary school children in Cairo. Egypt Journal of Community Medicine. 2000;18(1):99- 119.

El-Shafie AM, Sleem AA. Prevalence of obesity in primary school children living in Mit-Ghamr State, Dakahlia Governorate. Master Tesis in Pediatrics, Menoufia: Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt; 2013.

Ismail G. Study of the problem of obesity among primary school children in Alexandria. High Institute of Public Health, Alexandria, Egypt; 1998.

Giroux S. An evaluation of infant growth: The use and interpretation of anthropometry in infants. WHO Working Group on Infant Growth. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2008;73:165–174.

UNICEF. Child rights report, United Nation Children's Fund, New York, New York, USA; 2003.

El-Zanaty F, Way A. Egypt demographic and health survey. National Population Council, Ministry of Health and Population, Cairo, Egypt. 2009;12–13.

El-Gillany A, El-Wehady A, El-Wasify M. Updating and validation of the socioeconomic status scale for health research in Egypt. East Mediterranean Health Journal. 2012;18(9):962– 968.

UNWFP. World Food program Report, United Nations, Rome, Italy; 2009.Available:

Bandarra NM, Pereira PA, Atista L, Vilela MH. Fatty acids, sterol α-tocopherol in Isochrysis galbana. Journal of Food Lipids. 2003;18(1):25-34.

McCarty FM. Clinical potential of spirulina: A source of phycocyanobilin. Journal of Medical Food. 2007;10(4):566- 570.

Gouveia L, Coutinho C, Mendonça E, Batista AP, Sousa I, Bandarra A, Raymundo NM. Functional biscuits with PUFA-ω3 from Isochrysis galbana. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2008;88(5):891–896.

Batista AP, Gouveia L, Bandarra NB, Franco JM, Raymundo AA. Comparison of microalgal biomass profiles as novel functional ingredient for food products. Algal Research. 2013;2(2):164–173.

Khan Z, Bhadouria O, Bisan P. Nutrition and therapeutic potential of spirulina. Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. 2005;6(3):373-379.

Brown M, Mular R, Miller M, Farmer I, Trenerry C. The vitamin content of microalgae used in aquaculture. Journal of Applied Phycology. 1999;11(2):247- 255.

Spolaore P, Joannis-cassan C, Duran E. Commercial applications of microalgae. Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. 2006;101(2):87-96.

Priyadarshani I, Rath B. Commercial and industrial applications of microalgae- A review. Journal of Algal Biomass Utilization. 2012;3(4):89-100.

Becker EW. Microalgae in human and animal nutrition. In Handbook of microalgal culture, A. Richmond (Ed), Oxford: Blackwell). 2004;312- 351.

Donato M, Vilela MH, Bandarra NM. Fatty acids, sterols, α-tocopherol and total carotenoids composition of Diacronema vlkianum. Journal of Food Lipids. 2003; 10(2):267-276.

Gouveia L, Marques AE, Sousa JM, Moura P, Bandara NM. Microalgae source of natural bioactive molecules as functional ingredients. Food Science & Technology Bulletin: Functional Foods. 2010;7(1):21–37.

Molina-Grima E, Belarbi EH, Acien-Fernandez FG, Robles-Medina A, Yusuf C. Recovery of microalgal biomass and metabolites: Process options and economics. Biotechnology Advances. 2003;20(7–8):491–515.

Gami B, Naik A, Patel B. Cultivation of Spirulina species in different liquid media. Journal of Algal Biomass Utilization. 2011; 2(1):15– 26.

Chen YZ, Li YM. Development of nutritious Spirulina noodle. Zhongguo Liangyou Xuebao. 1999;14(4):13-15.

Fradique M, Batista A, Nunes M, Gouveia L, Bandarra N, Raymundo A. Incorporation of Chlorella culgaris and Spirulina maxima biomass on pasta products. Part 1: preparation and evaluation. Journal of Science, Food and Agriculture. 2010; 90(12):1656-1664.

Feng CF, Peng SP. Production method of blue-bacteria- Spirulina drink. Chinese Patent. CN1035425A. 1991.

Adiba BD, Salem B, Nabil S, Abdelkim M. Preliminary characterization of food tablets from date phoenix dactylifera and Spirulina (Spirulina sp.) powders. Powder Technology. 2011;208:725- 730.

Ghaly AE, Hamouda A, Alhatab A. Development and Sensory Evaluation International Journal of Bioprocesse and Biotechnological Advances. 2015;1(2):63-73.

AOAC. Official Methods of Analysis. Association of Analytical Chemists, Rockville, Maryland; 2012.

Salehifar M, Shahbazizadeh S, Khosravi Darani K, Behmadi H, Ferdowsi R. Possibility of using microalgae Spirulina Platensis powder in industrial production of Iranian traditional cookies. Iranian Journal of Nutrition Sciences & Food Technology. 2013;7(1):63-72.

