ortuguese microalgae producer, Allmicroalgae Natural Products S.A., has recently begun production of Chlorella vulgaris and other microalgae species via fermentation, which complements the company’s existing photobioreactor capacity. At their state-of-the-art Algafarm production facility in Leiria, 100 km north of Lisbon, the fermentation volume is currently 5000 liters per batch, with the possibility of doubling this capacity.
The growth of microalgae in heterotrophic fermentation (i.e. without light) is quicker and reaches higher cell concentration, enabling greater output volumes and therefore more cost-effective pricing, according to the Algafarm growers. This technology also enables greater batch-to-batch nutrient consistency, they say.
A fermented variant of Chlorella vulgaris is the first species Allmicroalgae is producing through this new technology, with several other strains in the pipeline. The company considers fermentation to also be crucial for producing omega-3 DHA/EPA.
The fermentation technology was developed and established through the project Fermalg, in conjunction with the Portuguese private non-profit research organization, Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (iBET). The project’s purpose was to enhance existing microalgae production in photobioreactors by producing quicker high-quality inoculum, while also starting production of fermented algae.
“Fermentation technology is one of the keys to our flexible production model as it allows greater production possibilities across a variety of microalgae species, to meet different product specification needs and even provide customized solutions,” said Business Development Manager, Sofia Hoffmann de Mendonça. “In saying that, fermented microalgae are not suitable for all applications – some of the most important commercialized species still require sunlight in the cultivation process, to reach maximum amounts of bioactive compounds.”
Allmicroalgae officially presented their new production line at a launch event with key customers and stakeholders on September 20, 2017.