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The Powerful New Antioxidant Made of Sun and Algae

Science & Tech  (tags: Israel, research, Algatechnologies, astaxanthin, health, clean technologies )

- 1907 days ago -
The AstaPure production plant is producing astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant made from red microalgae, and not surprisingly is a model of clean-tech. It's powered by solar energy and recycles the cooling water involved in the manufacturing process.

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Beth S (330)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 9:13 pm
How about some astaxanthin with your tea and scones? Made from sunshine and red microalgae in Israel’s Arava Valley, the antioxidant is believed to support and protect the immune, cardiovascular and nervous system, joints and muscles.

The British investment firm Grovepoint Capital was so enthused about the Algatechnologies product, AstaPure, that it recently added it to its permanent menu.

Algatechnologies Chairman Ed Hofland couldn’t reveal the exact terms of the February transaction, but he told ISRAEL21c that Grovepoint’s three-year-old Israeli branch initiated talks with the company some nine months beforehand.

“The deal is worth about $50 million, with some of the money going between shareholders and some of the money coming into the company,” Hofland says.

“As a result, we now have a new partner that is running the business and that sees eye to eye with other shareholders and will aggressively expand production to address the large demand in the market.”

The company’s sales cover 30 countries, but Japan and the United States are the two main consumer bases for AstaPure softgel and hardshell capsules, topical creams, emulsions, drink mixes and suspensions.

This is a multibillion-dollar market worldwide, so it makes sense to expand the relatively small Israeli operation that has used the strong desert sun to cultivate astaxanthin at Kibbutz Ketura since 1998.

Astaxanthin, a dark red carotenoid found mainly in algae and aquatic animals such as salmon, is not synthesized in the human body but is thought to have many beneficial effects when taken as a supplement or used in cosmetics.

Building on a green tradition

More than half of Algatech’s current 27 staffers, including Hofland, live at Ketura.

This is the same forward-thinking kibbutz that hosts the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies, and the inaugural midsized solar field of Arava Power, founded in 2006 by Hofland with David Rosenblatt and Yosef Abramowitz. In August 2009, Germany’s Siemens purchased a 40 percent stake in Arava Power and is financing the construction of five of the company’s eight new solar fields.

The Grovepoint deal, in a similar fashion, will benefit the members of the kibbutz in the Arava Valley portion of the Negev Desert, just north of Israel’s southern resort city of Eilat.

“We’ll be hiring a good number of people for Algatech,” Hofland confirms, “mostly from the Arava. The kibbutz has first rights, but we will also hire from other nearby kibbutzim and from Eilat.”

Based on research by Prof. Sammy Boussiba at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s Landau Family Microalgal Biotechnology Laboratory, Algatechnologies uses a particular strain of algae. Hofland says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

“We know how to grow microalgae of any kind commercially, and this world is just being explored. Very few of the thousands that exist are commercially being grown,” says Hofland, “and that’s where the real future is, in my mind.”

The AstaPure production plant is, not surprisingly considering its home kibbutz, a model of clean-tech. It’s powered by solar energy and recycles the cooling water involved in the manufacturing process. The proprietary closed system consists of a modular array of tubular glass photo-bio-reactors spread over 10 acres.

Development and production will remain blue and white, says Hofland. “Astaxanthin production and distribution will expand rapidly, but at least for the near future, we’re staying in the Arava.”

Beth S (330)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 9:18 pm

Interesting video at site


Lee Hampton (15)
Thursday March 28, 2013, 9:28 pm
This is very impressive. Ataxanthin produced this way looks like it's going to have a lot of takers.

Maria B (7)
Friday March 29, 2013, 8:34 am
Thanks Beth, very interesting.
I used to take Astaxanthin years ago and I think I start taking it again. It is also good for the eyes... can improve your eyesight.
Thanks for this little reminder!!!

. (0)
Friday March 29, 2013, 9:06 am
Fantastic development-thanks

pam w (139)
Friday March 29, 2013, 11:13 am
GREAT news! Thanks again, Israel.

. (0)
Friday March 29, 2013, 11:49 am
I already use Astaxanthin.

Past Member (0)
Friday March 29, 2013, 12:21 pm
Good news Israel seem to be leaders in many things

Noted thanks

Christeen A (371)
Friday March 29, 2013, 12:29 pm
Quite interesting. Thank you.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Friday March 29, 2013, 2:09 pm
I've been using astaxanthin for a number of months now. It helps with aging joints among other things. Of course proper diet and daily exercise help too.

Beth S (330)
Friday March 29, 2013, 2:27 pm
That's really good to know, Theodore, because my hip joints especially have really been feeling the effects of aging. Do you do any exercise for the hips?

Alan Lambert (91)
Friday March 29, 2013, 2:59 pm
Fascinating, yet another old/new supplement to try.

Birgit W (160)
Friday March 29, 2013, 4:41 pm
Interesting. Thanks

Russell R (87)
Friday March 29, 2013, 8:07 pm
Good for Israel

Julie W (32)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 3:35 am
I've been taking Astaxanthin for quite a while now - mainly to protect my eyesight as I age.

Jay S (116)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 4:47 am
This little country produces advances for the betterment of human kind far beyond its size would suggest. We've read so many stories about the medical advances coming out of Israel that are like something out of Star Trek. How they manage to be so productive when they are threatened on every side is beyond imagining. All the more reason to admire this ancient people and the land they created so long ago.

Carola May (20)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 4:48 am
I'll have to try this!

Madhu Pillai (22)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 4:49 am
Interesting, thank you.

S S (0)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 7:02 am
Thank you.

g d c (0)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 11:19 am

Tammy B (9)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 11:33 am

Julie F (68)
Saturday March 30, 2013, 8:26 pm
Very interesting. Thanks!

Sherri G (128)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 2:28 am
Thanks Beth. It sounds like Israel has tapped into green technology. Perhaps America could learn something from our friend Israel. We can only hope.

Ro H (0)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 10:36 am

Melissa McAUliffe (0)
Sunday March 31, 2013, 6:24 pm
We need these new food sources to balance the terribly filthy toxic environment we usually have to live in.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Monday April 1, 2013, 2:26 am
Cool :)

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Monday April 1, 2013, 4:01 am
Fascinating and intriguing.

Suzanne L (99)
Monday April 1, 2013, 10:02 pm
How amazingly progressive some of the kibbutzim are. I will look for this product as it seems to have so many benefits.

Judith Hand (55)
Tuesday April 2, 2013, 6:28 pm
Noted. Super - maybe all of these substantially beneficial firsts will cause folks to support the Israelis in keeping their own turf. As for the product: where do I sign up? Good going, Israel...again!

Melania P (122)
Monday April 15, 2013, 4:02 pm

Klaus Peters (14)
Thursday April 18, 2013, 5:22 am
One thing about Israelis, in difficult situations they can make something out of nothing. In a hostile environment and also having hostile neighbours, I admire their guts and determination.
I will certainly try this product, I down loaded this post, thank you Beth, and I am sure AstaPure will be available on line.
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