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Monday, December 11, 2023

Promoting the development of microalgae cultivation technology and food resources in space and on Earth

Euglena will participate in the "SPACE FOODSPHERE" program implemented by SPACE FOODSPHERE to promote the development of microalgae cultivation technology and food resources related to a "complete resource recycling and ultra-high efficiency food supply system" in space and on Earth.

The Space Food Sphere will bring together a wide variety of professionals working in various fields such as food production, resource regeneration, automation and remoteness, ecology, food processing, cooking, space, polar living, business, marketing, finance, and human resource development, to promote more concrete research and development, demonstration, and The event will promote collaboration between industry, academia, and government toward more concrete research, development, demonstration, and social implementation. From Euglena, researchers led by Kengo Suzuki, Executive Officer in charge of R&D, who has been conducting research on the theme of food production in "Space Food X*1" since 2019, will participate in the program and work on development themes related to the program.

1 "Space Food X" is a program planned and managed by the Euglena Group's Real Tech Fund, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and Sigmaxis Inc. The program aims to solve issues related to the production and supply of food in space and on Earth, and to create a market for food at an early stage.

Euglena's research results at Space Food X and its role in the SPACE FOODSPHERE program

Design of Algae Production and Culture System in Space and Estimation of Material Balance

Euglena has been researching space-saving and energy-saving material production methods by consolidating the results of its previous research on indoor and outdoor cultivation with low environmental impact, assuming biofuel production. Based on the results, the company has designed a microalgae cultivation system for space, a closed environment.

Utilizing the photosynthetic function of microalgae, carbon dioxide emitted by human respiration is absorbed to produce oxygen and a source of nutrients, enabling material circulation in space. A panel-type culture plant*2 is considered suitable for cultivating algae in space, which has many restrictions, and it is expected that approximately 600 g*3 of microalgae per day can supply the oxygen and nutrient sources needed by one person. This method requires an estimated floor space of approximately 2 m2 per person, making it possible to design an algae production and cultivation system that makes the most effective use of space and LED light.

2 A futuristic high-efficiency culture system in which culture fluid is circulated through a panel of culture sheets covered with a bag-like film and irradiated with LEDs. The culture tank and LEDs are installed vertically to maximize space utilization.
3 Calculated based on the assumption that the entire calorie intake of a person is covered by the microalgae euglena (Japanese name: Midori no Mushi).

Food development using microalgae in closed environments

Research on the Algae Nutrition Formula™, an algorithm that aims to achieve a complete nutritional diet by combining multiple microalgae, is underway; in FY 2019, a space food utilizing a type of algae, aurantiochytrium, to produce DHA was examined. Aurantiochytrium has nearly 20% of cell weight accounted for by DHA, and we verified its potential as a spacefood material that can efficiently supply essential fatty acids contained in fish, which are in short supply in space.

In addition, the nutritional findings were confirmed, including the possibility that components derived from euglena may lead to the prevention of cancer and aging by enhancing immune function and antioxidant function against the risk of abnormalities in biological cells caused by space radiation when living in space, and the suppression of disuse muscle atrophy*4 related to the prevention of muscle wasting. The findings were reported at the 63rd Space Science and Technology Conference held in November 2019.
4 Muscle atrophy caused by prolonged muscle disuse

Euglena's Role in the SPACE FOODSPHERE Program

Based on the results of the research to date, the initiatives being considered for FY2020 and beyond are as follows.

The Effects of Space Radiation on Algae
Potential of Euglena-derived Ingredients as a Solution to Health Problems in Closed Environments
Evaluation of the Effects of Microalgae-derived Components on Animal Cells
Verification of material balance by combining each elemental technology in the entire closed environment

name of companyEuglena Co.
EstablishmentAugust 9, 2005
capital stock7,318,140,000 yen
representative Mitsuru Izumo, President and Representative Director
Business Overview 1. R&D and production of microalgae such as Euglena
2. Production and sales of food products and cosmetics made from microalgae such as euglena
3. Development of biofuel technology for microalgae such as euglena, development of environment-related technology
4. Business development and investment in biotechnology-related businesses, etc.
uniform resouce locatorhttps://www.euglena.jp/
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