Tag Archives: CCRES Algae Project Q&A

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Weight Control

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Weight Control

 

 

Physical Endurance and Muscle Recovery

Physical Endurance and Muscle Recovery 

Work, Sport, Leisure – in fact all physical activity will generate reactive oxygen species (ROS); the more intense the activity the greater number of free radicals. ROS are shown to have damaging effects on muscle performance and recovery. Published and on-going research, focused on improving endurance and reducing recovery time, are showing dramatic benefits linked to the potent carotenoid – astaxanthin. These findings are bringing astaxanthin to the forefront as a dietary supplement for professional athletes and physically active people.

Important to physical activity are our mitochondrial cells, often referred to as the “power stations of the cell” , which provide as much as 95% of our body’s pure energy (primarily by the burning of muscle glycogen and fatty acids). Unfortunately, a portion of this energy produces highly reactive and damaging ROS. ROS damage cells by triggering peroxidation of the cell membrane components, and oxidation of DNA and proteins. Furthermore, ROS continue to affect muscles even after the strenuous exercise has ceased. ROS activate the inflammation response whereby monocytes migrate into the muscle tissue causing additional cell damage. Often we will notice the onset of muscle damage during recovery in the form of tiredness and soreness. In addition to improving muscle performance through devised exercise regime, the sports research community is looking at other methods, such as nutrition to fuel and protect the body under extreme physical conditions. In the past, Vitamins E and C helped make the use of antioxidants a popular tool against oxidative damage during intense physical activity. Today, informed by current research we can point to astaxanthin as the antioxidant of choice for sports performance. Astaxanthin demonstrated 3 important physical benefits in clinical trials and supporting studies. Astaxanthin increased endurance, reduced muscle damage and improved lipid metabolism.

Did you know?

Astaxanthin Boosts Endurance

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study on healthy men supplemented with 4 mg astaxanthin per day for up to 6 months at Karolinska Institute, Sweden, standardized exercise tests demonstrated that the average number of knee bends performed increased only in the astaxanthin treated group at 3 months, and by the 6 month significant improvements were observed (Figure 1) (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008).

Figure 1. Increase in strength/endurance (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008)
  Figure 1. Increase in strength/endurance (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008)  
Astaxanthin improved strength/endurance at 3 and 6 months determined by the average number of knee bends per person.
Figure 2. Effect of astaxanthin on swimming time (Ikeuchi et al., 2006) Figure 2. Effect of astaxanthin on swimming time (Ikeuchi <em>et al.</em>, 2006)  
Astaxanthin improves endurance in a dose-dependant manner.

Astaxanthin Boosts EnduranceIn another study, Aoi et al., (2008) demonstrated that astaxanthin may modify muscle metabolism by its antioxidant property and result in improved muscle performance and weight loss benefits. After 4 weeks the mice running time to exhaustion had significantly improved by up to 20 % , (2002) of Juntendo University, Japan, demonstrated by using 1200 meter track athletes, that a daily dose of 6 mg per day for 4 weeks resulted in their bodies accumulating lower levels of lactic acid (Figure 3). Ikeuchi et al., (2006) also reported the same findings and furthermore, astaxanthin efficacy had a dose-dependent response (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Reduction of lactic acid build-up after astaxanthin supplementation in track subjects (Sawaki et al., 2002) 
Figure 3. Reduction of lactic acid build-up after astaxanthin supplementation in track subjects (Sawaki <em>et al.</em>, 2002)
Figure 4. Effect of astaxanthin on blood lactate during swimming for 15 minutes (Ikeuchi et al., 2006) Figure 4. Effect of astaxanthin on blood lactate during swimming for 15 minutes (Ikeuchi <em>et al.</em>, 2006)  
Astaxanthin reduced build-up of lactic acid in a dose-dependant manner.

In a double blind controlled placebo study, healthy women (n= 32; age-23-60) who ingested 12 mg of astaxanthin for 6 weeks significantly reduced their body fat (4%) when conducting routine walking exercise, compared to a placebo group. In addition, while control group increased their lactic acid by 31% compared to the astaxanthin group – only 13%

The Mechanism

The mechanism behind muscle endurance is based on several findings. Generally, astaxanthin protected the skeletal muscle from the increased damage of oxidative stress generated by physical activity. Furthermore, astaxanthin increased the metabolism of lipids as the main source of energy production by protecting the carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) involved in fatty acid transport into mitochondria. Aoi et al., (2003) of Kyoto Prefecture University used mice models that may partially explain the efficacy of astaxanthin; they compared control, exercise placebo, and astaxanthin treated exercise groups after intense physical activity. 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal-modified-protein (4-HNE) stain analyses of the calf (gastrocnemius) muscles revealed significantly lower peroxidation damage (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Effect of astaxanthin on 4-HNE-modifed proteins in leg muscle before and after exercise (Aoi et al., 2003) Figure 5. Effect of astaxanthin on 4-HNE-modifed proteins in leg muscle before and after exercise (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2003)

Other biochemical markers for oxidative damage and inflammation such as DNA, (2003) also explained that astaxanthin directly modulates inflammation caused by the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators. In vivo and in vitro tests demonstrate that astaxanthin inhibits the IκB Kinase (IKK) dependant activation of the Nuclear Factor-kB (NF-κB) pathway, a key step in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators. Aoi et al., 2008 also demonstrated increased lipid metabolism compared to carbohydrate as the main source of energy during strenuous activity (Figure 6). Furthermore, analysis of the mitochondrial lipid transport enzyme known as carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) revealed increased fat localization (Figure 7) and reduction of oxidative damage in the presence of astaxanthin (Figure 8). CPT I is important because it regulates fatty acyl-CoA entry into the mitochondria in the oxidation of fatty acids in muscle. Exercise-induced ROS may partly limit utilization of fatty acid via diminishing CPT I activity.

Figure 6. Fat substrate utilization increased with astaxanthin (Aoi et al., 2008)
  Figure 6. Fat substrate utilization increased with astaxanthin (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  

 Calculated from the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and oxygen consumption. Values are means ± SE obtained from 8 mice.

Figure 7. Increased amount of FAT/CD36 that coimmunoprecipitated with CPT I skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30 m/min for 30 min (Aoi et al., 2008) Figure 7. Increased amount of FAT/CD36 that coimmunoprecipitated with CPT I skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30 m/min for 30 min (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  
Values are means ± SE obtained from 6 mice.
Figure 8. Astaxanthin reduced the amount of HEL-modified CPT1 in skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30m/min for 30min (Aoi et al., 2008) Figure 8. Astaxanthin reduced the amount of HEL-modified CPT1 in skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30m/min for 30min (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  
Values are means ± SE obtained from 6 mice.

