BGG to double capacity at astaxanthin farm in southwestern China

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

BGG extracts its astaxanthin from algae grown in a closed tube facility in Yunnan Province, which has reliable amounts of sunshine. BGG photo.
BGG extracts its astaxanthin from algae grown in a closed tube facility in Yunnan Province, which has reliable amounts of sunshine. BGG photo.

Related tags: Astaxanthin, Haematococcus pluvialis, carotenoids, Antioxidants

Chinese astaxanthin supplier Algae Health Science, a subsidiary of BGG World, has announced an expansion of its photobioreactor farming facility that will make it one of the biggest, if not the biggest, sources of the carotenoid in the world.

AHS operates a glass tube facility in Yunnan Province in southwestern China in which it cultivates Haematococcus pluvialis​, the algae species that is the main natural commercial source of the ingredient (astaxanthin can also be produced by chemical synthesis and can be extracted from Phaffia​ yeast). The new expansion is slated take place in two phases.  The first phase, set to take place in the third quarter of 2020, will boost capacity by 25%.  After the second phase is complete the farm will have more than doubled in size, according to the company.

“With this new round of investment in our farm, we will secure enough production capacity to support our growth for the next few years and to position BGG as the leading producer worldwide,”​ said Chunhua Li, chairman and founder of BGG.

Dr Oz boom has endured

Interest in astaxanthin spiked in the US after a segment of the Dr Oz Show in early 2011 when guest Dr Joseph Mercola touted the ingredient’s health benefits.  But unlike some other ingredients that were hyped on the show, the astaxanthin boom proved to have legs.  

Google searches using the term ‘astaxanthin’ spiked after the show.  Taking that level of interest as 100, searches have declined into the 20 to 36 range in the years since.  But that is still as much as triple what the number of searchers was in 2010. 

The global market for astaxanthin was pegged at about $100 million in 2018​ and was projected to grow at low double digit rates into the 2020s. That growth projection was made before the coronavirus crisis, of course.

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