IMPLEMENTATION OF A SUSTAINABLE AND COMPETITIVE SYSTEM TO SIMULTANEOUSLY PRODUCE ASTAXANTHIN AND OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS IN MICROALGAE FOR ACQUACULTURE AND HUMAN NUTRITION

Starting date
September 1, 2018
Duration (months)
18
Departments
Biotechnology
Managers or local contacts
Ballottari Matteo

This project aims at developing an innovative and commercially competitive production platform for high value products as Astaxanthin and Omega-3, to be used for human nutrition or aquaculture.

Astaxanthin is a pigment primary produced by microalgae: this carotenoid has a strong antioxidant power and it is used in different fields as healthcare, food/feed supplementation and as pigmenting agent in aquaculture. However, cultivation of the main microalgae species producing Astaxanthin is costly due to low biomass productivity or low Astaxanthin content, causing an extremely high price of this molecule on the market.

Marine microalgae are also the primary producers of Omega-3, very long chain fatty acids, essential components of high quality diets for humans, being related to cardiovascular wellness, and proper visual and cognitive development. However, due to the high cost of microalgae cultivation, the market of Omega-3 is mostly based on fish or krill oils, with high costs and environment impacts associated.

New sources of Astaxanthin and Omega-3 must thus be implemented: based on the results obtained in ERC-Stg-SOLENALGAE, an innovative, low cost and high productive strategy can be proposed for simultaneous Astaxanthin and Omega-3 production in the robust and fast growing marine microalgae species Nannochloropsis gaditana.

The main objectives of the ASTAOMEGA project will be:

  1. To validate to a demonstration stage the ASTAOMEGA system
  2. The assessment of the market size and market requirements, through extensive market analysis
  3. The identification of the best suitable commercial route to be undertaken to take the ASTAOMEGA system to the market, as inception of a spin-off company and/or the licensing agreements on the IPR exploitation with the interested end-users.

The ASTAOMEGA team is confident that the outcomes of this project are poised to exert a beneficial impact on the European microalgae industry and nutraceuticals market

Sponsors:

ERC
Funds: assigned and managed by the department
Syllabus: EUROPA - Progetti Europei

Project participants

Matteo Ballottari
Associate Professor

Activities

Research facilities