The Israel-based company said its pure krill oil 4014F grade now contains 19 percent omega-3, up from around 15-17 percent.
According to Elzaphan Hotam, CEO of Enzymotec USA, this is part of the firm’s “ongoing development program” to respond to market requirements for krill. The company currently sells a range of krill versions, which include pure krill oil as well as re-combined versions.
“We have total flexibility in the krill products we supply, as well as the levels of phospholipids, EPA and DHA, and astaxanthin. The improvements in the omega-3 spec we’ve just announced relate to our pure grade krill oil, not to the re-combined versions,” Hotam told NutraIngredients-USA.com.
He said the firm will continue to make improvements to its products, and he didn’t “exclude the opportunity” that the process for delivering higher omega-3 concentrations would also be applied to the re-combined krill ingredients “if and when the time comes”.
Supply chain improvements
Enzymotec’s Pure Krill Oil is produced via a proprietary process that the firm says delivers high levels of phospholipids, omega-3 and astaxanthin from pure krill (Euphasia Superba) biomass.
Hotam would not disclose details of how Enzymotec increased the omega-3 spec in its product, but said that it involved “fine-tuning” parameters in its supply chain and production process.
“We were able to identify key parameters in the supply chain that enabled us to improve the quality of the product without impacting cost for us or for our customers.”
A 19 percent omega-3 concentration means that, for example, 190mg of total omega-3 would be delivered from 1g of krill oil, as compared to about 150-170mg per gram previously.
Aker BioMarine, which also sells a pure krill oil, told NutraIngredients-USA.com that the omega-3 level in its product was 23 percent. Enzymotec said that in the pure krill oil category it claims to have the highest levels of astaxanthin (200ppm) as well as good shelf life stability, which it says is a mark of high quality.
Enzymotec, Aker and Neptune Technologies & Bioressources are currently the three major global players in the krill market. They each control around one third of the US market for krill.
Krill are tiny shrimp commonly eaten by whales, and form the largest animal biomass in the world. Omega-3 rich krill oil harvested for human purposes accounts for less than one per cent of that biomass.
The minute crustaceans have been in the public eye of late, over concerns that certain krill fishery was not being conducted in a sustainable manner.
Natural foods retailer Whole Foods pulled krill supplements from its shelves, stating that “declines of some predator populations in the areas where the krill fishery operates suggest that fishery management needs to better understand how to evaluate the prey requirements of other marine species in order to set sustainable catch levels for krill.”
Enzymotec confirmed its krill products are sustainably harvested. It sources its products only from vessels and facilities monitored by Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), it said.