Suppliers' News

Hawaii-based company produces natural astaxanthin from new fermentation process

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

A Hawaii-based company, Kuehnle AgroSystems, developed a game-changing, high-capacity fermentation manufacturing process to supply natural astaxanthin into the aquafeeds market.

Astaxanthin is a recognized antioxidant and anti-stress pigment for red fish and crustaceans. Currently, the bulk of astaxanthin available in the billion-dollar global market is chemically synthesized in order to meet volume demands spurred on by the feed industry. Astaxanthin is found in the highest abundance in the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis. Legacy production technologies for natural astaxanthin from Haematococcus lack the ability to scale cost-effectively into mass production, limiting its use to nutritional supplements valued for people and pets.

Kuehnle AgroSystems’ pioneering fermentation process enables fast, high-density production of algal astaxanthin in vertical tanks completely in the dark, with no light required. Compared to production using raceways or photobioreactors, the software-controlled aerobic fermentation has more sustainable land and water use, reduces operational times and costs by 80% to 90%, and addresses the occurrence of Haematococcus culture failure due to weather and predation.

Only Kuehnle AgroSystems produces Haematococcus algae by dark fermentation. Haematococcus is a natural source of astaxanthin that does not arise from mutagenized or genetically engineered microbes (such as Paracoccus bacteria and yeast). The company’s product was proven effective in Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and vannamei shrimp feed trials by third parties.  

Manufacturing plans are still in development, and the product is not yet available for commercial sale. While the company is assessing all possible options, it is actively seeking partnerships and is fielding immense interest from the industry. 


Photo caption: Dried astaxanthin-rich Haematococcus pluvialis produced in dark fermentation by Kuehnle AgroSystems.


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