Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) is pleased to announce that the production of astaxanthin got underway today at a cultivation facility held by its affiliated company, MC Biotech, in Brunei. MC holds a 93% stake in MC Biotech.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant used as a health food supplement and as a raw material for cosmetics and natural food coloring. Global demand for astaxanthin, which is highly regarded for its health benefits, has seen phenomenal growth in recent years, particularly in the US, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and Chinese markets. By cultivating Haematococcus algae
, MC Biotech is able to produce a natural source of astaxanthin, which offers a higher value-added product when compared to oil derived synthetic compounds.
Brunei, where the cultivation factory is located, has optimal conditions for cultivating the Haematococcus algae, including an adequate supply of sunlight and water. MC has been working, with Brunei Government cooperation, to execute the project, the first of its kind of be undertaken within the country’s Bio Innovation Corridor, an industrial park set up to attract halal-and-bio-industry related investments to Brunei. In addition, Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd., a Japan-based marine products company with expertise in the production of functional foods, is also a partner in the project with a 7% investment in MC Biotech and will be responsible for producing and exporting the dried biomass to Japan. Once astaxanthin is extracted from the dried biomass in Japan, a third business partner, Biogenic Co., Ltd., will market the final products domestically and abroad.
MC has had a long presence in Brunei. The company has been providing a stable supply, mainly to Japan, of LNG produced in Brunei since 1972. Through the stable operation of this new project, which seeks to make good use of rich microbial resources available in Brunei while maintaining utmost consideration for safety and the environment, MC aims to contribute to the diversification of industry, the creation of employment and the development of human resources in Brunei. This initiative also seeks to go beyond the energy industry in strengthening the overall relationship between Brunei and Japan.
Haematococcus algae: A unicellular fresh water weed which when exposed to ultraviolet rays, turns from green to red due to the formation of astaxanthin which provides protection to the cell.