The largest consumer of astaxanthin is the salmon feed industry(resulting in the pink/orange color of farmed salmon). However, natural astaxanthin cannot compete (price) against the synthetic product.
By the turn of the century it became established that astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant. This gave natural astaxanthin a second chance (Olaizola, 2003) as a human nutraceutical (Guerin et al, 2003).
While at Aquasearch/Mera in Hawaii, we developed the now well-known hybrid cultivation system for Haematococcus pluvialis (Hp): it consists of a two phase approach. In the first phase, Hp is cultivated under non-stress conditions to produce as much biomass as possible. In the second phase, Hp is stressed to induce astaxanthin accumulation in the biomass. For those curious enough, you can read (Olaizola 2000 and Olaizola and Huntley, 2003). For a more fun experience you can watch our video on "Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe" here. Our segment starts at 15'50" and lasts through 25'18".
Later, while at Synthetic Genomic's Calipatria facility, we had the opportunity to establish astaxanthin production in the desert. Here we developed a proprietary PBR system which we used alongside a commercial unit from LGem to produce green Hp. This biomass was used to inoculate very large raceways. We redesigned the raceways (see the photo above) and had the folks at Waterwheel Factory manufacture a system to our specifications which you can see in this video.
While working at Heliae, we optimized the astaxanthin production strategy already in place. New PBRs were developed (patented) which increased the efficiency with which raceway reactors could be inoculated for the astaxanthin accumulation phase.
These and other advancements resulted in successful production of astaxanthin in the largest greenhouse-covered raceway reactor that we are aware of (see the photo, above).
Heliae and Sincere Corporation established a collaboration to develop astaxanthin production in Japan (Saga City). During the first half of 2015, we developed and carried out a research cultivation program to quantify the productivity of Hp under Saga City growing conditions. The results of that study were shared at ABO (you can see the presentation here or watch this video - about half way down that page). Following the success of the test program, the companies green-lighted the commercial facility (Alvita Corporation)
We have more experience producing astaxanthin in more locales.
We will design a plant and a process that fit your needs and market.