Outlook

Outlook 

Strenuous physical activity generates high levels of ROS which affect muscle performance and metabolism of lipids. New research shows that astaxanthin can modify muscle metabolism via its antioxidant effect, resulting in the improvement of muscle function during exercise. Therefore, astaxanthin is expected to be useful for physically active people as well as athletes.

References

  1. Aoi W, Naito Y, Sakuma K, Kuchide M, Tokuda H, Maoka T, Toyokuni S, Oka S, Yasuhara M, Yoshikawa T. (2003). Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxid Redox Signal, 5(1):139-144.
  2. Aoi W, Naito Y, Takanami Y, Ishii T, Kawai Y, Akagiri S, Kato Y, Osawa T, Yoshikawa T. (2008). Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Com., 366:892–897.
  3. Fukamauchi, M. (2007). Food Functionality of astaxanthin-10: Synergistic effects of astaxanthin-10 intake and aerobic exercise. Food Style 21, 11(10). [In Japanese]
  4. Ikeuchi M, Koyama T, Takahashi J, Yazawa K. (2006). Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Bio. Pharm. Bull., 29(10):2106-2110.
  5. Lee SJ, Bai SK, Lee KS, Namkoong S, Na HJ, Ha KS, Han JA, Yim SV, Chang K, Kwon YG, Lee SK, Kim YM. (2003). Astaxanthin Inhibits Nitric Oxide Production and Inflammatory Gene Expression by Suppressing IκB Kinase-dependent NF-κB Activation. Mol. Cells, 16(1):97-105.
  6. Malmsten C, Lignell A. (2008). Dietary supplementation with astaxanthin rich algal meal improves muscle endurance – a double blind study on male students. Carotenoid Science 13:20-22.
  7. Sawaki K, Yoshigi H, Aoki K, Koikawa N, Azumane A, Kaneko K, Yamaguchi M. (2002). Sports performance benefits from taking natural astaxanthin characterized by visual activity and muscle fatigue improvements in humans. J Clin.Therap. Med., 18(9):73- 88.


CCRES special thanks to 
  Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) 

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The Effects of Astaxanthin – Cardiovascular Health

 

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Cardiovascular Health

 

Atherosclerosis: 

A Silent Cardiovascular Condition that Kills 1 Person Every 3 Seconds

Atherosclerosis: A Silent Cardiovascular Condition that Kill 1 Person every 3 SecondsHigh blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, oxidation of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lowering levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are the primary cause that leads to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in the vessels. This condition emerges at early age and gradually compromises vascular integrity leading to atherosclerosis at a later stage of a person lifespan. Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular condition in which fat deposits and become oxidized along the inner lining of the artery walls. This silent yet deadly build up progressively thickens, hardens and eventually blocks the arteries leading to sudden and severe circulatory complications including vascular ischemia, stroke or heart attack. Cardiovascular and circulatory deaths related to atherosclerosis accounts for 29% of all deaths globally; the primary cause of death in EU (42%), Eastern Europe (48%), UK (39%), North America (49%), China (34%), South America (31%); Middle East (31%) and India (29%) – World Health Report, 2010.

Salmon Consumption and Lower Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Japanese. Just a Coincidence?

Salmon Consumption and Lower Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Japanese. Just a Coincidence?The cardiovascular and circulatory benefits of natural astaxanthin are evident among Japanese who are the uppermost consumers of food containing astaxanthin (AX) in the world and have the lowest incidences of heart diseases amongst developed countries. As the French paradox of cardiovascular health is connected to “sipping red-wine” and Italians longevity to “olive oil dressed” salads, Japanese cardiovascular resilience can be associated with consumption of “astaxanthin-soaked” salmon. In fact, a growing number of scientific evidence points to a robust link between natural astaxanthin and cardiovascular health – 30 cardiovascular specific research publications including 10 clinical studies. Research suggests that oral supplementation of astaxanthin may reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases by reducing hypertension while enhancing blood rheology, capillary circulation and vascular resilience.

The Effects of Astaxanthin on Atherosclerosis Prevention and Development

The Effects of Astaxanthin on Atherosclerosis Prevention and Development

Astaxanthin Increase HDL Cholesterol and Decrease Serum Triglycerides

For every 1 mg/dl increase in good cholesterol HDL, the risk of cardiovascular diseases drops by 3%. In fact, baby boomers with low-HDL (> 40mg/dL) increase their chances of experiencing coronary events by 50%. Recent studies suggest that individuals with low HDL cholesterol who also have high triglycerides levels are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. Achieving a significant increase of HDL is notoriously hard because it requires drastic lifestyle changes, so often ending with modest results or sudden relapses.
Recent research suggests that astaxanthin supplementation can support lifestyle changers by synergizing HDL increasing effect with decreased level of serum triglycerides. Two recent studies demonstrated that astaxanthin consumption can steadily increase HDL cholesterol in both healthy and less healthy individuals -both as preventive and therapeutic use. Yoshida et al., (2009) conducted the first ever randomized, placebo-controlled human study to evaluate astaxanthin effect on dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome. Sixty-one hyper-triglyceride subjects between 42-47 years old (BMI 24 mg/kg), received 0 (placebo), 6 mg, 12mg, 18mg of astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks. While the placebo group did not change their existing condition, the astaxanthin groups increased their HDL cholesterol by 11%, 15% and 7% respectively and decreased their serum triglycerides level by 17%, 25% and 24% respectively (figure 1).

Figure 1. Astaxanthin increase HDL cholesterol and decrease Serum Triglycerides (STR). Subjects with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of STR are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases (Yoshida et al., 2009) Figure 1. Astaxanthin increase HDL cholesterol and decrease Serum Triglycerides (STR). Subjects with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of STR are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases (Yonei et al, 2010) 61 hyper- triglyceride subjects between 42-47 yo; (BMI 24 mg/kg), received 0 (placebo), 6 mg, 12mg, 18mg of astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks

In a recent clinical study, 73 subjects between 20-60 years of age who received 4mg of natural astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks had their serum triglycerides level decreased by 25 %(Satoh et al., 2009). In another study conducted in Japan, 15 healthy adults increased their HDL by 6% after ingesting 9mg/daily of astaxanthin for 8 weeks (Matsumaya et al., 2010). In 2007, Hussein et al., has shown that astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells in rats, which lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular complications and chronic inflammation (figure 2).

