Astaxanthin from Indonesia: Country’s first microalgae firm competes with global rivals for local market share

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Indonesia's first microalgae biotech firm PT Evergen Resources' astaxanthin farm.  ©PT Evergen Resources
Indonesia's first microalgae biotech firm PT Evergen Resources' astaxanthin farm. ©PT Evergen Resources

Related tags: Astaxanthin, Indonesia, microalgae, Indonesia

Indonesia’s first microalgae firm PT Evergen Resources is on a mission to meet the country’s astaxanthin demands across the nutra, pharma and cosmetics sectors.

The company, which was inaugurated late last month, is located in Kendal, Central Java.  

It will be producing and selling its astaxathin from freshwater microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis ​under the brand AstaLuxe. The goal is to meet the needs of the local nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industry.

Founder and CEO Siswanto Harjanto told NutraIngredients-Asia​ that the firm would kick-start its first project with one hectare of cultivation.

In addition, there are 13 hectares of space ready to be used for expansion depending on the market demand.

 “Our short term goal is to produce high quality of natural astaxanthin and to fulfill domestic market and exported it to various countries which are currently dominated by suppliers from the United States, Israel, Japan and Iceland,​” Harjanto said.

So far, he said that the firm had received “good response”​ at home and abroad, especially from the pharmaceutical and cosmetic firms.

“It has been a turning point for Indonesia to have a microalgae-based biotechnology industry that produces innovative and competitive products,” ​he said, adding that the firm also provided stability and bioavailability tests for its astaxanthin.

Challenges

Through the Photo-Bio-Reactor (PBR) system, the firm uses customised tubes to boost yield. It also uses a proprietary extraction method to extract astaxanthin from microalgae.

This was achieved after going facing a number of challenges since the start of the venture, Harjanto said.

“The challenges started from screening for the best strain, seeding in laboratory scale, formulating the best media nutrients for growing, setting up the best condition for microalgae to grow,  scaling up to bigger cultivation until the final lap of commercialising the outdoor cultivation,”​ he said.

APAC’s astaxanthin market

APAC has become one of the key astaxanthin markets for firms from the other parts of the globe.

Earlier this year, Chilean firm Atacama Bio Natural Products said that expanding to Asia​ had become inevitable as the space for growth in the local market was limited.

Last year, Israeli biotech firm Algatechnologies also invested in Kiwi manufacturer​ Supreme Health to boost regional sales. Both firms share the goal of selling their astaxanthin for use in food, dietary supplement, and cosmetics in China.

Within Asia, Japanese firm AstaReal is one of the major producers of natural astaxanthin from Haematococcus pluvialis.

It recently said it had developed a line of RTD functional beverages​ with astaxanthin for supporting muscle health and mobility.

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