Arizona U Expert Impressed By Aztec Spirulina’s High Quality, Bats For Popularization In PH

DR. JOEL CUELLO is a professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering He is an expert in growing algae for large scale production, including Spirulina. Ha also has expertise in space farming or advanced life support.
Dr. Cuello visited the production facility of Aztec Foodgrowers Corp. in Cainta, Rizal in 2017 and was greatly impressed by the high level of cleanliness in the Spirulina farm that is under roof and walled with screen.
An expert from the University of Arizona in the United States has praised the high quality of Aztec Spirulina produced at a modern facility in Cainta, Rizal, which he visited recently. The company, Aztec Foodgrowers Corp., is owned by Engr. Napoleon Puente and his family.

The expert is Dr. Joel Cuello, a professor at the University of Arizona’s Department of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering. His expertise is in applying engineering in agricultural and biological systems. One example is in the growing of algae, like Spirulina, for large scale commercial production. He is also an expert in space farming or advanced life support.

Engr. Napoleon Puente collecting sample Spirulina in the growing pond made of concrete.
Dr. Cuello said that the Aztec growing facility observes a high level of cleanliness. The Spirulina is cultured in ponds under a roof and walls made of screen. The farm is unlike the production facilities in other countries which are usually in open ponds outdoor. At the Aztec growing facility, he said, he did not see any contamination because it is very hygienic.

He considers Aztec’s operation as really green and sustainable. The natural product that the company is producing is really of high value and quality.

Samples of Aztec Spirulina capsules and granules.
Engr. Napoleon Puente showing a pack of Aztec Spirulina granules and a bottle of capsules.

Dr. Cuello said that Spirulina is a very important source of nutrition and urged that more Filipinos should partake of it. He pointed out that Spirulina, the blue green algae, is a natural source of proteins that is available out there. This is not a new discovery. He said that it has been known for ages by ancient cultures like China. The Chinese have been using it as food for humans and even for animals like ducks, pigs and fish for centuries now. The main benefit, he said, is the high protein content of 60 to 70 percent in a number of Spirulina strains. Spirulina also contains some substances that’s considered antioxidants which are very good in protecting cells against damages. Spirulina also contains some beneficial fatty acids as well as other useful chemicals.

Engr. Napoleon Puente (right) and daughter Patricia who is in charge of marketing Aztec Spirulina.
He stressed that everybody should be taking Spirulina, including pregnant moms, children, athletes, those on diet and everyone else.

Dr. Cuello disclosed that he came to know of Aztec Spirulina after reading the article written by this author (Zac B. Sarian) in the Sunday magazine of Manila Bulletin, Panorama, during a visit to the Philippines some three years ago. He said that the article caught his attention and in fact saved the page. In his visit this year (2017), he was lucky to visit the farm in Cainta.

What does Dr. Cuello think about the benefits that Spirulina can contribute to the world? He said that the world’s population is now about 7 billion people. By 2050, it will go up to 9.5 billion. The 2.5 billion additional people, he said, is just like adding another China and India to our planet. And that would mean our food production will have to increase by 70% and crop production will have to double to be able to meet that astronomical demand.

And so, he said, there is a huge pressure on our resources in terms of land, water, nutrients, and energy. The sad news is that most of our arable land globally is being utilized, hence there is not a lot of land that is still remaining for agriculture. A lot of fresh water is already being consumed. And nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus, are quite expensive. And so we need a source of food that is really full of nutrients that is easily grown and would be accessible to a lot of people. That is algae, particularly Spirulina, which is a very rich source of protein plus some other beneficial nutrients and compounds.

Nurse Valerie Puente, the founder’s better half, sharing the benefits of Spirulina to attendees of the Agri-Kapihan Forum at the Quezon Memoriaql Circle in Quezon City.

His aspiration for the Philippines, Dr. Cuello said, is that Spirulina be well recognized as a rich source of nutrients for Filipinos. He stressed that the Philippines is a small country with a huge population that is still exploding. So there is a need for a food product like Spirulina to be well-recognized and popularized in this country.

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