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Martek launches allergen-free DHA

By Lorraine Heller , 25-Mar-2008

Martek BioSciences has launched a new protein-free version of its flagship DHA ingredient, which the firm is positioning for use in foods and supplements that contain no allergens.

Martek's regular microencapsulated Life'sDHA ingredient, which is derived from microalgae, contains soy and milk proteins in the matrix used to encapsulate the powder. Life'sDHA oils that are not microencapsulated do not contain dairy or soy proteins, but manufacturers of foods and beverages tend to opt for the powder form of the ingredient as this is more easily incorporated into their formulations. However, the protein in the regular version of Life's DHA may prove a barrier to its use in products that are designed to be allergen-free, or if a manufacturer does not want to label the presence of allergens. "Many of our food and beverage customers already place an allergen statement on their products because they have other ingredients, or a number of ingredients that contain allergen and/or allergen proteins, so they have no concerns over using our standard life'sDHA powders," Martek told NutraIngredients-USA.com. In order to plug this gap in the market, the firm this month launched its life'sDHA protein-free powder, which does not require the use of an allergen label statement. "This protein-free powder is ideal for customers who do not currently use an allergen statement on their products and who would like to avoid doing so," said Martek. The protein-free powder is encapsulated using a matrix that does not utilize any dairy or soy proteins. Potency, regulation and price


It contains a minimum of 100mg per gram of life's DHA - the same DHA content as the firm's other standard life'sDHA powder product. Martek said the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status of its life'sDHA is extendable to this new version of the product. There is no difference in cost between the protein-free and standard life'sDHA powders, said the firm. According to Jaouad Fichtali, vice president of development for Martek, the new product "provides manufacturers great stability and sensory characteristics for a range of food and supplement applications." Due to the absence of dairy and soy proteins, the new powder can also be easily used in beverages with a PH level of four or below, said Martek. Life'sDHA Life'sDHA, a vegetarian docosahexaenoic acid omega-3, is made from microalgae under tightly controlled manufacturing conditions. Martek differentiates life'sDHA as being free from the contaminants that may be present in fish oils. DHA is found in human breast milk and is thought to be important to infant development.


Martek's vegetarian source of omega-3 DHA is used in foods, beverages, infant formula and supplements. The disadvantage of omega-3 derived from marine algae is that it lacks the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) found in oily fish and is linked to anti-inflammatory benefits.


However, DHA is thought to be important for the healthy development of the brain and the eyes, and supports brain, eye and cardiovascular health throughout life. Clinical studies are also underway to evaluate the role of DHA omega-3 in decreasing the prevalence of certain neurological disorders.

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