A 3.5 x 6 meters pool type culture tank and a 2 x 10 meters race way type culture tank were installed in a greenhouse, and allow cultivation of about 5 ~ 8 tons of diatom Chaetoceros gracilis algae. The plant is located in a sewage plant in Himeji which allows the inflow of nutrients other than CO2. One of the products was fucoxantin, another, by expressing a bacterial fatty acid hydroxylase gene, was ricinoleic acid which can not be synthesized in wild-type diatoms. Ricinoleic acid is a useful raw material for plastics. The project led by Kentaro IBU is supported by NEDO.
NEDO news release, January 25, 2018