Canadian firm Solarvest signs up German partners to produce organic algal DHA oil

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Solarvest specializes in the cultivation of Schizochytrium limacinum, an algae species found in the Arctic.
Solarvest specializes in the cultivation of Schizochytrium limacinum, an algae species found in the Arctic.

Related tags: Organic certification, Omega-3 fatty acid

Canadian algae technology firm Solarvest has entered into agreements to produce its omega-3 algae products in the EU. The products will comply with both USDA and EU organic certification requirements, a company official said.

The deal with production partners in Germany that are already well versed in microbial production will shorten the company’s path to market, said Garth Greenham, Solarvest’s chief operating officer.  The company originally hoped to have products on the market in March of this year.

“We are moving ahead on two fronts. There are the challenges we face every day as a public company and the raising of capital never happens as fast as we might hope. We will continue to build up our facility on Prince Edward Island, but this agreement gives us the chance to significantly shorten that time frame,”​ Greenham told NutraIngredients-USA.

Two-faceted deal

The deal involves two production facilities. For competitive reasons Greenham was unwilling to disclose the specific German partners but he said they are two companies that have cooperated in the past. One deal involves the production of sample quanties of the company’s high DHA algal oil. The other deal, involving a second facility, will yield marketable quantities of the ingredient.

“The sample program is active already and I expect will run for the next three or four weeks. We will have sample amounts available for potential customers to sue for sensory trials and formulation testing,”​ Greenham said. “The other facility will look at large scale production.  We already know how to make this at a big scale, but we will be looking at fine tuning cell density and oil yield.”

“Once we have proven the process in their facility we will schedule in the production time hopefully in the third quarter which should get us to market in the first quarter of next year,”​ Greenham said.  Getting some product on the market will help with the capital problem, he said.

“It’s hard to get significant investment until investors see some sales,”​ Greenham said.

Like many other algae companies, Solarvest came to the omega-3s market via a circuitous path that included waypoints in hydrogen production and protein expression for drug development.  For its nutraceutical applications, the company has specialized in the heterotrophic cultivation of Schizochytrium limacinum​, an organism that in the wild inhabits the underside of Artic ice caps.

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