Israeli start-up Yemoja has claimed to have created a next-generation platform for cultivating customised, pharmaceutical grade microalgae on demand for use in nutraceuticals.
The marine ingredients start-up utilises a high-precision fast-track photobioreactor technology to create specific microalgae as ‘natural vegan ingredients’ that can be incorporated into food supplements.
With $4 million already raised in seed funds and investments from the Israel Innovation Authority, Yemoja is currently moving into round B funding.
Founded three years ago by a team of marine biology and biotech experts, Yemoja aims to provide the market with a range of high-value microalgae species that can be tailored to a full spectrum of applications including cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals.
Yemoja has developed an indoor closed cultivation system that is contaminant-free and maintains absolute control of temperature, pH, light and CO2 emissions.
Controlling these key parameters allows for the simultaneous growth of multiple species in a very tightly controlled environment, as well as the consistent supply of the ingredients.
With its cultivation methodology, Yemoja claims to have overcome many industry challenges including composition homogeneity, scalability, and contamination proofing and ensures clean, safe microalgae throughout the process.
“There is a vast ocean of microalgae species not yet discovered, and only a dozen or so are commercially available,” said Eyal Shalmon, CEO of Yemoja.
Shalmon added: “The market is still in the early stages of tapping into the immense potential of these marine ‘super crops’. Our mission is to boost the entire microalgae value chain with new varieties and yields, and bring them to the mainstream of high-end nutraceutical food and cosmeceutical spheres with additional formulations in the pipeline.”
Amikam Bar-Gil, chief technology officer and co-founder of Yemoja, said: “Microalgae are sunlight-driven, single-celled factories, and by nature highly resilient and versatile.
“They also are a powerful source of natural, vegan, bioactive ingredients. Our innovative approach serves to create pure, sustainable microalgae-derived products of the highest quality, and that can be naturally adapted into any desired matrix.”
Investigating into the use of microalgae as a sustainable protein source has become more recognised throughout the industry with a Danish project called ‘Microalgae for foods’ announcing it had received funding earlier this year and Nestlé entering a joint agreement with Corbion to create microalgae-based ingredients.