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Can Algae Revolutionize Dietary Supplements and Food Ingredients?

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By Staff Reports

(DGIwire) – Do any natural products offer a host of advantages that could substantially improve the quality of today’s dietary supplements and food ingredients? According to a recent article in Food Manufacturing, indeed there are: certain strains of algae. As the article reports, these algal strains—which incorporate unique blends of protein, fiber, micronutrients and non-starch polysaccharides—could serve as potential ingredients in veggie smoothies, dry mixes, protein replacements, fruit/vegetable mixes, protein bars and dozens of other foods and beverages. Algae could also serve as a functional food ingredient.

“Consumers are increasingly calling for less reliance on antibiotics, hormones and GMOs in food production,” says Andrew Dahl, President and CEO of ZIVO Bioscience, a biotech/agtech R&D company engaged in the commercialization of nutritional and medicinal products derived from proprietary algal strains. “New strains of freshwater algae, never before utilized for human or animal consumption, are being studied for their promise to promote a healthy immune system and provide an ideal plant-based source of protein.”

ZIVO’s proprietary strain of filamentous freshwater algae has been shown to contain approximately 31,000 IU of Vitamin A in a 100g freeze-dried sample—more than in three ounces of liver. This strain offers 118mg of Vitamin C in a 100g freeze-dried sample; a medium-sized orange offers 70mg. By comparison, 100g of Spirulina algae has about 10mg of this vitamin. Additionally, 100g of this algal strain (in freeze-dried, non-concentrated natural form) holds 43g of protein and compares favorably against soy flour, fish protein powder and concentrated whey powder in 20 essential amino acids. Additionally, 100g of this same algal strain contains 79mg of calcium with good bioavailability.

As Food Manufacturing goes on to note, most algae strains cultivated today—including ZIVO’s—can be spray-dried, belt-dried, drum-dried or freeze-fried depending on the product’s formulation requirement, ranging from a fine powder for better mixing properties to a compressed, flaked form that is more compact and delivers a solid nutritional payload.

Algae strains currently in commercial cultivation, including that being cultivated by ZIVO, contain high-value ingredients such as Omega-3 lipids, natural astaxanthin, beta glucans and bioavailable vitamins, among many others. In most cases, reports Food Manufacturing, these high-value ingredients are free from contaminants or undesirable by-products, which can improve taste and stability of the algal product itself, in addition to health and nutrition claims.

“Although algae may occupy a relatively modest position in the kingdom of life, their potential importance in food and beverage consumption is anything but modest,” Dahl adds.

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