Yemoja kicks off industrial scale high-value microalgae production with minimal footprint
Marine ingredient start-up Yemoja, Ltd., has opened the doors of its new plant dedicated to the production of high value microalgae. The facility hailed the new tight ship of microalgae cultivation located within the historic mountains of the scenic Upper Galilee region of Israel, is now fully operational. Yemoja already has brought production up to speed to meet the new volume of orders emanating predominantly from the global nutraceutical and cosmeceutical sectors.
Yemoja cultivates microalgae customized to fit functional food, nutraceutical or cosmetic applications. The company utilizes a unique, facility housing high-precision, fast-track photobioreactor technology, setting a new gold standard for microalgae production and sustainability. Indoor cultivation operates in a next-gen, closed, contaminant-free system that maintains absolute control of key parameters such as temperature, pH, light, and CO2 emissions with capabilities to produce a broad spectrum of pure algae and in a very tightly controlled environment.
“We built a ‘green’ factory in which we can create and maintain the ultimate conditions for any known microalgae species, yet with zero dependence on external environment and weather,“ explains says Erez Ashkenazi, COO and Co-Founder of Yemoja. “Our indoor system generates exceptional yields with proven reproducibility on a very small plot of land and using minimal resources.”
Yemoja operates a small batch production line structured in a visually intriguing arrangement of vertical luminescent columns known as illis. Each ille is allocated a specific algae species, is completely closed off and isolated from other units to prevent any cross contamination. This facilitates the simultaneous and continuous production of a variety of algae-derived products that can meet the specific requests of customers, maintaining their individualized control irrespective of batch volume.
“Our unique site runs on recycled water and minimal energy. The exploitation of artificial light for photosynthesis limits the need for cooling,” says Ashkenazi. “We meticulously designed the site to meet to the highest standards of operational efficiency in order to minimize environmental impact leaving only a tiny carbon footprint. Our specialty ingredients are cultivated in a chemical-free, all-natural process, with a full respect of our natural habitat.”
The startup set up its first pilot facility in 2017. Following a series of successful proof-of-concept trials in 2018 and a fruitful seed round, Yemoja decided last year to move on to the next phase of opening a first fully fledged manufacturing plant. A few weeks ago, the plant began rolling out microalgae production on industrial scale to meet the new influx of demand.
“Recently we have received heightened interest in our external polysaccharide sulphate (EPS) Porphyridium cruentum due largely to increased global demand” says Eyal Shalmon, CEO of Yemoja. “The polysaccharide has been investigated for its ability to be merged into various biotechnological applications and industry disciplines including, cosmetics and biomedicine. The soluble polysaccharide fraction is already being used in skin care products and in a considerable number of cosmetic formulations due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties,“ explains Shalmon.
Yemoja has also teamed up with the Migal Galilee Research Institute Ltd. and various European bodies to forward the Horizon 2020 project looking into the long-term development and synthesis of novel algae-based small molecules for functional food and supplements targeting Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Two weeks ago the project was given the green light to enter its next phase of development.
Yemoja was founded three years ago by a team of marine biology and biotech experts with a shared vision of leveraging novel engineering methods to provide the commercial algae space with a prodigious range of high-value microalgae species that can be tailored to a full spectrum of applications, including cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals.