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Israel firm ups astaxanthin concentration

By Shane Starling , 08-Apr-2014
Last updated on 08-Apr-2014 at 13:49 GMT2014-04-08T13:49:23Z

Southern Isreal supplier, Algatechnologies, has launched a 20% astaxanthin oleoresin targeting food supplements, foods and beverages and cosmeceuticals.

This content of astaxanthin exceeds any in the marketplace,” a company spokesperson said.

NutraIngredients recently visited Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava desert where Algatechnologies is based and manufactures its astaxanthin via a closed-pipe network. Then the company hinted at high-dose products in the pipeline (literally), following a $20m (€14.5m) investment in its facilities that expanded production to meet maxed-out demand.

“The new, advanced product allows our customers to offer much smaller, friendlier sized capsules without changing or reducing the astaxanthin dosage,” said Efrat Kat, director of marketing and sales, in a statement.

The firm said the 20% astaxanthin-containing oleoresin was derived using a CO2 extraction technology that dispensed with organic solvents and improved shelf life.

CEO Hagai Stadler added: "This launch of high astaxanthin content oleoresin is in line with our strategy to add value to our customers by  developing advanced product forms as well as new active ingredients utilising Algatech' unique technologies.”

Pinpointed for its antioxidant potential, astaxanthin is the red pigment found in algae and aquatic animals that eat algae. This pigment is part of the algae's defense mechanism when it is exposed to too much sunlight, heat or starved of a food supply.

Algatech triggers the release of the carotenoid by exposing the microalgae variety Haematococcus pluvialis - which it says is the richest known natural source of astaxanthin - to sunlight stress causing the green algae to release astaxanthin and turn red in the process of defending itself against UV damage.

The firm is considering lodging a European Union novel foods application but possesses a New Dietary Ingredient (NDI) and Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) approval in the US where most of its business is done at the moment.

In the European Union the market is challenged due to the lack of novel foods approval and rejected health claims from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

Algatech – a member of NAXA (the Natural Algae Astaxanthin Association) – holds Kosher, Halal ISO 9001-2008, HACCP and GMP international accreditations.

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