KAS wins the Seafood Innovation Award 2021 at NASF 2021 for astaxanthin fermentation technology
In competition between 8 companies at Seafood Innovation Day NASF 2021, the seafood industry’s own innovation award went to Kuehnle AgroSystems from Hawaii for their fermentation technology to produce natural astaxanthin for the aquafeeds market.

Kuehnle AgroSystems has developed a patented low-cost fermentation technology to produce natural astaxanthin for the aquafeeds market. Their breakthrough technology is high yield production of algae by dark fermentation. The fermentation process enables greater output volumes and lower cost that light-dependent algae production methods.Astaxanthin is commonly added in a synthetic form for improving coloration of salmonids and crustaceans. Natural algae astaxanthin is too scarce and too expensive for the aquafeeds.The competition for this year´s Seafood Innovation Award was very tight, but the audience at Seafood Innovation Day and the jury have together voted forward one company:

The winner has developed a new and innovative technology that enables drastic improvements to the production of an important ingredient in the seafood industry. To increase the consumption of seafood in a growing global population, we need to produce healthy, tasty and sustainable seafood. We need natural and sustainable produced key ingredients – one of them which the winner is producing – so the market potential is huge. Their fermentation technology presents a breakthrough as they enable cost-efficient and high-volume production of natural astaxanthin for the aquafeed market.

The audience at Seafood Innovation Day together with a jury, voted for the winner of Seafood Innovation Award, June 8th, at North Atlantic Seafood Forum, the world´s largest seafood conference. The seafood industry itself has taken the initiative for the award aiming to stimulate and recognize knowledge-based innovation and entrepreneurship.

KAS Debuts Natural Astaxanthin by Novel Fermentation

Our break-through is comparable to the emergence of algal DHA using fermentation to replace marine oils for healthy sustainable nutrition.


Kuehnle AgroSystems has developed a game-changing fermentation process for the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, a trusted source of natural astaxanthin.

Natural Astaxanthin

Astaxanthin from microalgae is a powerful antioxidant pigment with numerous health-promoting benefits for people and their pets.   Natural astaxanthin is found in highest concentrations only in the algal species Haematococcus pluvialis.

Astaxanthin also supplies farmed fish and shrimp the dietary carotenoid antioxidants they require for their health and color. For consumers, the pink-red coloration attributed to astaxanthin indicates premium quality seafood.

KAS's Fermentation Breakthrough

Only KAS produces astaxanthin from Haematococcus by proprietary dark fermentation.  The fermentation process is very fast, high yielding, and economical. It occurs in closed vertical tank systems for minimal water and land use with maximal purity.  

The process enables much greater output volumes and lower cost than light-dependent algae production methods, to better respond to the rapidly expanding needs of the market.

Performance and Commercialization

In aquaculture, KAS’s single-cell Haematococcus product performed well in independent feeding studies in Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and vannamei shrimp.  In personal care, astaxanthin-containing extracts such as AstaFusion® boasts novel antiaging benefits for skin care, while that from supercritical CO2 purification holds promise for food supplements.

Manufacturing plans are currently in development. KAS is actively seeking strategic partners to bring this exciting new technology to the global aquaculture and other markets.

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