The System. Nine years ago, Algae to Omega began investigating and testing all known algae growth platforms. Through that research and development process, we have been able to shed elements from each platform that did not support growth, while at the same time retaining the elements that optimized algae proliferation. The Company then adapted the best of each individual component, including light, mixing and media, to work together in our growth system. This has led to the creation of an optimized modular algae cultivation platform, which we believe best mimics the natural environment for algae and maximizes the potential growth of the algae strains we use.
The Strains. Each alga strain that we have selected was chosen based on its level of adaptability. This ensures that our strains have a short incubation phase, which is the phase that algae spend physiologically preparing for growth. We only select the fastest growing, most resilient strains of algae, and then modify them through a process of monitored selection. This results in all-around superior algae. Since the most important parameters regulating algal growth include, nutrient quantity and quality, light, pH, turbulence, salinity and temperature, we have worked on these parameters from a strain-specific perspective. This approach has ensured that the growth of our selected strains is supported by an optimal environment for that strain, thereby maximizing production.
Growth Process. Algae have a typical pathway of growth, beginning with an incubation phase followed by an exponential growth phase, a linear phase, a stationary phase, and a decline preceding death phase. The exponential growth phase stage is where growth truly begins and where growth is most rapid. In this phase, strains are mixed using waves to simulate a natural growth environment that allows the algae to move freely, reducing what is known as the shading effect. With a continuous flow of movement, nutrients are better absorbed and light exposure is increased, without the occurrence of photoinhibition.
Our custom LED lights are critical to our growth process. They are utilized in a multitude of ways, during various phases of algae growth and development. For example, during the incubator phase we apply gentle wavelengths of light, slowly preparing the seeds for growth. We then broaden the spectrum of light and increase exposure time, allowing the algae to adapt to its environment. This leads to a phase of rapid cellular division, which we further expedite with our strain-specific lighting protocols. Finally, we blast the algae with intense light and rigorous mixing right at peak maturity in order to produce large amounts of lipids and compounds.
We believe the methodologies we have implemented will significantly increase the productivity of algae grown in a controlled, contaminant-free environment.
Extraction. Our extraction method is also unique. While we dewater the algae using a centrifuge, which is a common industry practice, we don’t dry the algae biomass as most companies do. We believe that a wet extraction method is a more efficient process and so we developed one using food grade ingredients, which assist in releasing the valuable alga oils. This method omits several steps that save both time and money.