Meet Steve Schlosser, founder and CEO of Florida Algae, LLC. Schlosser has been interested in science ever since he was a child. He was intrigued by cultures in different parts of the world that had been cultivating algae for centuries. After several years of research and visiting some of the areas he had studied about, he decided to experiment with Spirulina algae and different cultivation methods.
Schlosser’s developing interest in algae caught the attention of a close friend and they pooled resources and started Florida Algae, LLC. They then co-located with Florida Institute of Technology’s Marine Research Facility in Vero Beach, Florida and began growing Spirulina. Shortly after, Schlosser began discussions with Arizona State University and brought his company into the US Department of Energy sponsored Algae Testbed Public Private Partnership (ATP3) network.
Schlosser answers questions about his experience with algae and the products of Florida Algae:
What made you want to get involved in the algae industry?
Florida Algae stems from a deep-rooted interest in healthy food related products from algae. We now have hands-on experience in algae cultivation and commercialization and are pleased to contribute this experience as a testbed site for ATP3.
About Florida Algae product Spirulina Ice:
Spirulina Ice is just what it implies; Spirulina suspended in a frozen state that allows all of its vital nutritious value to be captured and made available to those that want to benefit from this amazing a blue-green algae. By using our enhanced methods of growing, harvesting and freezing we are able to bring to the consumer Spirulina in its most pure and unadulterated form.
In a simplified step-by-step explanation, what is the process for creating Spirulina Ice?
[It is] grown in controlled ponds, filtered and washed, then either frozen for Spirulina Ice or packed raw for our local markets.
What feedback have you gotten from your product, Spirulina Ice?
Our customers seem to be loyal and continuous once they have tried it. One of the most common comments is that it helps reduce inflammation.
What is the process for commercializing and marketing Spirulina Ice?
We market Spirulina Ice in magazines and on the internet but mostly directly to the health food industry that sells the product by promoting it through demonstrations.
How does Spirulina Ice compare to other algae food products on the market?
As far as I know we are the first to offer Spirulina in this form. Our methods of extraction and freezing are superior to conventional types of Spirulina processing which generally use high temperature dehydration. Due to our methods of processing, we are able to capture the light and heat sensitive vitamins without degrading them. Everyone knows that eating raw vegetables fresh from the vine is more nutritious than cooked and processed versions. We look at Spirulina as a vegetable that is high in protein and extremely diverse in nutrition. Our processes are all about preserving the natural elements of this algae.
What do you hope to accomplish for Florida Algae LLC and the algae community?
I believe that algae production will be very important in the near future to offset the need for plant based proteins and oils. A much higher concentration of protein can be grown per acre than conventional agriculture. With proper techniques we can reduce the impact of pesticides on the environment and the waste of our fresh water resources. If Florida Algae can benefit this progress by creating algae related products and help to bring in a new era in “Algae-culture” technology, then we will have greatly succeeded in what we have set out to do.