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Biological Chemistry

Astaxanthin Planned From Modified Algae

by Melody M. Bomgardner
June 30, 2014 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 92, ISSUE 26

The natural extracts specialist Avoca has signed an agreement with Synthetic Genomics Inc. to obtain algae modified to express high amounts of astaxanthin, an antioxidant carotenoid used in nutritional supplements. Avoca will extract and market the product. SGI has developed two astaxanthin-forming algae: one that is grown with a sugar feedstock and another that uses photosynthesis. Tight supplies of naturally derived astaxanthin spurred Japan’s Fuji Chemical Industry last year to invest in a photosynthetic algae plant in Moses Lake, Wash.

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