The marked trend and consumers' growing interested in natural and healthy products have forced researchers and industry to develop novel products with functional ingredients. Microalgae have been recognized as a source of functional ingredients with positive health effects since these microorganisms produce polyunsaturated fatty acids, polysaccharides, natural pigments, essential minerals, vitamins, enzymes, and bioactive peptides.
Omega-3 fatty acids have several benefits for human health, such as preventing heart disease, healing atherosclerosis, and anti-aging. Linolenic acid, alpha-linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are some natural omega-3 fatty acids. Usually, these omega-3 fatty acids are commonly derived from fish oil, but many indications stated that omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil come from zooplankton, which consumes spirulina. Thus, microalgae are one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Algal PUFA production is more economical than biofuel production, and hence several large-scale producers are now focusing on nutritional PUFA production instead of biofuels. Spirulina is one of the most prominent microalgae due to its high production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, phenolic compounds, volatile compounds, sterols, proteins, amino acids, peptides, vitamins, polysaccharides, pigments, and food. It contains 15.8% lipid with 4.9% omega-3 fatty acid.
Due to the many inadequacies of fish-derived oil, including undesirable taste & odor, diminishing supplies, objections by vegetarians, its chemical processing methods, and presence of contaminants such as mercury, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls, the omega-3 fatty acids production has been diverted towards the microalgae (spirulina) which offers a promising non-polluted resource of omega-3 fatty acid as an alternative to fish oil.
In November 2016, Cellana, Inc. and PIVEG, Inc., partnered for the joint development and commercialization of Omega-3 oils and other high-value applications from microalgae biomass. DSM and Evonik announced a joint development agreement for omega-3 fatty acids from natural marine microalgae for animal nutrition. Also, the omega-3 fatty acids in spirulina platensis prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the body. Hence, due to the several health benefits and strategic developments of leading players related to spirulina sourced omega-3 fatty acids, spirulina is considered an emerging non-polluted resource of omega-3 fatty acid, ultimately pushing up its demand across the globe.
Meticulous Research®, in its latest publication on the ‘Spirulina Market,’ states that the spirulina market is expected to reach $730.3 million by 2028, at a CAGR of 9.5% during the forecast period 2021 to 2028. Also, in terms of volume, the spirulina market is expected to register a CAGR of 14.1% from 2021 to 2028 to reach 73,150.1 tons by 2028.
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