STORY.2

The first successful commercial production of astaxanthin algae

In 1994, we, the AstaReal Group were the first in the world to succeed in commercially producing algae (Haematococcus pluvialis) that is a good source of astaxanthin. Research into astaxanthin algae began in the laboratory at Uppsala University in Sweden, the oldest university in all of the Nordic countries, and one of the most respected throughout the world in the fields of biology and medicine. The research team set their sights on a lab-level cultivation method and possible uses for the algae, and set about turning their research into a business as a small bio-venture.
Beginning the history of natural astaxanthin

Beginning the history of natural astaxanthin

Astaxanthin algae can be found not just in northern Europe but throughout much of the natural world. However, due to its particular nature, it is extremely sensitive to external environmental conditions and as such is extremely difficult to cultivate in man-made and controlled environments. The research team had focused on a lab level cultivation method, but was finding it no simple task to expand production to a larger scale. Furthermore, after being spun off from the university as the independent bio-venture AstaCarotene, they were struggling to secure funding to support their continued research. After an infusion of funds from some influential Swedish industrialists, they finally succeeded in developing a production method using bioreactors, which is the very technology that forms the basis of AstaReal Group’s proprietary production method today. After that, AstaCarotene became the first company in the world to produce and sell astaxanthin as a supplement, in Europe. Here was the precise moment that the curtain opened on the history of natural astaxanthin.

Encounter with AstaCarotene

Encounter with AstaCarotene

Having become the first to succeed in commercial production of astaxanthin algae, and the first to produce and sell astaxanthin supplements, AstaCarotene were piling up impressive feats one after the other. However, no matter how rich with potential a functional supplement may be, getting users to learn of and adopt it at a large scale is no easy matter. In possession of exciting new biotechnology, but struggling with sales, they caught the eyes of the AstaReal Group. At the time we just so happened to be searching for a method of commercially-producing quality natural astaxanthin, and so we decided to merge. AstaCarotene was born in Sweden’s prestigious Uppsala University, and created numerous world-first technologies. Their DNA and legacy forms a core component of the AstaReal Group as it exists today. Some members who were part of that initial fervor even remain with the AstaReal Group today, in key research and development positions.

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