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Healthy foods from a beautiful sea of Okinawa

Many may have heard that the 21st century is the century of biotechnology. Certainly, Silicon Valley, where many very famous IT venture companies were born, has been shifting to biotechnology since 2016. The number of biotechnology ventures, that are running a social business by creating things with making use of the various functions of all living things such as humans, animals, plants and microorganisms and by conducting engineering research such as creating methods and systems for realizing a certain thing, is increasing.

In the food sector as well, biotechnology is producing healthy foods to maintain a nutritional balance. In particular, some insistences on “healthy foods” actually do not have a scientific basis, which can often confuse consumers. Of course, it is true that, even with biotechnology, we feel resistance to genetic manipulation. However, nutritional balance is an essential issue for people living in the present age.

The raw material for health foods that may resolve such issues has been developed by a bioventure in Okinawa. OP BIO FACTORY Co., ltd., headed by Mr. Akihiko Kanemoto, has announced a material called Pavlova with the tagline “Superfood born from the sea of ​​Okinawa and raised in the sun of Okinawa.” Mr. Kanemoto has been conducting researches on collecting and utilizing marine resources throughout Japan, mainly in Okinawa, since the company was established in 2006. Mr. Kanemoto initially regarded Pavlova, a microalga from Okinawa and one of the phytoplankton, as a microalga that produces a lot of fatty acids that can be used as fuel; however, since he found as a result of repeated verifications that more than 61 nutrients, including fucoxanthin, which is said to have high anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects, and EPA and DHA, which are recognized as fish-derived oils, are contained in a well-balanced manner, he focused on conducting researches for use as food.

Pavlova is collected from coastal brackish waters, a harsh environment where sea concentration dramatically changes under the intense sunlight of Okinawa. After that, under thorough management, it is cultured using mineral-rich natural seawater of Okinawa with Japan’s first outdoor glass tube type photobioreactor.

The content of fucoxanthin in 1g of dried Pavlova is more than 100 times that of mozuku seaweed and kelp and more than 10 times that of hijiki seaweed. According to Mr. Kanemoto, while offering it as a health food ingredient at this time, he aims to register it as food with function claims. Although the specific release date has not been determined yet, it will be sold by mail-order food companies around this summer. By the way, regarding the classification of food with health claims, which is the source of the difference between healthy food and food with function claims, the Consumer Affairs Agency’s website describes that: “There are three types of food with health claims: food with nutrient function claims, food for specified health uses, and food with functional claims. It means a food product whose function is marked according to national safety and efficacy standards.”

2020.03.17