Ink/pigments from spirulina?

I did various experiments last week trying to extract pigments. Yesterdayevening I came home from a short trip and noticed that experiment #7 had developed a blue-isch foam. There was no visible separation of layers in the bottle not even when I put it in front of a strong light. The fluid remained very dark. So I took a pipet and took some of the upper layer and it was blue. Going in about 5cm and the fluid became very dark green again. I spread some of the top layer on a wooden panel and after letting it soak in the wood was nicely stained with a blue color.

Basicly what I have done is blended (10min) 2 tablespoons of dried spirulina in 400ml of demi water. That resulted in a very foamy dark green mix. After letting it settle I added 40ml of methanol and put it in an ultrasonic bath for 20min. The result of that just settled in a bottle on my desk for about 80hours…

Next I tried to boil the water out of the mixture but now when I poured it into a metal pot it became clear that actually two colors; red and blue where in there. They didn’t seem to mix up; the blue more to the sides/bottom and the red on top/middle. I heated the pan up very slowly.. the water first became grey, brown and after a while dark green. Boiling most of the water out resulted in a sticky, dark green, tick paint like, slurry. It smells a bit like smoked fish or baked red meat even.. After scraping it out and letting it airdry for about a day it became at sticky emulsion, like mastic… Easy to roll sticky balls with to plug holes or something.

Next experiments; see what else I can color with the blue water, try to separate blue and red, try to extract in pure (bio)ethanol, dissolve paste in glycerol and use as ink,…

GIY Algeafarm

It took me some time to gather all the stuff I needed but my small indoor algeafarm is now up and running.. I constructed a box from insulationboard and mounted a fluorescent growlamp inside. To fully use the light, and heatloss, of the growlight I lined the inside of the box with aluminiumfoil. The growlight is controlled by a timerswitch on a 16/8 hour light/dark cycle. With just the growlight, the inside temperature of the box reached to about 25°C. For optimal growing conditions Spirulina likes it a bit warmer so I added a propagator heatmat in there. Now the temperature is around 33°C wich is perfect.

I had some issues with preparing the Zarrouk grow medium. The base for this medium is distilled water but I thought I’d give it a go with just plain tap water… Turns I couldn’t dissolve 17grams of soda and bakingsoda in tap water. The final solution looked like some milky water so not all the salts were disolved. I tried to add some algea to that mix but after a few hours all the loose salts and the spirulina had binded together in one clump. So I went to the hardware store for some deminerelised water and started over. This time it worked and the growmedium looked clean.  I prepared 500ml of growmedium and added 150ml of culture from my ‘motherbottle’. Today, about 36 hours later the seem to be multiplying quickly. The bottle looks a lot greener.