Yemoja opens sustainable microalgae production plant

Yemoja commences microalgae production with minimal footprint.

Yemoja, a marine ingredient start-up, has opened the doors of its new plant dedicated to the production of microalgae. The facility hailed the new tight ship of microalgae cultivation located within the mountains of the scenic Upper Galilee region of Israel, is now fully operational. Yemoja already has brought production up to speed to meet the new volume of orders emanating predominately from the global nutraceutical and cosmeceutical sectors.

Yemoja cultivates microalgae customised to fit functional food, nutraceutical or cosmetic applications. The company utilises a photobiorector technology, setting a standard for microalgae production and sustainability. Indoor cultivation operates in a closed, contaminant-free system that maintains control of key parameters such as temperature, pH, light and CO2 emissions with capabilities to produce a broad spectrum of pure algae, and in a controlled environment.

Erez Ashkenazi, COO and co-founder of Yemoja, commented: “We built a green factory in which we can create and maintain the ultimate conditions for any known microalgae species, yet with zero dependence on external environment and weather. Our indoor system generates exceptional yields with proven reproducibility on a very small plot of land and using minimal resources.”

Yemoja operates a small batch production line structured in an arrangement of vertical luminescent columns known as illis. Each ille is allocated a specific algae species, is closed-off and isolated from other units to prevent cross contamination. This facilitates the simultaneous and continuous production of a variety of algae-derived products that can meet the specific requests of customers, maintaining their individualised control irrespective of batch volume.

“We meticulously designed the site to meet the highest standards of operational efficiency to minimise environmental impact, leaving only a tiny carbon footprint,” Ashkenazi said. “Our specialty ingredients are cultivated in a chemical-free, all-natural process, with a full respect of our natural habitat.”

The start-up set up its first pilot facility in 2017. Following a series of trials in 2018 and a seed round, Yemoja decided last year to move on to the next phase of opening a its manufacturing plant. The plant began rolling out microalgae production to meet the new influx of demand.

Eyal Shalmon, CEO of Yemoja, concluded: “We have received heightened interest in our external polysaccharide sulphate (EPS) Porphyridium cruentum due largely to increased global demand. The polysaccharide has been investigated for its ability to be merged into various biotechnological applications and industry disciplines including, cosmetics and biomedicine. The soluble polysaccharide fraction is already being used in skin care products and in a considerable number of cosmetic formulations due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.”

Yemoja has also teamed up with the Migal Galilee Research Institute and various European bodies to forward the Horizon 2020 project looking into the long-term development and synthesis of novel algae-based small molecules for functional food and supplements targeting Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The project has been given the green light to enter its next phase of development.