[Australia, UK] Brisbane, Australia-based Qponics Limited, an organic producer of high quality, vegetarian EPA/DHA omega-3 oils and other algal products, has formed a collaborative relationship with British company AlgaeCytes Limited, which produces high purity omega-3 oils, omega-6 oils, antioxidants and proteins. The collaboration is expected to lead to commercial algae production by Qponics in 2016.
Dr. Graeme Barnett, Managing Director of Qponics, said the company had been searching the world for a photobioreactor system in which to grow algae for food supplements protected within a warehouse-style building. He said it had to be cost-effective, modular, scalable, and capable of accepting a continuous inflow of organic nutrients to grow algae on a commercial scale.
“This is why Qponics is now collaborating with AlgaeCytes Limited,” Dr. Barnett said. “AlgaeCytes has a photobioreactor technology matching our specifications and a business model compatible with our world view.”
A Letter of Intent to form a collaboration between Qponics and AlgaeCytes was signed in April 2015 in advance of a visit by Dr. Barnett to AlgaeCytes’ facility in Sandwich, Kent, in the United Kingdom.
AlgaeCytes has had a pilot plant operating successfully at the company’s UK research and development facility for the past year, producing algae for the extraction of EPA omega-3 oil. “Our larger-scale commercial product module, with greater capacity than the pilot module, is presently being engineered,” said Dr. Naz Bashir, CEO of AlgaeCytes. “It is expected to be available in 2016 for installation in Britain by AlgaeCytes and in Australia by Qponics.”
The AlgaeCytes modular system was specifically designed to accept nutrient-rich process water – especially from industries including aquaculture, aquaponics, hydroponics, breweries and distilleries.
Qponics is focused on the sustainable production of human food supplements from Australian strains of algae. Omega-3 oils – initially eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and later docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) – will be early products. The algal biomass remaining after oil extraction will be valuable vegetarian high-protein food product.
“A collaboration between AlgaeCytes and Qponics can extend the global market access of both companies for our algae-sourced products,” said Dr. Bashir. “Importantly, Qponics has secured a route to the Asia/Pacific market, the world’s largest and fastest-growing market for algae-sourced products. And AlgaeCytes is well-placed to produce algal products for distribution throughout Europe.”
Dr. Barnett said Qponics was accessing this market through its partnership with Nutrition Care Pharmaceuticals, a nutraceuticals and food supplements manufacturing company based in Melbourne, Victoria. “Qponics is entering the rapidly-growing wholesale omega-3 essential oils market at a time when the traditional marine animal sourced supply-chain is becoming constrained and uncertain, because many oily fish species are in global decline.”
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