Date of Completion

Summer 5-1-2015

Thesis Advisor(s)

Marcy Balunas, Kristen Kimball

Honors Major

Physiology and Neurobiology


Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmaceutics


More people die annually from cardiovascular disease than from any other cause. Two risk factors for cardiovascular disease are hyperlipidemia and inflammation. Current drugs that are prescribed to regulate lipid levels often have adverse effects such as liver dysfunction. Blue-green algae (BGA), also known as cyanobacteria, have been consumed for years for their health benefits because they are believed to increase energy and prevent disease. One genus of edible blue-green algae is Spirulina plantesis (SP, Spirulina). Various studies have shown that Spirulina may have anti-cancer and anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial properties. In a previous study, Spirulina platensis lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels in hyperlipidemic rats. The rats were fed a Spirulina supplemented diet and their lipid levels were measured by their fecal output and intestinal absorption. However, the study did not involve isolation of the compounds responsible for this biological activity. The goal of this project is to isolate the specific compound(s) responsible for the anti-inflammatory and hypolipidemic effects of Spirulina platensis.