[China] DeHe Biotech, a China-based supplier of microalgae raw materials, believes that consumers are increasingly aware of the benefits of microalgae and that the industry has a “strong” future.
Founded three years ago, the company uses artificial light instead of sunlight to grow its strain of microalgae, which is able to produce the antioxidant astaxanthin.
Felix Chai, DeHe Biotech CEO, told Jules Scully at Vitafoods Asia 2018 how the company aims to build a global B2B platform of microalgae products for use in functional foods and drinks as well pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products.
“Microalgae has been used in supplements for many, many years,” he said. “Recently more and more consumers are aware of the benefit that microalgae can bring. So more and more applications are developed in food, functional food, functional drinks.
“For example, I have a customer who is developing astaxanthin chocolates. We also have customers who develop microalgae noodles… More and more applications have been discovered with microalgae as an active ingredient.”
He added: “Astaxanthin is known for its super antioxidant function. It cleans up the free radicals inside your body. So when you consume astaxanthin it will help to clean up your blood vessels.”
The company, which cultivates its products indoors, highlighted the sustainable benefits of growing algae.
Chai said: “Microalgae is a plant, it needs CO2 and sunlight to have photosynthesis, so the end product of the process is oxygen, which everyone needs. The end product of the waste of production is really just water, which can be recycled and used.
“When we extract astaxanthin in this case, we extract it from the algae and the leftover of the algae can be used in feed for animals. So everything is consumed; nothing is wasted. This is considered as a very sustainable way of producing the product… It actually helps the environment.”
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