AUD$9m project puts algae under the nutritional spotlight in New South Wales

By Gary Scattergood

- Last updated on GMT

The department will assess the commercial viability of new products. ©iStock
The department will assess the commercial viability of new products. ©iStock
An AUD$9m (US$6.9m) project to boost the potential for algae in the nutrition, supplement and bio-industry has been launched in New South Wales.

The NSW Deep Green Biotech Hub (DGBH), in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney, has been funded by the regional department for industry and the university.

According to a statement, “The DGBH will create an enabling, incubator environment to develop algae as a cost effective and sustainable resource in a diverse range of products including nutritional supplements, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and animal feed.”

In addition to exploring the science of algae and its potential benefits, the department will also be tasked with assessing the commercial viability of new products.

NSW minister for small business, John Barilaro said, “The work being done at the University of Technology Sydney to support the algae-based bio economy both here and abroad is a fantastic example of the kind of innovation we’re driving in NSW to encourage and strengthen the businesses that will create the jobs of the future.”

Global potential

Professor Peter Ralph, from the university, said that an important outcome would be bringing together science, engineering and industry, both big and small, to understand what is possible and how to exploit the new global market.

“This far sighted investment will also enable SME and start-ups to access pilot manufacturing facilities to validate the production of samples for a range of sectors,”​ he said.

A multidisciplinary team from the university recently established a partnership with GE Healthcare to jointly develop production equipment and laboratories to produce pharmaceutical grade algal products.

Latest figures show that More than $200 million worth of omega-3 supplements are sold in Australia annually, and that is growing at about 10% year, with non-fish oil-based products rising in popularity.

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