Figure 2. Astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells. Large cells usually indicate higher risk of fat-oxidation chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases (x10) (Hussein et al., 2006) Figure 2. Astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells. Large cells usually indicate higher risk of fat-oxidation chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases (x10) (Hussein <em>et al.</em>, 2006)

Astaxanthin Decrease Red Blood Cells Oxidation and Lipid-Peroxidation

Astaxanthin Decrease Red Blood Cells Oxidation and Lipid-PeroxidationHigh levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL also increase the likelihood of fat-oxidation in vessels and formation of “wounds” in the inner lining of artery walls (endothelium) leading to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress; this situation causes degradation, narrowing and thickening of arteries. Three recent clinical studies have robustly pointed to astaxanthin ability to reduce fat peroxidation in blood plasma. In a randomized-double-blind placebo study, 33 overweight subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin daily for 3 weeks. Their lipid peroxidation markers plasma MDA Level (mmol) and plasma ISP (ng/mL) decreased by 30% and 60% in average (Choi et al., 2011).
In another randomized double blind placebo controlled study, 30 subjects between 50 and 69 years of age received 0 (placebo), 6 or 12mg astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks (Nakagawa et al., 2011). The amount of oxidized red blood cells (PLOOH um0l/ml) decreased by 17% and 24% respectively(figure 3).

Figure 3. Astaxanthin reduces red blood cells oxidation (RBCO) in senior subjects. RBCO cells has high correlation with neuro-degenerative (eg. dementia) and cardiovascular diseases (eg. heart attack) (Nakagawa et al., 2011) Figure 3. Astaxanthin reduces red blood cells oxidation (RBCO) in senior subjects. RBCO cells has high correlation with neuro-degenerative (eg. dementia) and cardiovascular diseases (eg. heart attack) (Nakagawa <em>et al.</em>, 2011) 30 subjects (15 F and 15 M) between 50 and 69 years of age , BMI 27·5 kg/m2 received 0 (placebo), 6 or 12mg astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks

In 2007, Karppi et al., conducted a randomized double blind conducted placebo controlled study with 40 non-smoking subjects between 19-33 years of age who received 0 (placebo) or 8mg of astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks. Their lipid peroxidation markers -plasma-15-hydroxy fatty acidsdecreased by 60% and plasma-12-hydroxy fatty acids by 36%. In 2000, Iwamoto et al., has also shown that astaxanthin inhibited LDL oxidation in human subjects. Professor Aoi from Kyoto Prefectural University, has shown that astaxanthin limits exercise-induced cardiac oxidation damage in mice.

Astaxanthin Enhance Biomarkers of Anti-oxidant Healthiness in the Blood Plasma

Low antioxidant activity in the blood correlates with high incidences of stroke, neurological impairment in stroke patients and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the biomarkers of antioxidant capacity in the blood when assessing the efficacy of an active ingredient. In a randomized double blind study, 33 overweight subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin daily for 3 weeks. Their plasma Superoxide Dismutase Level (SOD) (U/mL) and Plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) Level (mmol) increased 45% and 19% respectively. (Choi et al., 2011) (figure 4).
Other studies have produced similar results using different assessment methods. In an open label clinical study, 35 postmenopausal women were treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks (Yonei et al., 2009). Astaxanthin supplementation increased biological antioxidant potential in the blood plasma by 5% in 8 weeks. In addition, Camera et al., suggested that astaxanthin protects and synergize with our endogenous antioxidant systems (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione) from early degradation when subjected to oxidative stress (Camera et al., 2008).

Figure 4. Astaxanthin increases Plasma SOD Level and Plasma TAC level. Low levels of SOD and TAC correlates with higher incidences of stroke, neurological impairment and cardiovascular diseases (Choi et al., 2011) fig4 33 subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin x day for 3 weeks; BMI (25.0 -30.0 kg/m2) – aged 25.Normal Body Subjects – 10 non-intervention subjects (20.0 < BMI≤24.9 kg/m2) age 26

Astaxanthin Decrease Chronic Inflammation that comprise Blood Vessels Integrity

In the presence of oxidized cells in the endothelial lesions, macrophages white blood cells infiltrate in affected areas to clear away pathogens and dead cells. Yet, in the attempt to clean up the oxidized areas, macrophages may get overweighed with excessive lipoproteins and unable to leave the artery walls. This peculiar but common situation triggers a cascade of chronic inflammatory responses and pro-oxidant activities that degraded the structural integrity of the vessels. Therefore, up-regulated activity of oxidized LDL via macrophage induced inflammation is central to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. They are closely associated with plaque development, aggravation and ruptures.
A recent study shows that astaxanthin decreased macrophage occupied lesion areas and therefore inflammation in the vessels of rabbits by 40% compared to control group (figure 5). Furthermore, rabbits that ingested 4mg astaxanthin everyday for 24 weeks decreased programmed cell death (apoptosis) by 42% and cell death (necrosis) by 17% in the aorta (Li et al., 2004).

Figure 5. Astaxanthin decrease chronic inflammation and cell death in the inner lining of the vessels. Chronic inflammation and apoptosis in the endothelium dramatically accelerates vascular degradation and atherosclerotic plaque formation. (Li et al., 2004) Figure 5. Astaxanthin decrease chronic inflammation and cell death in the inner lining of the vessels. Chronic inflammation and apoptosis in the endothelium dramatically accelerates vascular degradation and atherosclerotic plaque formation. (Li <em>et al.</em>, 2004) Rabbits ingested 4mg of placebo, Vitamin E or astaxanthin everyday for 24 weeks.

In-vitro study provides further evidences that astaxanthin (5-10uM) decreases macrophages related activation (SR-A and CD36) by 48% and 58% respectively (Kishimoto et al., 2009). A recent animal studies show that astaxanthin could ameliorate endothelial dysfunction by significantly improving the level of substances important for the regulation of vascular integrity. In more details, treatment with astaxanthin for 42 days decreased serum oxidized LDL cholesterol, aortic MDA levels, attenuated endothelium-dependent vasodilatory to acetylcholine, up-regulate eNOS expression and decreased LDL cholesterol receptor expression (figure 6).

