Evonik Industries announced April 28 that it is investing in the technology startup Algal Scientific Corp. in Northville, Mich.
Evonik is part of an investors' consortium that is investing more than $3 million in Series A financing round. Under the trade name Algamune, Algal Scientific markets 1,3-beta-glucan, a polysaccharide that strengthens immune response. It is used as an additive in animal feeds and as a nutritional supplement as well as in pharmaceutical formulations (Feedstuffs, Jan. 27).
According to the announcement, this is the first time it has been possible to obtain beta-glucan from algae on an industrial scale. Algal Scientific has developed a new technology for this purpose and is currently in the process of starting up the first commercial production plant in Michigan. Beta-glucan is usually extracted from grain or produced using yeasts or fungi. Algal Scientific's new biotechnological process needs fewer production steps and at the same time generates significantly higher yields.
In addition to the innovative production technology, the use of beta-glucan in a wide variety of animal feed applications is of particular interest to Evonik, it said. The immune stimulating effect of beta-glucan results in healthier animals and efficient growth, thus contributing to resource-efficient nutrition of the global population. Beta-glucan is suitable for nutrition of pigs, poultry and ruminants as well as for aquaculture.