Fermented horizons: NextFerm highlights yeast-derived astaxanthin

Fermented horizons: NextFerm highlights yeast-derived astaxanthin

11 Dec 2018 --- NextFerm Technologies (Nextferm) is an Israeli biotech start-up company that is developing “cluster fermentation and processing technologies” and producing non-GMO fermentation-derived ingredients for the global food and feed industries. According to the company, its strategy is “comprehensive and focused on developing novel or ‘better than’ active ingredients via a heavy investment in science and technology to provide a lasting edge.”

In September, NextFerm and Mascoma LLC, a subsidiary of Canadian business Lallemand Inc. signed a commercial joint development agreement that will expand their collaboration into the biofuels category.

Speaking to NutritionInsight recently, Elzaphan Hotam, Vice President for Global Marketing at NextFerm says: “cutting-edge innovation in yeast fermentation, down-stream processing and scientific research is a core principle for our business. The areas which we have developed, or will still develop include baker’s yeast, proteins, prebiotics and carotenoids. These are our four business segments.”

Hotam notes that the company’s yeast-derived astaxanthin is: “merely the first of many” and has “significant advantages over existing algae-based solutions.”

“To start with, this unique form of astaxanthin is natural.  For certain yeast strains, astaxanthin is a means to self-preservation.  In nature, this is expressed in relatively low concentrations and in order to make it commercially viable you need to enhance those properties of the yeast significantly. This is very much like naturally breeding animals or crops, so they can express certain traits that humans are seeking.  We have now brought it to a place where it is very competitive and economical, and we will continue to increase and to further the scientific and technological gap between us and those present and for future competition,” Hotam explains.

“With our new astaxanthin, the fact that is comes from yeast as opposed to algae gives the astaxanthin a slightly different structure which results in fast and effective absorption,” he notes.

He claims that the company's approach on “fermented astaxanthin” and the applications presented, which include flavorless, odorless, 10 percent universal beadlets and 10 percent free-flowing dispersion, have been a huge success. "So far we have been exposed to many brands sharing with us past failures due to algae-astaxanthin physical limitations (low potency and bad odor/flavor), thus opening for us those applications including significantly smaller cap sizes, food and beverages and gummies," he says. Click to Enlarge

In terms of applications, Hotam claims that this type of astaxanthin can be used in “any place where you would need a premix.”

“For example, it could be used in sports nutrition applications, where you have powders, ready-to-drink (RTD) protein drinks, where athletes need or would prefer to have a powerful antioxidant or anti-inflammatory agent or other RTD sachets. It is also suitable in gummies, which are easy to prepare, with no odor whatsoever. These are all in line with directions that we are taking in the market,” he confirms.

“Of course, these are some of the trends that everybody sees. Everybody wants more naturality, as clean a label as possible, the need for science, the notion for fermentation and fermented ingredients. This growing awareness to the benefits of what fermentation can do for so-called ‘actives’ is growing significantly and I think that our approach definitely helps that and addresses those needs rather efficiently,” he adds.

Astaxanthin is a reasonably well-known supplement, but by bringing this new exciting story of the first and only fermented astaxanthin, it has the potential to lead to new conversations with the end-consumer, according to Hotam.

“With our new astaxanthin, the fact that is comes from yeast as opposed to algae gives it a slightly different structure, which results in fast and effective absorption,” he concludes.

By Elizabeth Green

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