Sodium bicarbonate, also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate, NaHC03, or the common baking soda or drinking soda, is a white crystalline powder that is commonly used as a pH buffer, electrolyte replenisher, and systemic alkalizer in topical cleansing solutions. It is a salt composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions. It has a salty, alkaline taste, resembling that of washing soda (sodium carbonate).
The Natural Origins of Sodium Bicarbonate NaHCo3
The natural mineral form of sodium bicarbonate is nahcolite. It is a component of the mineral natron and is found dissolved in many mineral springs, including the Natron river in Tanzania, where Spirulina algae were recently found to be thriving naturally.
Nahcolite was first described in 1928 for an occurrence in a lava tunnel at Mount Vesuvius, Italy. It occurs naturally in hot springs and saline lakes when evaporation occurs, forming an alkalic crust on the banks.
The name Nacholite refers to the elements which compose Sodium bicarbonate: Na, H, C, and O.
Using Sodium Bicarbonate for Spirulina Cultivation
In algae cultivation, Sodium bicarbonate can be used to raise the total alkalinity of the growth medium, and generally make the maintenance of high pH easier. It is used in virtually all culture medium formulas, including the NASA formula, different variations of the Zarrouk formula and even in our organic formula.
Raising the total alkalinity of the growth medium of spirulina not only creates an environment that is friendly to the algae, it also eliminates all other organisms that may have penetrated into the growth medium.
To sum things up, NaHCo3 is a food-grade mineral compound that is completely safe to use as an algae nutrient. As evidence, it is widely used in the foods industry, commonly identified as E500.
Safety recommendations with Sodium Bicarbonate
- The substance is known to be mildly irritating to the eyes. In case of exposure, rinse with plenty of water for several minutes, then take to a doctor.
- The solution in water is a weak base and reacts to acids.
Where to Get Sodium Bicarbonate?
Sodium Bicarbonate and baking soda are widely available in many food shops and drugstores. However, they are usually sold in very small portions. It may come out cheaper when bought online in bulk. Here are a few options to consider:
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