Haematococcus pluvialis is a fresh water green microalga and the best source of natural astaxanthin, one of the most powerful anti-oxidants known to man. Haematococcus pluvialis microalga creates astaxanthin to protect itself from stressful environmental conditions. During the summer, when conditions become stressful and ponds begin to dry, astaxanthin enables the microalga to preserve its DNA undamaged, ready to grow again when the next rain comes, even if that takes many years. This remarkable ability demonstrates astaxanthin’s function as a superb antioxidant. In fact, studies have shown natural astaxanthin derived from microalgae to be over 500 times stronger than vitamin E and much more potent than other carotenoids. It is known that astaxanthin, which is a rich, dark red pigment, not only gives shrimp, krill and salmon their distinctive colors, but also helps salmon with the endurance they need to swim upstream for up to 2,000 miles, in addition to powering birds’ incredible eye sight.
Phaeodactylum tricornutum is a naturally rich source of fucoxanthin, an orange-brown carotenoid which plays a part in energy transfer and helps protect the microalga from oxidative stress. While fucoxanthin provides excellent anti-oxidative benefits like many other carotenoids, its true value goes far beyond. The consumption of algae has always been considered one of the reasons for the superior good health and longevity of certain Asian groups. In recent years, research institutes from around the world have identified fucoxanthin as a major contributor to the Japanese diet’s health benefits.
The marine microalga Porphyridium cruentum is known for its ability to synthesize a wide array of high-value compounds such as sulfated polysaccharides, pigments, poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and phycobiliproteins. Porphyridium cruentum biomass can contain up to 40% polysaccharides in form of an extracellular matrix. These exopolysaccharides (EPS) shield the cell against environmental stress and provide carbon-skeletons during starvation periods, and have shown great potential in cosmetic, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical and industrial applications. Porphyridium cruentum have been found to live in freshwaters, brackish or marine environments.
Nannochloropsis is a marine-water microalga and is considered to be an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, specifically eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Nannochloropsis is widely used in many aquaculture hatcheries to establish the initial step of an artificial food chain. Rotifers which consume the algae carry these fatty acids to the fish larvae. The advantage of Nannochloropsis over other unicellular algae is primarily its unique lipids composition. This unique composition can also be utilized for the production of oil for cosmetics and for use as a dietary supplement.