Figure 6. Astaxanthin treatment improved markers of endothelial dysfunction by reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and MDA. Higher levels of LDL oxidation and MDA expression highly correlates with structural damages in blood vessels and impairment of blood flow. (Zhao et al., 2011) Figure 6. Astaxanthin treatment improved markers of endothelial dysfunction by reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and MDA. Higher levels of LDL oxidation and MDA expression highly correlates with structural damages in blood vessels and impairment of blood flow. (Zhao <em>et al.</em>, 2011) Diabetic rats were treated with 10 mg/kg of astaxanthin or olive oil for 42 days.

Animal studies have also shown that astaxanthin ameliorated structural changes in the blood vessels – reduction in wall thickness by 47% and improved vascular tone by 36% in spontaneously hypertensive rats (Hussein et al., 2006). Such structural changes was observed in the reduction of the number of branched elastin bands and improved vessel wall to lumen thickness ratio.
In another study, 24 weeks supplementation of natural astaxanthin reduced levels of MMP3 expression in the aorta of rabbits – a crucial factor that lead to a degradation of elastin and collagen structures which determines the mechanical properties of connective tissues in the vessels (figure 7). In the experiment, astaxanthin enhanced plaque stability leading to a significant reduction of plaque ruptures (Li et al., 2004).

Figure 7. Astaxanthin inhibit MMP over-expression in the thoracic aorta. Over-expression of MMP is a crucial factor that leads to the degradation of vascular integrity and escalation of atherosclerotic plaque ruptures (Li et al., 2004) Figure 7. Astaxanthin inhibit MMP over-expression in the thoracic aorta. Over-expression of MMP is a crucial factor that leads to the degradation of vascular integrity and escalation of atherosclerotic plaque ruptures (Li <em>et al.</em>, 2004) Animal Study – Rabbits ingested AX 4mg/ Kg of body weight daily x 24weeks

Astaxanthin Improving Vascular Resilience and Capillary Blood Flow

Astaxanthin Improving Vascular Resilience and Capillary Blood FlowGood circulation, quality of blood and resilient vessels are the key features required to fight development and progression of atherosclerosis. Blood rich in antioxidants bring nutrients and oxygen to organs while removing waste through a smooth vascular resilience and capillary flow.
Recent human studies suggest that 6mg daily of astaxanthin can enhance blood flow by 10% in terms of capillary transit time -how fast the blood runs through the vessels (Miyawaki et al., 2008). Another complementary study showed that astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance by 17% – the degree to which the blood vessels impede the flow of blood (Iwabayashi et al., 2009).(figure 8) High resistance causes an increase in blood pressure, which increases the workload of the heart. In 2005, Nagaki et al., conducted another randomized double-blind study in which 36 subjects who received oral astaxanthin, 6mg/day for 4 weeks experienced a 4% improvement in capillary blood flow (Nagaki et al., 2005).

Figure 8. astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance (LLVR) – the degree to which the vessels impede the flow of blood. LLVR increase blood pressure and circulatory complications that lead to peripheral vascular diseases, venous thrombosis and painful claudication (Yonei et al., 2009) Figure 8. astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance (LLVR) – the degree to which the vessels impede the flow of blood. LLVR increase blood pressure and circulatory complications that lead to peripheral vascular diseases, venous thrombosis and painful claudication (Yonei <em>et al.</em>, 2009) 35 healthy postmenopausal women (BMI 22.1) were included in the study, treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks.

Astaxanthin Reduces Hypertension

A series of human studies suggest that astaxanthin decreases blood pressure by improving blood flow and vascular tone. In a recent clinical study, 73 subjects, between 20-60 years of age, who received 4mg of astaxanthin for day for 4 weeks showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (Satoh et al., 2009). In another study, 15 healthy subjects, between 27-50 of age, who received 9mg/day of astaxanthin for 12 weeks had their diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly (Matsuyama et al., 2010).
A series of animal studies have largely replicated the effects of astaxanthin found in human studies (e.g. Ruiz et al., 2010; Preuss, 2011).

Outlook

Clinical studies suggests that oral supplementation of natural astaxanthin (4mg-12mg) may reduce the risk cardiovascular complications by enhancing blood rheology, lipid-metabolism, capillary circulation, vascular resilience and the endogenous antioxidant defense. Other clinical studies have also shown that astaxanthin reduce lipid-peroxidation, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and DNA damage. Mechanism of action includes inhibition of macrophage-induced inflammation in the endothelium, oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and MPP-induced-structural degradation of the vessels. Furthermore, recent studies have also outlined that astaxanthin ameliorates nitric oxide dependent vessels dilation and reduce sensitivity to the angiotensin.

References

  1. Aoi et al., (2003). Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 5(1):139-44.
  2. Hussein et al., (2005b). Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin II. Vascular reactivity and hemorheology in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(6):967-971.
  3. Hussein et al., (2006b). Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin: III. Antioxidant and histopathological effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 29(4):684-688.
  4. Hussein et al., (2005a). Antihypertensive and Neuroprotective Effects of Astaxanthin in Experimental Animals. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(1): 47-52.
  5. Iwabayashi et al., (2009). Efficacy and safety of eight-week treatment with astaxanthin in individuals screened for increased oxidative stress burden. Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine., 6(4):15-21
  6. Iwamoto et al., (2000). Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. Journal of Atherosclerosis Thrombosis. 7(4):216-22.
  7. Karppi et al., (2007). Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid eroxidation. Int J Vitam Nutr Jan; 77 (1): 3-11.
  8. Kishimoto et al., (2009). Astaxanthin suppresses scavenger receptor expression and matrix metalloproteinase activity in macrophages. European Journal of Nutrition., 49(2):17-26
  9. Li et al., (2004). Alpha-tocopherol and astaxanthin decrease macrophage infiltration, apoptosis and vulnerability in atheroma of hyperlipidaemic rabbits. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology., 37:969-978.
  10. Matsuyama et al., (2010) A Safety Study on the Long-Term Consumption of Astaxanthin in Healthy Human Volunteer. Japanese Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine., (7):43-50. (Translated from Japanese)
  11. Miyawaki et al., (2005). Effects of Astaxanthin on Human Blood Rheology. Journal of Clinical Therapeutics and Medicines., 21(4):421-429.7.
  12. Murillo (1992). Hypercholesterolemic effect of canthaxanthin and astaxanthin in rats. Arch. Latinoam Nutr., 42(4):409-413.
  13. Preuss et al., (2009). Astaxanthin lowers blood pressure and lessens the activity of the eroxi-angiotensin system in Zucker Fatty Rats., Journal of Functional Foods., I:13-22
  14. Yoshida et al., (2010). Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia., 209 (2): 520-3.
  15. Nakagawa et al., (2011). Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes British Journal of Nutrition., (31):1-9
  16. Choi et al., (2011). Effects of Astaxanthin on Oxidative Stress in Overweight and Obese Adults Phytother. Research (in-press).
  17. Satoh et al., (2009).Preliminary Clinical Evaluation of Toxicity and Efficacy of a New Astaxanthin-rich Hameotoccus Pluvialis. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr., 44: 280–284.
  18. Hussein et al., (2007). Astaxanthin ameliorates features of metabolic syndrome in SHR/NDmcr-cp. Life Sci., 16;80(6):522-9.
  19. Preuss, et al., (2011). High Dose Astaxanthin Lowers Blood Pressure and Increases Insulin Sensi-tivity in Rats: Are These Effects Interdependent?., 8(2):126-138.
  20. Ruiz et al., (2010). Astaxanthin-enriched-diet reduces blood pressure and improves cardiovascular parameters in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Pharmacological Research., 63(1):44-50
  21. Zhao et al., (2011). Ameliorative effect of astaxanthin on endothelial dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in male rats. Arzneimittelforschung., 61(4): 239-246.

