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Biotechnol Adv. 2011 Nov-Dec;29(6):568-74. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.04.001. Epub 2011 Apr 9.

An economic assessment of astaxanthin production by large scale cultivation of Haematococcus pluvialis.

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1
College of Biotechnology, Tianjin University of Science and Technology, Tianjin 300457, P.R. China.

Abstract

Although natural sources have long been exploited for astaxanthin production, it is still uncertain if natural astaxanthin can be produced at lower cost than that of synthetic astaxanthin or not. In order to give a comprehensive cost analysis of astaxanthin production from Haematococcus, a pilot plant with two large scale outdoor photobioreactors and a raceway pond was established and operated for 2 years to develop processes for astaxanthin production from Haematococcus. The developed processes were scaled up to a hypothetical plant with a production capacity about 900 kg astaxanthin per year, and the process economics was preliminarily assessed. Based on the analysis, the production cost of astaxanthin and microalgae biomass can be as low as $718/kg and $18/kg respectively. The results are very encouraging because the estimated cost might be lower than that of chemically synthesized astaxanthin.

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