Allmicroalgae to double output of algae-based ingredients amid category expansion
13 Oct 2020 --- Allmicroalgae has unveiled plans to scale up its algae production to 120 metric tons of raw materials per year by 2022. The increase represents a 50 percent expansion of current capacities and a doubling of output compared to its initial volumes.
The move comes as demand for highly sustainable and natural ingredients is steadily on the rise across myriad sectors, reports the company. Microalgae-based proteins are sought-after for their sustainability credentials, and are particularly prominent in the search for alternative proteins and as a functional ingredient.
“The rapidly growing market for natural, sustainable ingredients with added health benefits proves the importance of our goal to make nutritious and sustainable microalgae accessible to all,” says Margarida Eustáquio, head of business development at Allmicroalgae
The growth plans include the installation of a second fermenter and the production of specific algae species tailor-made to customer requirements for different market categories beyond supplements, including food, feed and cosmetics.
The production scale-up will allow the company to commit to higher order volumes, Eustáquio tells NutritionInsight.
“Our products combine excellent functionality and a clear ethical conscience. Our expansion demonstrates perfectly that economic growth and sustainability can be smartly combined when using future-proof raw materials and techniques,” she says.
Furthermore, Allmicroalgae’s recent partnership with Greentech has given the company’s expansion capabilities a boost. The joint venture with the specialist in plant biotechnology and algae processing is expected to support Allmicroalgae’s global presence.
“Greentech can introduce Allmicroalgae to new international markets, like Brazil or the US, potentiating the company’s contacts and position in new worldwide markets,” says Eustáquio.
“Moreover, its technical expertise is of great importance and we can always count on an exchange of knowledge that will contribute to market expansion,” she affirms.
A vast range of applications
The company’s focus on specific species of microalgae opens up a wide range of possibilities for new platforms, with each species boasting its own nutritional profile of macro- and micronutrients.
For example, Chlorella vulgaris and Tetraselmis chuii are microalgae approved for human consumption. They are high in protein, which make them ideal when it comes to high-protein positionings, explains Eustáquio.
“With the growing demand for vegan options, algae-based solutions are a promising approach to achieve high-grade protein profiles without animal proteins.”
High-protein content could translate into products for the sports and fitness sectors, but it could also target aquaculture, agriculture and pet food industries, she underscores.
Furthermore, Chlorella vulgaris offers a vast array of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin B12 and iron, as well as phytochemicals such as carotenes and xanthophylls.
“Chlorella’s detoxifying and antioxidant properties are important from a functional perspective. With immune health currently in focus like never before, the immunity-boosting properties of Allmicroalgae’s Chlorella vulgaris make it a high demand ingredient in the functional health sector,” she adds.
Other species cultivated by the company include Nannochloropsis oceanica, Tetraselmis chuii, Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Scenedesmus sp.
“Nannochloropsis, for example, scores with its high EPA content (almost 50 percent of its total lipids), making it a perfect source of this essential omega-3 fatty acids, Additionally, it is high in protein, dietary fiber and phytochemicals, which are largely responsible for its antioxidant activity,” observes Eustáquio.
On the other hand, Tetraselmis chuii has significant food industry applications to boost both the flavor and nutritional content of savory items and act as a salt substitute.
The production of microalgae
The microalgae are cultivated in photobioreactors and fermentation vessels, with continuous monitoring of cultural parameters and contaminants, before biomass is harvested through ultrafiltration.
They are then spray dried and packed in a protective atmosphere, with each batch verified as free of contaminants by an independent third-party laboratory.
Allmicroalgae does not use fertilizers or pesticides in the species it produces and is committed to using minimal energy, notes the company. Furthermore, the water that circulates in photobioreactors is reused, as are any nutrients still present in the water after production.
In the future, Allmicroalgae will seek to enrich more final products with microalgae to increase daily consumption of the ingredient.
By Missy Green
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