On January 2016, Perth-based Algae.Tec Perth-based Algae.Tec has started production at a new facility at its manufacturing and development centre in Atlanta in the US that can grow more than 50 tonnes of algae annually for nutraceuticals market. The company share price is blooming after the company started producing algae for the nutraceuticals market.
Nutraceuticals are products resulting from food sources - such as algae - which have nutritional and other health benefits associated with it and are generally sold in a medicinal form, For instance, dietary supplements.
According to Algae.Tec the global market size for algae-based nutraceuticals is more than USD 250 million annually, and algae can sell from USD 10,000 to more than USD 100,000 per tonne for nutraceuticals use. The price of algae varies on different parameters such as its nutritional value, the speed at which it grows and the type of algae produced. The company is now looking for funds to upsurge the production capacity in Atlanta. A commercial plant of full size can produce more than 10, 000 tonnes of algae annually.
The benefits of algae are well known, but producing it on a commercial scale had been a problem. Most production of algae is in large, open ponds which makes it difficult to grow on a consistent basis and at consistent cost and quality.
But Algae.Tec grows algae indoors on a very large surface area covered by a very thin film of water. The algae is supplied with carbon dioxide, light and plant nutrients to create a continuous algal bloom.
According to the company, managing director the largest market for algae-based nutraceuticals will be Asia, especially China, where Chinese consumers use algae-based products to relieve gut problems. It is a source of omega-3 oil, zinc, selenium, vitamin B12, vitamin E, beta carotene and Vitamin C. Algae is used in various dietary supplements, food additives, health products and face creams.
Algae.Tec is also developing technology for the production of algae-based biofuels, including biodiesel, jet fuel and ethanol. The company - in conjunction with India's Reliance Group - hopes to commission a plant for biofuel evaluation in India in the first half of the 2016 calendar year.
Functional food refers to processed foods containing ingredients that aid specific bodily functions in addition to being nutritious such as oatmeal, prebiotic and probiotic among others. Increased awareness among consumers about health benefits of foods and beverages and their nutritional benefits for potential disease prevention and overall wellness are key factors driving growth in the global market for functional foods and beverages.
Beta-carotene was the first carotenoid from algae to be commercialized. Beta-carotene is the precursor for Vitamin A biosynthesis in the body. Like all other carotenoids, beta-carotene is an antioxidant. It protects the body from damaging molecules called free radicals. It also contains other benefits promoting good health. Moreover, deficiency of beta carotene can leads many health related problems in human and animal body. Therefore, consumption of beta carotene is essential for living beings.
In addition, shift in preference towards natural ingredients and to meet the rising demand of functional algae derived beta carotene is projected to be the bright option.