Algatech introduces new algae strain in “milestone” for microalgae industry

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04 Jun 2018 --- Algatechnologies (Algatech) has launched Fucovital, a patented, “all natural,” three percent fucoxanthin oleoresin produced and extracted from microalgae. Fucovital also touts being the first fucoxanthin product granted New Dietary Ingredient Notification (NDIN) acknowledgment for dietary supplements from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Algatech claims to have developed a “unique” extraction process that overcomes previous barriers to the microalgae ingredient's commercialization.

Fucoxanthin, which comes from seaweed, is said to be a powerful antioxidant that can have benefits for preventing obesity-related metabolic syndrome such as impaired glucose management, inflammation, high triglyceride levels and liver disorders.

“Algatech will conduct series of studies to further substantiate the health benefits of fucoxanthin,” says Hagai Stadler, Algatech CEO. “This launch marks a significant milestone for Algatech and the microalgae industry.”

Updated extraction process to enhance efficiency
Fucoxanthin is traditionally extracted from harvested seaweed, which only contains ~0.01 percent fucoxanthin. The process is cited as being expensive and time-consuming and, coupled with prior inadequate extraction methods, limits the amount of fucoxanthin available in the market and increases costs significantly. Moreover, these old processes could expose products to contamination, they relied on the harvest seasons of edible seaweed and they could result in excessive waste.

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Algatechnologies plant.

Algatech claims that its microalgae fucoxanthin production overcomes these significant challenges. Algatech identified a unique strain of algae, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, that contains hundreds of times more concentrated fucoxanthin than seaweed. Algatech then successfully grew and standardized this strain in a closed and controlled cultivation system fully exposed to natural sunlight. In this way, Fucovital can be cultivated year-round and is not dependent on seasonal fluctuations.

“Algatech’s Fucovital is microalgae-derived and for the first time is cultivated year-round in a closed and controlled system fully exposed to natural sunlight. Algatech used its pioneering knowledge and expertise developed over the past 20 years to develop a patented, completely sustainable, fucoxanthin cultivation method and technology,” Efrat Kat, VP, Marketing & Sales at Algatech tells NutritionInsight.

“Fucovital is cultivated in a patented, eco-friendly, closed system, creating a pure, cost-effective new source of fucoxanthin with a consistently high quality,” says Omer Grundman, Ph.D., Algatech’s Chief R&D biologist and leader of R&D for Fucovital. “Our manufacturing process is completely sustainable, relying on power generated at an adjacent solar farm. The closed-cultivation system is unlike other available products, and has a minimal ecologic footprint.”

“Commercialization of new microalgae ingredients is something few companies have achieved,” adds Stadler. “It requires diverse and accomplished research and skills, incorporating marine biology, biotechnology and organic chemical engineering. We are proud to launch Fucovital, with its complete stability and boosted capacity. And it is just one of series of microalgae ingredients Algatech is planning to launch in the next few years.”

Fucovital will be launched in the US and Japan and launches are expected to follow in other regions successively.

Algatech's all-natural astaxanthin
NutritionInsight has previously reported on biotechnology company Algatech in regards to it's growing market presence in the Asia-Pacific and its new delivery forms for its “all-natural astaxanthin.”

NutritionInsight spoke to Algatech's Efrat Kat, VP, Marketing & Sales, at Vitafoods Europe 2018. She detailed how Algatech's approach to astaxanthin differs from other manufacturers. “Proteins, fibers, emulsifiers and everything that the algae have developed over billions of years, in order to survive, are extracted into our astaxanthin. The astaxanthin in the biomass is not stable and this is the reason most manufacturers extract it from the biomass. We developed a standard shelf-life technology that keeps all of the natural components stable and safe.”

“There are no fully organic astaxanthin delivery forms available on the market. Ours is the whole algae, it's less processed”, she adds.

This astaxanthin will be available in tablet delivery form, due to its popularity for supplements. Kat further expands on the importance of technology and research to the company, stating that it continues to invest a quarter of it's budget into R&D.

Microalgae have been touted for several years as a sustainable alternative protein source for foodstuffs and animal feed because under certain conditions, their production requires significantly less agricultural land and water and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions could be low. However, the use of algae in food products is common in Asia, and in recent years it has become popular in the West in dietary supplements and superfoods.

In fact, Innova Market Insights reports +21 percent growth in new food & beverage launches featuring selected sea vegetables (2012-2016, global), which includes algae.

“Microalgae are an untapped source of a variety of health-enhancing bioactive compounds. Since the establishment of Algatech 20 years ago, our team has been working relentlessly to unlock the potential of this first plant on earth,” Kat notes. “Besides the Haematococcus microalgae from which we produce AstaPure astaxanthin, we cultivate several other unique microalgae strains that we have either already commercialized (such as Nannochloropsis, Porphyridium) or will be launching products based on within the year. Supplying the world with pure, 100 percent natural microalgae is not easy. In fact, it requires a tremendous amount of knowledge, experience, fully controlled processes and constant attention to detail.”

By Laxmi Haigh & Lucy Gunn

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