INCJ and Mitsubishi Corporation to Invest in Microalgae Protein Maker Tavelmout

[Japan] Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ) and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) are pleased to announce their joint investment in Tavelmout Corporation (Tavelmout) through the acceptance of a third-party allocation of shares by Tavelmout. The total investment amounts to 1.7 billion yen, evenly split between INCJ and MC.

Tavelmout is a bio-venture company established by the Chitose Group in 2014. After this capital increase, INCJ and MC will join Tavelmout as new shareholders, each with 31.43% ownership of the company. Tavelmout plans to utilize the funds raised towards the construction of a new production site in Brunei.

Algae can grow by photosynthesis alone, and due to its high productivity per unit area, is attracting attention as a vital protein source. Spirulina, with a particularly high protein content (over 65% on a dry weight basis) and nutritional value, and rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibers, figures highly among those dubbed as the “big superfoods.”

As the global population grows and dietary habits change in accordance with economic development in emerging countries, worldwide protein demand is expected to increase substantially in the future. There are forecasts of growing food demand exceeding supply, with imbalances occurring as early as 2030.

Through their participation in Tavelmout, a company aiming for mass production and global popularization of Spirulina, MC and INCJ aim to contribute to the diversification of sustainable protein sources.

What is “Spirulina”

Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth originating about 3.5 billion years ago. It has been used as a valuable nutritious source since Maya civilization and has a long history of human consumption.

Spirulina is incredibly nutritious containing more than 60 kinds of nutrients. It is characterized by its high protein content among microalgal species, which makes up 65% of its dry weight. Spirulina is typically used as health foods in the form of dry powder or tablet, and is widely known as “the king of superfoods” overseas.

In addition to technologies of strain development and mass cultivation accumulated by the Chitose Group for organisms including microbes, microalgal cells, and animal cells, Tavelmout Corp. has developed a technology to process Spirulina biomass, and has succeeded in developing a “Raw Spirulina” product hat makes full use of the characteristics of Spirulina ― highly rich in protein and nutrients. As for cultivation, in addition to the open-pond system commonly used for cultivation of microalgae, a novel, economically feasible, and scalable closed flat panel photobioreactor (PBR, an apparatus to cultivate photosynthetic organisms including microalgae) system has been developed. Protein productivity using the present PBR system is about 20 times higher than that of soybeans.

Soybeans are said to be the crop of highest protein productivity in present-day agricultural production systems.

 

View original article at: INCJ and Mitsubishi Corporation to Invest in Microalgae Protein Maker Tavelmout

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