Corbion harnesses algae fermentation to develop omega-rich oils
04 May 2023 --- Corbion has entered the field of human nutrition with algae-based products rich in omega 3 and omega 9, with environmental sustainability at a high focus. The product range is made from different oils, enabling dietary supplement manufacturers to work with building blocks for precision and higher concentrations.
NutritionInsight speaks with Ruud Peerbooms, president of Corbion Algae Ingredients, about the AlgaVia portfolio. He details that it is available now to supplement manufacturers via leading concentrated Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) refiners.
“Algae fermentation is a rich platform that can provide sustainable active nutrition solutions on different fronts. There is so much to be done in that field. After acquiring TerraVia in 2017, we were able to apply a feasible innovation focus in our R&D efforts. Today we have an over 9,000 strain library that is constantly being improved and developed to produce nutrition,” Peerbooms says.
Battling nutritional challenges
While detailing the production process, Peerbooms says, “for us, feasible innovation is pivotal – to create solutions that will address our customers’ nutritional challenges and advance their sustainability.”
One of the features the company is looking at is the concentration of omega 3 and omega 9 and the strains are developed to be “the best in class in terms of concentration.”
Corbion takes these selected improved strains, once sourced from nature, and transforms them into omega 3 and omega 9 in oil format. The algae are grown via a closed fermentation system independent of light and using sugar from sugarcane – one of the world’s most productive sugar sources compared to other sugar feedstock sources like corn and wheat.
“According to different organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, many different nutritional challenges must be tackled. Food and nutrition production impacts our climate and ecosystems enormously,” Peerbooms underscores.
“For us, these challenges need to be addressed sustainably within the planetary boundaries. Innovation is required to address the gap and to achieve a balance between planetary and healthy boundaries.”
Within planetary boundaries
He further notes that the traditional way of doing things is “no longer sufficient.”
“We all have a role to play aligning our investments, and our team of scientists and experts in organism development, fermentation, application, sustainability and critical collaborations in the industries we serve are the key to sustainably addressing the gap.”
“From the sustainability point of view, the AlgaVia production setup is designed for achieving zero impact on the ocean considering omega 3 and low carbon footprint, land and water use across all products,” Peerbooms states.
He further details that in 2020, the company completed a full Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) demonstrating that the omega 3s from the AlgaPrime DHA – omega 3 DHA in biomass powder version designed for animal nutrition – have a lower carbon footprint than traditional fish oil sources.
“Omega 3 from AlgaPrime DHA Liquid Suspension has about 29% to 32% lower impact on climate compared to traditional sources of fish oil. The ISO 14040/44-compliant LCA was peer-reviewed and accepted for scientific publication in Algal Research on September 15, 2021. This set the standard for our innovation pipeline and we are conducting similar studies for our new AlgaVia portfolio.”
He concludes that the innovation pipeline is growing and Corbion is exploring different avenues of innovation for the next months and years, from functional lipids and critical micronutrients to functional proteins.
By Beatrice Wihlander
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