 CCRES special thanks to 
Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) 

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CCRES Algal Production Facility

CCRES First Pilot-scale Algal Production Facility
 
Nears Completion

An algal production facility located at the CCRES Research Farm will be operational by June. This is the first facility at Croatia that can produce large amounts of algal biomass.

The facility is a 800 square-foot greenhouse that will accommodate two raceway pond systems, four large flat panel photobioreactors and one custom-made revolving attachment-based photobioreactor. The total production capacity will be 100-200 dried kilograms of algae biomass per year.

CCRES Researchers will use the various production systems to quickly grow algal biomass for various research purposes including the production of renewable fuels, food or animal feed. “This greenhouse algal production system will be a test bed for different researchers to try out their algal production capability at a large scale,” said Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES ALGAE TEAM.

“The raceway pond systems are each 20 feet in length and both systems can hold approximately 1,000 liters of algae culture medium. Raceway pond systems are the most common method for large-scale algae cultivation. At first glance, the four flat panel photobioreactors appear to be large tanks,” said Ilam Shuhani, Chairman of the CCRES Supervisory Board and professor-in-charge of the greenhouse.

CCRES ALGAE TEAM
part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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International Algae Congress 2012

International Algae Congress 2012

   
  Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) proudly presents 6th International Algae Congress


The 6th International Algae Congress which will take place on December 4 & 5 2012 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

Among confirmed speakers:
– Mr. V. (Vítor) Verdelho, Board Member and Chief Development Officer, Algafuel P
– Mr. A. (Andreas) Weber, Algae Biotech SL E
– Prof. dr. B. (Birgit) Kamm, Honorary Professor Biorefinery Technology, FI Biopos e.V. and BTU Cottbus D
– Dr. J. (Jose) Olivares, Executive Director, NAABB USA
– Dr. H. (Hans) Kleivdal, Research Leader, Centre for Applied Biotechnology, Uni Research AS N
– Mr. J. (John) Benemann, CEO, MicroBio Engineering, Inc USA
Dr. J. (Joachim) Grill, CEO, See Algae Technology, D
– Dr. M. (Magali) Siaut, PhD, Greenstars Program FR– Mr. P. (Phillippe) Tramoy, Managing Partner of the company CBDM.T – Market & Business Intelligence FR
– Prof. S. (Sammy) Boussiba, director of the French Associates Institute for Agriculture & Biotechnology of Dryland at the Jacob
Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben Gurion University ISRAEL– Mr. R. (René) Draaisma, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen Research NL
– Dr. M.A. (Monique) Schoondorp, Managing Partner, Algaecom and professor new business development Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen
– Dr. Z. (Zsuzsanna) Libor, Cranfield University UK
– Dr. C. (Cees) Sagt, Principal Scientist Strain Development, DSM Biotechnology Center, DSM Food Specialties B.V NL
– Prof. R. (Rene) Wijffels, Wageningen University NL– Mr. P. (Pieter) Boelens, COO Evodos NL– Mr. D. (Doug) DiLillo, Pall Energy Group Industrial BioTechnology Lead BioBased Fuels & Chemicals Markets USA– Dr. M. (Monika) Solanki, Birmingham City University GB– Dr. J. (Jennifer) Champenois, Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues (CEVA)FR– Dr. C. (Chris) de Visser, Wageningen UR NL
– Dr. R. (Rommie) van der Weide, Acrres NL


Please scroll down for more information.

6th International Algae Congress 2012 at a glanceFollowing the success of the previous five international algae congresses, the organisers are pleased to announce the sixth International Algae Congress. The sixth International Algae Congress takes place at the floating pavilion in Rotterdam The Netherlands, on 4 & 5 December next.

It is organised by DLG BENELUX from the Netherlands.
Address Floating pavilion; Tillemakade 99, 3072 AX Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Facts & figures 5th International Algae Congress Berlin, 2011:
Over 120 algae stakeholders
+30 countries (European ánd Overseas )
26 speakers, CEO’s, professors from all over the world
+10 poster presentations, exhibitors
Senior Life Time Achievement Award Ceremony

Register to:– Meet the international algae elite
– Examine new developments
– Recognize key opportunities for your business
– Maximize your position in the global algae market

                    

Programme and SessionsUpdates on the programme and the speakers are still made, so please keep an eye on this page, or sign up for our e-newsletter.

Sessions address the following themes:

Session 1: Future European Algae Biomass; forecast, regulations and investment opportunities – Forecast
– Regulations
– Investment opportunities

Session 2: Commercial Algae Production, new views & concepts from laboratory and field– Reduction of energy input
– Efficiënt use of sunlight
– Nutrient recycle
– Scale up
– LCA’s/ Design scenarios
– Innovative photobioreactors

Session 3: EU & Global projects
– Reports on FP7 and global projects

Session 4: Strain Selection &  Genetic Engineering
– Latest developments
– Innovative technologies

Session 5: Biofuel production & Biorefinery
– Promising Technologies
– Innovative business models that lead to the implementation of Biorefinery

Session 6: Upscaling and Commercialisation
– Market analysis studies
– Market potential and time lines
Session 7: Markets & Closing

Registration fees excl VAT– Congress delegate €895 incl conference dinner
– Congress delegate 1 day €450
– Student ( * copy student card required ) €299
– Poster presentation €100 ( excl congress sessions )
– Stand €495
– Abstract book & presentations €250

You will meet delegates from various sectors from the algae industry, including scientists, aquaculture, algae producers, waste managers, water treatment, end-users (food, feed, aquaculture, pharma), VC PE and other investors, consultants, energy companies, equipment, technology & infrastructure and government agencies.

