Martek Biosciences Corp.

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Few ingredients have achieved the level of science-supported market success as omega-3 DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) products. That omega-3s are obviously on the radar of food companies is evidenced by recent major product launches (for example, Coca Cola Co.’s Odwalla-brand soy milk with DHA).

Another indicator is formal alliances, such as Martek Biosciences Corp.’s 15-year supply agreement for DHA with General Mills and with Kellogg (and several other similar deals in the pipeline).

DHA and other omega oils have enjoyed strong scientific backing for numerous health benefits, including cardiovascular health, eye health, nerve growth, cognition, memory and depression.

For its KSF35 and KSF58 DHA, Martek employed the triple-play of technology, a strong patent position and a focused marketing strategy to launch its line of omega-3 DHA powders. Martek’s technology, which extracts omegas from algae, also allows for easy addition of omega-3 powders during the dry mixing stages. The uniqueness of algal-sourced omega is that, because it is in the form of DHA instead of the ALA precursor, it has high bioavailability compared to other non-animal sources. In fact it’s the only vegetarian source of DHA available.

Martek’s KSF35 allows for 10 percent DHA at 35 percent loading and KSF58 for 17 percent DHA at 58 percent loading.

The powders have a three month shelf life at ambient conditions and one year under refrigeration. Martek also supplies DHA-S HM oil – a semi solid omega-3 food for granola and nutrition bars and extruded cereals – applications for consumers on the go. Unlike the rest of the omega-3 category, DHA-S HM (high melt) does not require winterization, has high stability properties and yields 320-350 mg DHA per gram.

With the widespread scientific consensus on the benefits of DHA for brain-health (Canada is already allowing a brain development health claim for products with DHA) soon other demographics will be able to acquire DHA in a growing variety of foods and beverages.

‑by Kantha Shelke, Ph.D.

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