[ad#The Buzz Sponsor Ad]

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
Phys.org reports that, in collaboration with the Berlin, Germany LED manufacturer FutureLED, scientists at the Technische Universität München have developed a unique comb...
Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has signed a contract to build a demonstration facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, to produce commercial quality algae. The Hybrid Algae Produ...
Caroline Scott-Thomas reports on Food Navigator about an online algae discussion on the social media site Reddit where Mars' chief agricultural officer Howard-Yana Shapir...
K. S. Rajgopal writes in thehindu.com about a new study that demonstrates how macroalgal biomass from Gelidiella acerosa and Gracilaria dura collected from Adri and Verav...
Sebastian Rich reports on PBS Newshour about the Central African Republic city of Bangui, which has been caught in the crossfire between warring Muslim and Christian grou...
In one of the first studies to examine the potential for using municipal wastewater as a feedstock for algae-based biofuels, Rice University scientists found they could e...
Jeff Gelski writes in foodbusinessnews.net that algae oil is now in the toolbox of alternative oils shown to replace partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which cause trans...
UC San Diego’s efforts to produce innovative and sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental problems have resulted in a partnership with the region’s surfing indu...
Scientists from the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), a not-for-profit genomic research organization in La Jolla, California, have published a paper outlining new synthet...
Algae “red tide” events often create dazzling nighttime light shows of blue-green bioluminescence resulting from the force generated by breaking waves. While many mysteri...
Scientific representatives from the EnAlgae consortium are announcing preliminary results this week from a key algal carbon capture project in the works at Britain’s larg...
The vision of developing a community college degree program to train a high technology algae workforce was launched at New Mexico's Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in 2...
Rich McEachran writes in the Guardian that, in the process of surfacing a road, layers of asphalt – which is composed mostly of bitumen (a byproduct of crude oil distilla...
Using microalgae to capture CO2 is a complex process, especially in flue gas environments, reports an editorial by IEA Clean Coal Centre in worldcoal.com. There are many ...
EnAlgae researchers have published an economic model to help to explore the economics of cultivating macroalgae at sea. The model and report can be found here as outputs ...