Please click here for testimonials from delegates and speakers.

Algae Information MarketAn excellent platform where companies and scientists can demonstrate their products and/or services by means of a stand or a poster presentation. The information market will be located in the foyer surrounding the congress room. This foyer is used for the registration of participants, coffee breaks and lunches as well. You will have sufficient time for networking with participants during these coffee breaks and lunches.

Please click here for an overview of the partipants and the possibilities.

                                   

The International Algae Congress is the opportunity to;• Position your brand and business
• Get direct and exclusive access to a group of targeted decision makers and
investors
• Create new partnerships and alliances
• Share knowledge and know-how with your target group
• Benefit from unrivalled lead generation and profiling at this event

                                   

Team will be happy to answer your questions, please contact;

DLG BENELUX
Project manager
Christie de Vrij
E: christie.devrij@dlg-benelux.com
+31 (0)348 – 484 002

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BIOGORIVO TREĆE GENERACIJE

Bazeni za uzgoj algi

Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi

Ovisnost svijeta o neobnovljivim izvorima energije, uglavnom fosilnim gorivima, trn je u oku mnogih znanstvenika i aktivista za zaštitu okoliša diljem svijeta. Samim time ne iznenađuju globalna nastojanja da se smanji ovisnost o fosilnim gorivima i pronađu ekonomski prihvatljiva alternativna goriva i da se time znatno smanje emisije štetnog ugljičnog dioksida u atmosferu. Jedna od alternativa o kojoj se najviše priča su biogoriva. Biogoriva su zbog svoje sličnosti s naftnim derivatima poprilično dobra alternativa fosilnim gorivima i korištenje biogoriva rezultira s manjim emisijama CO2 u atmosferu. Zbog toga su biogoriva ekološki puno prihvatljivija od konkurentskih fosilnih goriva. Manje ukupne emisije ugljičnog dioksida iz biogoriva rezultat su zatvorenog ugljičnog kruga – biljke i alge uzimaju iz atmosfere ugljični dioksid da bi mogle rasti, a kad se biogoriva upotrebljavaju taj isti ugljični dioksid se vraća natrag u atmosferu. Ugljični otisak fosilnih goriva ide u samo jednom smjeru – iz zemlje u atmosferu, tj.u niti jednom koraku proizvodnje i korištenja fosilnih goriva ne smanjuje se količina CO2 u atmosferi.

Alge u laboratoriju Hrvatskog Centara Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
Biogorivo može biti čvrsto, tekuće ili čak plinovito gorivo koje je proizvedeno iz biološkog materijala. Kod organizama koji obavljaju fotosintezu, kao na primjer kukuruz ili soja, biljke koriste energiju sunca i vodu da bi pretvorile dostupni ugljični dioksid u ugljikohidrate, tj. da bi pohranile energiju. Ovakav proces je zapravo dvostruko koristan: ne samo da je proizvedeno gorivo, nego je za to potrošena određena količina ugljičnog dioksida pa ovakva proizvodnja goriva ima pozitivni učinak i s energetske i s ekološke točke gledanja. Iako se biogoriva mogu proizvoditi od bilo kakvih izvora ugljika, danas se uglavnom koriste razne vrste ratarskih biljaka diljem svijeta. Postoji mala razlika između različitih biljaka u smislu goriva koje se od njih proizvodi. Na primjer etanol se proizvodi od biljaka koje sadrže puno šećera (šećerna trska, kukuruz), a za proizvodnju biodizela koriste se biljke koje sadrže više ulja (soja, kanola, uljana repica).
Biogoriva imaju mnoge prednosti, ali postoje i nedostaci. Uzgajanje biljaka za proizvodnju biogoriva zahtjeva kvalitetna poljoprivredna zemljišta a to naravno povećava potražnju za takvim zemljištima i diže cijenu. Najveći problem s biogorivima je zapravo činjenica da je proizvodnja biogoriva pretvaranje hrane u gorivo, a to loše utječe i na cijenu i na dostupnost hrane diljem svijeta, a već sad postoji gotovo milijarda ljudi koji žive na rubu gladi. Prema tome pretvaranje hrane u gorivo ne izgleda kao logičan izbor za rješavanje energetskih problema.
Prednosti korištenja algi za proizvodnju biogoriva 
Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi ima mnoge prednosti koje taj postupak čine gotovo savršenim izvorom goriva. Alge rastu 50 do 100 puta brže od tradicionalnih kultura za proizvodnju biogoriva. Dodatna velika prednost je to što su alge jednostanični organizmi koji ne zahtijevaju svježu pitku i zemljište da bi rasli, a to znatno pojednostavnjuje proizvodnju. Prema nekim stručnjacima proizvodnja goriva iz algi je najbolja alternativa fosilnim gorivima i uz dobru podršku ta bi biogoriva u budućnosti mogla u potpunosti izbaciti fosilna goriva iz upotrebe.
Gdje se mogu uzgajati alge?
 Alge se mogu uzgajati u odvojenim vodenim površinama, čak iako voda nije dovoljno kvalitetna za piće. Alge se također mogu uzgajati i u slanoj vodi. Uzgajajući alge na površinama koje nisu pogodne za proizvodnju hrane, više zemljišta i kvalitetne vode ostaje za proizvodnju hrane. Veća količina proizvedene hrane može se onda upotrijebiti za borbu protiv gladi, a ne za proizvodnju biogoriva kao do sada. Odemo li tridesetak godina unatrag, ili da smo precizniji u 1978 godinu, možemo primijetiti da je čak i američko ministarstvo za energiju (Department of Energy – DOE) pokrenulo „Aquatic Species Program“ s ciljem istraživanja moguće proizvodnje energije i biogoriva iz algi. Prema tome, proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi nije nova ideja kao što misli većina ljudi. Usprkos dobroj ideji, ovo istraživanje nije bilo produktivno, uglavnom zbog padajućih cijena sirove nafte i činjenice da je DOE bilo prisiljeno smanjivati troškove. Sve ovo rezultiralo je gašenjem programa 1996 godine.
Usprkos gašenju, istraživanja unutar tog programa dala su vrlo važne rezultate, a najvažnije od svega je zaključak da bi proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi svakako mogla dostići željene razine. U ono doba studije su pokazale i jedan veliki nedostatak: zaključeno je da postupak ne bi bio financijski opravdan sve i da se cijena sirove nafte udvostruči. Ovaj zaključak imao je solidnu potporu sve do 2006 godine u kojoj se cijena nafte gotovo utrostručila u odnosu na prošlu dekadu, a cijena nafte je i dalje rasla. Uz trenutne probleme globalnog zatopljenja i visoke cijene sirove nafte stvorile su se idealne prilike za ponovnu evaluaciju ovog izvora energije.
Tehnologije za uzgoj algi (Algal Growth System)
 
