September 11, 2014
Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd.
Kobelco Eco-Solutions starts heterotrophic cultivation of
`Begins marketing microalgae for commercial applications in biomass fuel,
food and cosmetics`
Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co., Ltd. (also known as KES) has begun the heterotropic cultivation (*1) of a microalgae called Euglena (*2) using a 1m3 closed reactor installed at its Technical Research Center in Kobe, Japan.
As samples of Euglena biomass can now be supplied on a kilogram scale, the company has started marketing the microalgae for commercial applications such as biomass fuel, food, cosmetics, sewage treatment and chemicals.
There are two general methods of culturing Euglena: photosynthetic and heterotrophic. In comparison to photosynthetic cultivation, heterotrophic cultivation in a closed reactor results in a yield of several hundred times of biomass per unit area. KESfs method can maintain the stable cultivation of Euglena unaffected by sunlight, temperature and other climatic factors of the external environment.
Cultivation of the new strain of Euglena, discovered by KES and the University of Tsukuba, was scaled up in stages starting with the size of a flask. In a 1m3 closed reactor, KES confirmed once again that the new strain of Euglena had over twice the biomass productivity of the Euglena gracilis Z strain (National Institute for Environmental Studies stock strain: NIES-48), which has been considered a promising biofuel.
KES also confirmed that paramylon (*3), synthesized by Euglena was converted in an anaerobic condition (*4), into wax ester (*5), which is a raw material for biomass fuel. KES established the medium component and cultivation conditions for accumulating 70 to 80 percent of the paramylon in the biomass dry weight. The results of component analysis showed that the biomass contained vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids and essential fatty acids with an amino acid score (*6) of 100. KES presented the results of cultivating the new strain of Euglena at the Annual Meeting of the Japan Society for Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Agrochemistry 2014.
KES plans to continue improving the cultivation method and accumulating cultivation data of the 1m3 reactor. In order to grasp the required optimal design conditions of a large-scale reactor, KES plans to construct a 10m3 reactor in 2015. This will be one of the biggest production facilities in the world for paramylon.
(*1) Heterotrophic cultivation: A cultivation method that uses organic compounds as the source of carbon
(*2) Euglena: A unique organism with plant-like qualities that enable photosynthesis, but like an animal it
can move by twisting itself.
(*3) Paramylon: A polysaccharide ofΐ1-3 glucan. Linked to activating the cells of the bodyfs immunity function.
(*4) Anaerobic condition: A condition without oxygen (both dissolved oxygen and bonding oxygen).
(*5) Wax ester: Ester of fatty acid and fatty alcohol. A fatty substance used as a raw material for fuel.
(*6) Amino acid score: Index that determines whether amino acids in food are balanced or not.
The highest score is 100.
Contact: Kobelco Eco-Solutions Co.,Ltd.