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Winston Salem, NC, United States

Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 75.00K | Year: 2003

NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Nostoc commune is an edible cyanobacterium forming the spherical macrocolony, which is used as a potent herbal medicine and dietary supplement. Due to its nutraceutical and pharmacological value, the N. commune has received increasing attention, and the market demand has grown drastically during the last decade. However, low yield and unstable quality caused by inadequate production methods has prevented the further expansion of Nostoc commune in nutraceutical and pharmaceutical markets. In Algaen Corporation, we propose that Nostoc commune could be explored as a new crop plant used for nutrition food and herbal medicine by cultivating in a suitable photobioreactor on a commercial scale, using innovations in microalgal biotechnology. The technology developed from this project will enable us to launch commercial production of high quality edible Nostoc commune as an effective while affordable herbal medicine and dietary supplement, which has a current market of $50 million annually.

Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.94K | Year: 2003

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to improve the bioavailability of astaxanthin from the green algae, Haematococcus pluvialis, through molecular genetic manipulation of the organism. Natural astaxanthin is a potent bioactive antioxidant and offers tremendous potential for use in nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, aquaculture, and poultry industries. The green alga, Haematococcus pluvialis, is the richest known natural source of astaxanthin. One major constraint in the Haematococcus production system, however, is that astaxanthin-rich cells (cysts) possess thick cell walls that hinder astaxanthin extraction and subsequent bioavailability for humans and cultured animals. Chemical and physical cell disruption processes account for a major cost of the production, yet introduce the risk of oxidation of astaxanthin. In this Phase I project, certain features of Haematococcus will be genetically altered so as to facilitate fast and efficient extraction and digestion of cell-bound astaxanthin. The immediate commercial application of this project will be in the nutraceutical and aquaculture markets.

Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 79.89K | Year: 2009

The crude oil will be depleted within 40 years, alternative fuels have to be developed to drive our transportation systems, and biodiesel appears to be the most promising fuel of the future. Biodiesel is renewable, non-toxic, and biodegradable, it can be used in existing diesel engines without modifying the engin, and can be blended in at any ratio with petroleum diesel. However, the development of biodiesel industry is severely limited by the supply of feedstock, namely soybean oil and canola oil. Due to limitation of available agriculture land and irrigation water supply, the production of these oil crops can not sustain the biodiesel production, other sources of plant oil have to be developed as feedstock for biodiesel. Microalgae are known to exhibit 10- to 20-fold higher growth rates than agricultural crop plants, and certain microalgal species can accumulate large amounts of lipids or oil (30-60% of dry weight). As a result, the concept of using microalgae as an alternative source of feedstock for biodiesel production was intensively studied in the past 40 years. However, the past research & development efforts have led to a conclusion that microalgae-based biodiesel was not economically viable because of high production cost. Such failure to develop a commercially viable microalgae-based biodiesel production system was largely due to the lack of cost-effective photobioreactors and efficient method for oil extraction from algae. In this SBIR project, we will demonstrate the feasibility of reducing the cost of using oil-rich green algae as feedstock for biodiesel production. We intend to optimize culture conditions for microalgal oil production in our proprietary photobioreactors. The feasibility of using innovative nano-materials for algal oil extraction will be demonstrated. The combined advantages from both improvements will enable use to reduce the overall cost in microalgal oil production. The results obtained from this Phase I project will provide a solid base for us to pursue a Phase II project, in which cost-effective production of microalgae-based oil will be demonstrated in pilot scale. The long-term goal of this project is to establish an environmentally sound, commercially feasible and economically profitable engineered process for commercial production of microalgae-based biodiesel. The successful completion of this project will lead to establishment of microalgae-based biodiesel production facilities, absorpton of atmospheric carbon dioxide by microalgae, and job creation/economical development in clean energy sector.

Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 499.87K | Year: 2007

This Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II reserach develops an innovative biotechnology for commercial production of natural astaxanthin using genetically improved microalgal strain(s) grown in a proprietary large-scale photobioreactor, and to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new strains in improving bioavailability of astaxanthin. The proposed R&D efforts aim to overcome the major weakness inherent in the present production of astaxanthin-enriched Haematococcus: poor bioavailability of astaxanthin for humans and animals. The company will use several genetically modified Haematococcus strains with remarkably improved bioavailability of astaxanthin. The major objectives of the Phase II research are to design, construct, and evaluate an innovative large-scale photobioreactor system for sustainable mass culture of these new strains. The improved production system will increase astaxanthin productivity by 1.5- to 2-fold with at least 30% cost reduction. The broader impacts of this technology will be to overcome two major hurdles for the Haematococcus-based astaxanthin industry. The application of this biotechnology will lead to major increases in astaxanthin sales by 2015. It will also result in job expansion in the Haematococcus-astaxanthin production and related industries (e.g., cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and nutraceutical). Reduction in the production costs will lead to decreasing prices, making astaxanthin more affordable to allow more people to take advantage of astaxanthin as a strong antioxidant for improving health and well-being.

Algaen Corporation | Date: 2008-06-09

Algae food beverages, namely, seaweed drinks; Dried edible algae; Processed, edible seaweed. Fruits, namely, edible blue green algae.

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