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Microalgae DHA in China

Several years ago, biofuel extracted from algae seemed to be the answer for turning the traditional fuel industry around. Dozens of companies were founded and invested in the research on this new promising fuel to lower the dependence on petroleum. Today we know, that the use of oil from algae as a biofuel was inherently overhyped and a lot of more research and development needs to be done in order to find a commercial use for it, that also can compete with a close price to those of oil.

However, while this biofuel remains one of the main uses for algae biomass nowadays, other uses and processing of algae’s oil are growing attention and investment. The industries, which are in use of algae oil are, among others, cosmetics, nutraceuticals, food and feed additives and speciality oils. The use of DHA in the nutraceuticals industry is backed up by the containing of omega-3 acids, especially DHA in algae oils. This acid is known to play an important role in the development of the brain and skin of infants and has several beneficial and healthy effects.

The rising health consciousness of consumers is boosting the market for algae DHA worldwide, first and foremost in infant formula. The highest growth rate in the microalgae DHA industry is found in the Asia-Pacific region, which will likely lead this area to the leading player in the near future.

DHA can be gained from two sources: fish oil and seaweed. The latter has the benefits of not be contained by ocean pollution, less dangerous for the ecological environment, and high bioavailability. These attributes are earning microalgae DHA a higher market share than fish oil DHA.

In recent years, China's microalgae DHA has been experiencing notable growth in supply. Besides, the Chinese government encourages to develop the domestic microalgae DHA industry. Moreover, infant formula, the largest application field of microalgae DHA in China, has further developed these years. All above factors are elevating the development of microalgae DHA in China, and the high margin in the business of microalgae DHA has attracted more investors over the years.

In China, the microalgae DHA industry started growing in 2002. Up to now after 15 years of development, over 15 DHA manufacturers have established a notable market in China, with Hubei Fuxing leading the production capacity. Advanced technology and high demand is the main driver for the emerging industry. As of expert’s opinion, the price will remain stable in the next time or even witness slight increases, after falling in average from 2012 to 2016.

What’s more, China’s imports of microalgae DHA have declined in the last year, while exports are witnessing significant boosts. It is notable, that the switch from the one-child policy to the two-child policy last year will likely boost the demand for infant formula products, and hence also for microalgae DHA.

China’s manufacturers are producing microalgae DHA mainly through fermentation. The strain for this fermentation is Schizochytrium sp. The high quality of the product is ensured by extraction and microencapsulation.

The main import country of microalgae DHA for China has been long time the Netherlands and the USA. However, after enhancing product quality and processing standards, China produced microalgae DHA has a growing reputation around the world, which is boosting the export volume to countries like Australia, Indonesia, France, and New Zealand.

About the article

The data and information for this article are based on the report: Market Research of Microalgae DHA in China Edition(2), a report, which provides a detailed overview of China’s microalgae DHA industry in general with highlights in production, price, exports, consumption, and forecast.

Get insights in China’s hardly transparent microalgae DHA market with the detailed report. Profit from many years of experience by experts of China’s food and feed additives industry.


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