Visit  cricatalyst.com!Nexus — Leaders in Greenhouse Systems Integration Check out more of The Buzz

Water treatment startup Algal Scientific now mining beta glucan

June 17, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Algal Scientific chief science officer Geoff Horst shows off his beta glucan-rich algae at the company's lab in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center. Photo: Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

Algal Scientific chief science officer Geoff Horst shows off his beta glucan-rich algae at the company’s lab in the Michigan Life Science and Innovation Center. Photo: Ben Freed | AnnArbor.com

Ben Freed reports in the Ann Arbor Business Review that Algal Scientific – a startup which emerged from Michigan State University in 2008 to use algae for reducing the costs of water treatment – has now developed a parallel process to use the algal biomass to make beta-1,3 glucan, a compound of high value in animal and human nutrition.

Further testing on the species of algae they were using to clean up the water revealed it was worth more as a dietary supplement than a simple fertilizer. The algae were high in the sugar compound known as beta glucan, which acts as an immune system booster. “About a year and a half ago we realized that this beta glucan that was in the algae we were already using was very valuable,” said Geoff Horst, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University at the time, and now the company’s chief science officer. “It is worth $20,000 to $30,000 per ton and at that price point we figured, ‘Wow, we can make a lot of money with this.’ ”

Right now, the most popular source for beta glucan is certain types of yeast that develop the chain of sugar molecules in their cell walls. The species of algae used by Algal Scientific is more than 50 percent beta glucan, while yeast has just 5 to 15 percent beta glucan content and requires an expensive process to extract the compound from the cell walls. “It’s a unique species of algae,” says Horst. “You probably wouldn’t encounter it in a local pond or lake, but it’s not genetically-modified. It’s a naturally occurring species, just not a very common one.”

As trials of their beta glucan product move forward, Horst and his co-founders Bobby Levine, Jeff Lebrun, and John Rice are looking to find a new location to expand their production. “There’s not much more science we have to do to be profitable; now we’re really in the ‘ramp-up, scale-up’ mode,” Horst said.

The company has grown to include nine full-time equivalent employees and has brought in approximately $1.5 million in outside funding, which includes $500,000 for winning the Accelerate Michigan innovation competition in 2012.

Read More

More Buzz…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
In a global scenario where increasing attention is being directed towards issues of sustainability and limited food supplies, algal sources offer immense scope for the ra...
One of 12 winners of the 2014 Lexus Design Award, the Ooho algae balloon was created by three London-based designers to contribute a solution to the rising number of plas...
A team of six University of Calgary researchers has been awarded funding for their project, Cost Effective Biotechnology for Carbon Capture and Re-Use, based on the conce...
Algal oil represents one of the significant segments within the omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) ingredients market. Specifically, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is ...
Although the use of whole microalgae in animal diets has long been studied, the 
de-fatted biomass of microalgal species, derived from biofuel production research, has on...
The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO) released the following statement calling on the EPA to include Carbon Capture and Utilization strategies in rules proposed June 2, 20...
Four years after the first optimistic calculations, the experimental cultivation of algae at Wageningen University in the Netherlands appears to be meeting expectations. ...
A University of New South Wales (UNSW)-led team of researchers has discovered how algae that survive in very low levels of light are able to switch on and off a weird qua...
Jamie Radford writes in the Illawarra Mercury that Pia Winberg, from the University of Wollongong, believes that the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia (NSW) is in...
Gilbert, AZ-based Heliae has announced a partnership with Sincere Corporation, a Japanese waste management and recycling company, to form a joint venture and develop a co...
Starting in the early 70s, agencies in the former USSR invested more than 20,000 person-years of research and development to produce Bio-Algae Concentrates (BAC) that hel...
Steven Mufson reports for the Washington Post that Algenol Biofuels estimates hackers have attempted to break into its computers 39 million times in four months this year...
A recent discovery in the multicellular green alga, Volvox carteri,has revealed the origin of male and female sexes, showing how they evolved from a more primitive mating...
Biofuels derived from the oils produced by algae may offer a low-cost sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. To achieve this goal, optimization of cost effective strate...
In an effort to propel the algae industry forward, the Algae Testbed Public Private Partnership (ATP3) offers a series of hands-on specialized workshops suited for partic...
The EPA has released the Annual Use of Pesticides in the U.S. Report. We now know that American farmers apply roughly a billion pounds of toxic chemicals intentionally in...
Expanding from its initial work in algal biofuels, General Atomic’s (GA’s) Advanced Biological Processes team has focused on the rising need for food globally, specifical...
Researchers at the Paul Scherer Institute (PSI) in Wädenswil, Switzerland, have succeeded in producing energy-rich gas from microalgae, and in doing so have demonstrated ...