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1st May 2024  Content supplied by: Checkerspot, Inc.

Checkerspot's Advancements in Non-Genetically Engineered High-Oleic Algae Oil Production


  • Biotechnology company Checkerspot has developed a non-GE high-oleic acid algae oil ingredient.
  • The oil's high monounsaturated fatty acids, which make it versatile and functional, make it ideal for a wide range of products.
  • The production of non-GE high-oleic microalgae oil by fermentation is a significant step forward in addressing supply chain issues and enhancing resiliency.
  • The controlled fermentation environment ensures consistent quality and composition, minimizing the risk of environmental contaminants.

Checkerspot, a biotechnology company creating a better source of oil, announces a new development in the production of a non-GE high-oleic acid algae oil ingredient. This advancement, detailed in the paper "Microalgae’s Impact on Human and Animal Nutrition" published in the journal INFORM (April 2024, Vol. 35) by the American Oil Chemists' Society, represents a significant leap forward in the field of biotechnology.

There is a strong demand for ingredients and products without a genetically engineered origin in many industry segments, including nutrition, personal care, and food. This market demand and lack of alternatives on the market served as one of the driving factors for Checkerspot to develop a process for making a high-oleic oil made through classical strain improvement, which leverages microalgae’s natural evolutionary properties. It leaned on its molecular biology platform to achieve the targeted composition without the use of genetic engineering, and recently received a U.S. patent for the technology.

The oil's high level of monounsaturated fatty acids at >85% of total fatty acids offers exceptional versatility and functionality, making it an ideal ingredient for a wide range of products. In the food space, this level of monounsaturated omega 9s, considered “good” fats, is higher than most olive and avocado oils, which settle around 70% of total fatty acids. The high level of oleic acid also contributes to improved stability and a long shelf life for the neutral-tasting oil.

"Traditional methods of strain optimization have often been eclipsed by genetic engineering techniques in the biotechnology industry. However, our success in producing a microalgae oil with extremely high levels of oleic acid through classical strain improvement techniques demonstrates the untapped potential of solutions through microalgae and offers a non-genetically engineered source of this oil for wide global market adoption," remarked Scott Franklin, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of Checkerspot.

The production of non-GE high-oleic microalgae oil by fermentation represents a significant step forward in addressing supply chain issues and enhancing resiliency within various industries. Checkerspot can produce oil on demand and at scale with less of the seasonal, geographic, or climate-related challenges faced by traditional commodity crop oils. The controlled environment of fermentation delivers consistent quality and composition, minimizing the risk of exposure to environmental contaminants that can compromise product integrity.

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Date Published: 1st May 2024

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