Can pond scum revolutionise food?
One of the most real challenges that we will face in future is the challenge of how to feed ourselves. Climbing food prices already contribute to growing health problems internationally as people turn to cheaper junk food options, low in true nutritional value, or in extreme cases face starvation. As our population grows and natural resources such as agricultural space and soil nutrients decline, the outlook for our future nutritional prospects may start to seem truly grim.
Drastic challenges call for drastic solutions and many are heralding future food sources such as algae as the answer. Food ingredients producers around the world are making significant investments in algae as a way to produce a rich source of nutrients on a far more efficient scale than traditional farming.
Algatechnologies Israel recently announced a $20 million investment to expand the production capacity of natural astaxanthin from microalgae. Hagai Stadler, CEO of Algatech, said:
The past few years have witnessed dramatic growth in awareness of the health benefits of natural astaxanthin. This stems from the publication of a number of important clinical trials showing that regular consumption of astaxanthin helps protect the body from health disorders related to oxidative stress.
In Europe Roquette recently built a microalgae production unit at its headquarters site in Lestrem, France, with an ultimate production capacity of 5,000 tonnes. One of the big success stories of last year was that of its High Lipid Algal Flour which won two Food Ingredients Europe Excellence Awards (read more). The company has been developing its algae business for some time with its chlorella providing a solution for food producers to respond to growing consumer demand for natural functional foods.
Roquette uses a closed process of heterotrophy (fermentation) using bioreactors to cultivate the algae without contamination. The final product is naturally rich in healthy lipids and contains proteins, carbohydrates, fibres and emulsifiers. This gives it a variety of potential applications through its emulsifying and water binding properties to reduce fat ingredients or to boost protein content.
Amongst a broad portfolio of nutritional solutions to be showcased at this year’s Vitafoods, DSM will be introducing life’sOmega 60, a new, even higher potency form of life’sOmega, which will be marketed as a 60% total omega-3 product for dietary supplements. This new form is a high concentrate sourced from algae with an outstanding purity profile that provides DHA/EPA vegetarian omega-3 that is allergen and GMO free.
Heliae an advanced biotechnology company based in Gilbert, Arizona, USA, is a leader in the development of algae production technologies. Heliae was founded by a few members of the Mars family in 2008 with a perspective on the increasingly volatile supply and demand paradigm between food production and population growth. In looking for next-generation technologies the Mars family identified the enormous opportunity algae presented in soil fertility, nutrition, water management, and potentially biofuels. With a focus on technology, the company was founded to help build an industry and unlock the value of algae for a range of markets and geographies. We speak to Dan Simon, CEO & President of Heliae, to find out more…