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The importance of high productivity

Haematococcus pluvialis is a microalgae that has relatively mild optimal growth conditions. The optimal temperature is very close to room temperature, the optimal pH is almost neutral, and as a freshwater microalgae, the medium has almost no salinity.

In general, the neutraceutical market for astaxanthin does not tolerate the use of pesticides, antibiotics, or genetic modifications to H. Pluvialis. If we also take into account that H. pluvialis grows relatively slowly compared to many eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms that thrive under the same cultivation conditions – it becomes clear that the cultivation of H. pluvialis for astaxanthin production is quite challenging.


Challenges of contamination

Everyone who has cultivated microalgae in photobioreactors under mild conditions knows that contamination of H. pluvialis cultures by other undesirable algae species is among the most significant issues of the process. Once a contaminant has gained ground in a photobioreactor, it is very hard to get completely rid of the contaminant – even when various methods to clean the system are combined!

So what is the best way to deal with the challenge of contamination? Algalíf has identified that the key factor to maintaining high culture quality and staying away from contamination issues is: Productivity!

Cultivation conditions

Algalíf has now been cultivating Haematococcus pluvialis for astaxanthin production for more than 10 years. One of the most significant takeaways from our extensive experince is that high productivity is not only important to gain as much astaxanthin from the cultivation as possible – but is also a key factor in minimizing the risk of contamination in the cultures. Coupled with early detection by contamination screening, high productivity means that any potential contaminant has less time to establish and take over the culture.

Algalíf has put a lot of effort into optimizing every single detail of the cultivation conditions at all culture stages to maximize the productivity of the photobioreactor systems. The success Algalíf has had in reaching high productivity means that Algalíf has less contamination issues than most other companies cultivating H. pluvialis, and is thus able to provide products of very high quality.

Jan Eric Jessen

An Algalif Blog by Jan Eric Jessen, M.Sc., Head of R&D.



The benefits of astaxanthin for humans will be explored in future blogs – keep up to date by following us at www.algalif.com.


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