Lyer UM, Dhruv SA, Mani IU. Spirulina and its therapeutic implications as a food product. In: Gershwin ME, Belay A. Spirulina in human nutrition and health. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. 2007;51.

Sharma V, Dunkwal V. Development of Spirulina based “biscuits”: A potential method of value addition. Ethno Medicine. 2012;6(1):31-34.

Lemes AC, Takeuchi KP, de Varvalho JCM, Danesi EDG. Fresh pasta production enriched with Spirulina platensis biomass. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. 2012;55(5):741-750.

Morsy OM, Sharoba AM, El-Desouky AI, Bahlol HE, Abd El Mawla M. Production and evaluation of some extruded food products using spirulina algae. Annals of Agricultural Science, Moshtohor Journal. 2014;54(4):329-342.

Vijayarani V, Ponnalaghu S, Rajathivya J. Development of value-added product using spirulina. International Journal of Health Science and Research. 2012;2(4):42- 47.

Foure A, Bendahan D. Is branched-chain amino acids supplement an efficient nutritional strategy to alleviate skeletal muscle damage: A system review. Nutrients. 2017;9(10):1047-1059.

Meyers KJ, Watkins CB, Pritts MP, Liu RH. Antioxidant and ant proliferative activities of strawberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2003;51(6):6887- 6892.

Olsson ME, Andersson CS, Oredsson S, Berglund RH, Gustavsson K. Antioxidant levels and inhibition of cancer cell proliferation in vitro by extracts from organically and conventionally cultivated strawberries. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54(4):1248-1255.

Becker EW. Micro algae as a source of protein. Journal of Biotechnology Advances. 2007;25(2):207-210.

Nattia JS, Kamisoglu K, Ierapetriton MG, Androulakis IP, Berthiaume F. Branched-chain amino acids supplementation: Impact on signaling and relevant to critical illness. Bio-Medicine. 2013;5(4):449-460.

Bifari F, Roucco C, Decimo I, Fumagalli G, Valerio A, Nisoli E. Amino acids supplements and metabolic health: A potential interplay between intestinal microbiota and system control. Genes and Nutrition. 2017;12(1):12-27.

Akram M, Asif HM, Uzair M, Akhtar N, Madni A, Saleh SMA. Amino acids: A review article. Journal of Medicinal Plants. 2011;5(17):33997-4000.

Swanson D, Block R, Mousa S. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA: Health benefits throughout life. Advances in Nutrition. 2012;3(1):1-7.

Pipingas A, Cockerell R, Grima N, Sinclair A, Stough C, Scholey A, Myers S, Croft K, Sali A, Pase MP. Randomized controlled trial examining the effects of fish oil and multivitamin supplementation on the incorporation of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into red blood cells. Nutrients. 2014;6(6):1956–1970.

Stonehouse WLC. Does consumption of LC omega-3 PUFA enhance cognitive performance in healthy school-aged children and throughout adulthood? Evidence from Clinical Trials. Nutrients. 2014;6(6):2730–2758.

Kamangar F, Emadi A. Vitamins and minerals supplements: Do we really need them? International Journal of Reviews in Medicine. 2012;3(3):221-226.

Meyer F, Galan P. Douville P, Bairati I, Kegle P, Bertrais S. Antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation and prostate cancer prevention in the SU.VI.MAX trial. International Journal of Cancer. 2005; 116(1):182–6.

Lippman SM, Klein EA, Goodman PJ, Lucia MS, Thompson IM, Ford LG. Effect of selenium and vitamin E on risk of prostate cancer and other cancers: The Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, Journal of American Medical Association. 2009;301(1):39– 51.

ATBC-CPG. The effect of vitamin E and beta carotene on the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers in male smokers. The Alpha-Tocopherol, Beta Carotene Cancer Prevention Study Group. New England Journal of Medicine. 1994; 330(10):1029–1035.

Omenn GS, Goodman GE, Thornquist MD, Balmes J, Cullen MR, Glass A. Effects of a combination of beta carotene and vitamin A on lung cancer and cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 1996;334(10):1150–1155.

Sesso HD, Buring JE, Christen WG, Kurth T, Belanger C, MacFadyen J. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in men: The Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. Journal of American Medical Association. 2008; 300(11):2123–2133.

Gaziano JM, Glynn RJ, Christen WG, Kurth T, Belanger C, MacFadyen J. Vitamins E and C in the prevention of prostate and total cancer in men: The Physicians’ Health Study II randomized controlled trial. Journal of American Medical Association. 2009;301(1):52– 62.

Clarke R, Halsey J, Lewington S, Lonn E, Armitage J, Manson JE. Effects of lowering homocysteine levels with B vitamins on cardiovascular disease, cancer, and cause-specific mortality: Meta-analysis of 8 randomized trials involving 37 485 individuals. Archives of International Medicine. 2010;170(10):1622–1631.