Prozvodnja biogoriva u Hrvatskom Centru Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi vrlo je zanimljivo područje istraživanja mnogim znanstvenicima diljem planeta, ja jedan on vodećih centara za takova istraživanja je laboratorij za pogone i konverziju energije (The Engines and Energy Conversion Laboratory – EECL) na sveučilištu Colorado State University. Ovaj laboratorij usmjeren je prema tehnologijama koje bi omogućile industrijska rješenja za energetske i ekološke izazove. Glavni projekt laboratorija fokusiran je na proizvodnju biogoriva iz algi i trebao bi rezultirati skalabilnom i cjenovno prihvatljivom tehnologijom za proizvodnju goriva. Jedan od glavnih igrača na tom polju svakako je tvrtka Solix Biofuels, kompanija koje je usavršila nekoliko generacija sustava za uzgoj algi (Algal Growth System – AGS), tehnologije koja je sad operativna na pokaznom polju Coyote Gulch u jugozapadnom Coloradu.
Tvrtka Solix Biofuels je vodeća u proizvodnju tehnologija za kreiranje iskoristive energije iz algi. Njihova tehnologija usmjerena je na omogućavanje velike komercijalizacije goriva temeljenih na mikroalgama i dodatnih koprodukata. Alge se mogu uzgajati na dva osnovna načina – sustav otvorenog bazena (prirodnog ili umjetno napravljenog) ili umjetni zatvoreni sustav. Alge moraju biti vrlo otporne na nametnike za uzgoj u otvorenim sustavima jer su to uvjeti koje nije lako kontrolirati.
Bez kontroliranih uvjeta teško je održavati rast željene vrste algi, odnosno održati rast na optimalnoj razini za proizvodnju biogoriva. Ovo je glavni razlog zašto Solix Biofuels uglavnom razvija zatvorene sustave za uzgoj algi. Zatvoreni sustavi imaju nekoliko prednosti: ne samo da zatvoreni sustavi omogućavaju uzgoj određene kulture, nego se alge u tim sustavima mogu direktno hraniti visoko koncentriranim ugljičnim dioksidom iz industrijskih procesa, a to naravno maksimizira količinu „ulovljenog“ ugljičnog dioksida koji bi inače bio ispušten u atmosferu. Prvi prototip AGS sustava napravljen je 2006 godine. Od onda kompanija radi na usavršavanju tehnologije i znatno je proširila površinu na kojima uzgaja alge. Posljednji veliki uspjeh dolazi iz srpnja 2009 kad su instalirali veliki sustav za proizvodnju biogoriva na pokaznom polju Coyote Gulch.
Što su zapravo postigli? 
Započeli su s velikim izazovom: prvo je trebalo razviti procese za skupljanje podataka i kontroliranje rasta ta automatizirani AGS. Željeli su jedinstvenu tehnološku platformu koja bi podržavala i prirodne i industrijske operacije. U prirodnim uvjetima sustav treba biti prilagodljiv pa je bilo potrebno mnogo kemijskih i fizičkih senzora te kontrola protoka. Za operacije u industrijskom okruženju glavni je naglasak bio na stabilnoj, pouzdanoj i jednostavnoj platformi koja ima sučelja prema industrijskoj instrumentaciji i kontrolama. Industrijska okruženja također moraju imati sustave skupljanja podataka u zajednički repozitorij da bi se informacije mogle jedinstveno prezentirati svim zainteresiranim stranama: menadžerima, operativi i odjelu za istraživanja i razvoj. Zbog toga je kreiran cijeli sustav za nadzor i skupljanje podataka (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) uključujući i sučelje za monitoriranje i kontrolu rasta algi.
Pokusna energana uključuje raznovrsne sustave izgrađene za proizvodnju plina i tokova vode, sam sustav za uzgoj algi, sustave za skupljanje algi i konačno sustave za proizvodnju biogoriva. Svi ovi sustavi omogućuju im vrlo precizno skupljanje podataka i ispitivanje odaziva različitih vrsta algi na različite uvjete uzgoja.
Zaključak 
Alge u procesu HCOIE
Biogoriva temeljena na algama definitivno imaju potencijala pokrenuti revoluciju u energetskoj industriji i mogla bi igrati vodeću ulogu u borbi protiv stakleničkih plinova i klimatskih promjena. Naravno, da bi se došlo do toga morat će se pokrenuti još mnoga istraživanja i biti će potrebna znatna financijska sredstva. Kompanije poput Solix Biofuels su pioniri koji bi mogli pogurati ovaj energetski sektor u jedan od najkompetitivnijih na energetskom tržištu. Lobiji iza fosilnih goriva su još uvijek prejaki, ali s rastućim problemom globalnih klimatskih promjena ti lobiji bi uskoro mogli u određenoj mjeri oslabiti, čime bi se širom otvorila vrata alternativnim gorivima. Jedna od alternativa koja svakako zaslužuje pažnju u godinama koje dolaze su biogoriva iz algi. Njihov energetski potencijal, činjenica da ne pretvaramo hranu u gorivo i znatno smanjene ukupne emisije stakleničkih plinova trebali bi im osigurati dovoljna financijska sredstva za daljnja istraživanja.
Potražnja za energijom neće se smanjivati u godinama koje dolaze nego će rasti i biti će potrebna alternativna goriva bez obzira koliko će dominantna ostati fosilna goriva. Proizvodnja biogoriva iz algi mogla bi biti jedna od iznenađujućih takmaca na polju alternativnih goriva u ne tako dalekoj budućnosti, osobito ako cijene fosilnih goriva budu rasle. A u međuvremenu bi kompanije i udruženja poput američke Solix Biofuels ili hrvatskog HCOIE trebale nastaviti svoja istraživanja i ukazivati na prednosti koje ovakav proces ima. Ovime bi se svijest o toj alternativi znatno proširila i implementacija proizvodnje na globalnoj razini postala bi moguća kad za to dođe vrijeme.
Hrvatski Centar Obnovljivih Izvora Energije (HCOIE)
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Astaxanthin carotenoid

