The strain, created alongside scientists from MarBiotech and Greencolab, exhibits properties suggesting a usefulness in sports nutrition-focused products such as drinks and supplements.
Crucially, the strain’s creators think its organoleptic properties improve on current Chlorella strains that have an undesirable “grassy” taste, intense green colour and fishy odour.
Its production is the result of a multi-staged production chain, in which Allmicroalgae first up-scaled the Chlorella’s production in its facilities, based in Leiria, Portugal.
Novel food strains
Here novel strains from species such as Chlorella vulgaris, Spirulina and Tetraselmis already registered as novel food were selected, to improve the quality of the produced biomass.
Relying on random mutagenesis, where mutations occur spontaneously, they were induced experimentally using laboratory procedures to isolate microalgae strains with different traits.
According to the team, two Chlorella strains were isolated C3 and GL3. C3 is able to grow significantly faster on solid medium as compared to the wildtype microalgae.
Although C3 cells contained a higher protein content, GL3 displayed lower carotenoid levels, and a higher protein content different amino acid profile than the wildtype.
Glutamic acid was present in similar amounts in soy and Spirulina, which was not observed in other strains of Chlorella.
The GL3 cells also reached higher cell concentrations than the wildtype, suggesting it may be a viable source of protein, and as such suitable for large scale production.
ILVO & IRTA
The microalgae was then shipped to the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) in Belgium, where its properties were assessed for use in food.
The strain was also given to the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) in Spain and the German Institute of Food Technologies (DIL).
In collaboration with food producers, both organisations will then aim to optimise formulations using the new Chlorella with the eventual goal of developing innovative products such as sports drinks that improve on nutritional levels and desirable sensorial properties.
Foods made with the new Chlorella will be fully characterised for its biochemical, technological and sensorial perspectives.
Later, food producers will look to upscale the best formulations and assess market uptake.