Astaxanthin carotenoid

photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
 Astaxanthin
 Astaxanthin is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans, and the feathers of some birds. It provides the red color of salmon meat and the red color of cooked shellfish.
photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
Astaxanthin, unlike several carotenes and one other known carotenoid, is not converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the human body. Like other carotenoids, astaxanthin has self-limited absorption orally and such low toxicity by mouth that no toxic syndrome is known.
 
photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
 It is an antioxidant with a slightly lower antioxidant activity in some model systems than other carotenoids. However, in living organisms the free-radical terminating effectiveness of each carotenoid is heavily modified by its lipid solubility, and thus varies with the type of system being protected.

photo by CCRES ALGAE Team
While astaxanthin is a natural nutritional component, it can also be used as a food supplement. The supplement is intended for human, animal, and aquaculture consumption. The commercial production of astaxanthin comes from both natural and synthetic sources.
CCRES ALGAE TEAM
part of
CROATIAN CENTER of RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES (CCRES)
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CCRES Algae Project Q&A

 

 CCRES ALGAE
CCRES Algae Project
Q&A

See answers to common questions about growing algae for biofuel production.

Algae’s potential
What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?
What transportation fuels can algae produce?
How much fuel can algae produce?
Where could this type of algae grow?
What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

Economics
How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?
What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

Environment
How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?
Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

Security
Can algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

CCRES ALGAE
Q: What makes algae a better alternative fuel feedstock than cellulosic feedstocks, such as switchgrass or miscanthus?

A: Large-scale production of resource-intensive plants, like switchgrass or miscanthus, requires a substantial amount of fertile land, fresh water, and petroleum-based fertilizer to grow. The fuel derived is ethanol, a lower-energy fuel not compatible with the infrastructure now used to transport, refine, and deliver liquid fuels, like gasoline and diesel.

Conversely, algae can produce hydrocarbons capable of being converted directly into actual gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be transported and delivered to market using the existing refinery infrastructure.

Q: What transportation fuels can algae produce?
A: Algae produce a variety of fuel and fuel precursor molecules, including triglycerides and fatty acids that can be converted to biodiesel, as well as lipids and isoprenoids that can be directly converted to actual gasoline and traditional diesel fuel. Algae can also be used to produce hydrogen or biomass, which can then be digested into methane.

Q: How much fuel can algae produce?

A: The United States consumes 140 billion gallons per year of liquid fuel. Algae can produce 3,000 gallons of liquid fuel per acre in a year, so it would take 45 million acres of algae to provide 100% of our liquid fuel requirements.

For comparison, in 2008 the United States had 90 million acres of corn and 67 million acres of soybeans in production. So growing 45 million acres of algae, while challenging, is certainly possible.

Q: Where could this type of algae grow?

A: Algae perform best under consistent warm temperatures between 20 and 30 degrees. Climates with plenty of sunshine offer optimal conditions. Ideal Croatian locations include many of the southern and southwestern areas, such as Dalmatia,(including Dalmatian hinterland ).

CCRES ALGAE
Q: What can you do with material derived from algae production not used for fuel?

A: Production of 140 billion gallons of fuel from algae would also yield about 1 trillion pounds of protein. Since algae-produced protein is very high quality, this protein could be used to feed livestock, chicken, or fish. Presently, all livestock in this country consume about 770 billion pounds of protein per year.

Q: How much would a gallon of algae-based transportation fuel cost if it were available at a service station today?

A: Today, the cost would be relatively expensive. Additional investment in research is needed to further refine and enhance the algae strains that generate such fuels. Also, more infrastructure needs to be developed to achieve the necessary economies of scale that will come with large-scale commercial production. Once overall efficiency increases, the cost of producing a gallon of gasoline from algae will dramatically reduce.

Q: What can accelerate the commercial availability of algae biofuel?

A: As viable and potentially transformational as algae-based transportation fuels have already proven, we need a much better knowledge base on algae at the microbial level. We also need to build on this platform to develop the tools and train the next generation of scientists that will help usher in the age of accessible, affordable, and sustainable fuels made from algae. That is a central component of the Croatian Center for Algae Biofuels (CCRES Algae Project).

CCRES ALGAE
Q: How will algae-based transportation fuels impact greenhouse gas emissions?

A: Production of alternative transportation fuels from algae will help reduce the amount of CO2 in the environment. Algae provide a carbon-neutral fuel because they consume more CO2 than is ultimately released into the atmosphere when algae-based fuel burns. The amount of carbon removed from the environment will depend on the number of algae farms built and the efficiency with which algae can be modified to convert CO2 to fuel products. Eventually, algae farms will likely be located adjacent to CO2 producing facilities, like power plants, resulting in potentially significant CO2 sequestration benefits.

Q: Is the process capable of being replicated at the local level to increase energy efficiency and promote low-energy overhead?

A: Absolutely. There are huge advantages to locating algae farms near urban centers. The algae consume industrial waste and contaminants, which are usually found in higher concentrations near cities. A perfect location is near a power plant, where the algae can consume flue gas and other waste, or near a wastewater treatment plant where the algae could consume significant amounts of nitrates and phosphates from the waste stream. This could result in cleaner effluent discharge, and perhaps eventually create “new” sources of non-potable water for industrial or agricultural use.

Q: Could algae-based fuels be used in developing countries to help them bypass fossil fuel dependence?

A: Algae-based fuels (and the protein byproducts derived from their production) definitely have the potential to positively impact developing countries. The requirements for farming algae are fairly straightforward and can be done almost anywhere in the world with an adequate supply of sunshine. In Africa, for example, millions of algae acres could be farmed in its less-populated regions, resulting in a reduced dependence on foreign oil and a reliable and sustainable energy supply.

 
CCRES ALGAE PROJECT
part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
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