Project Update November 2019
ZIVO researchers have been experimenting with new drying techniques to expand post-harvest options. Spray-drying is the preferred method because it creates a rich, colorful product in a light, powdery form. But vacuum or drum drying is much more energy efficient, even though the rich green hue is missing. The Company is also exploring belt drying and refractive drying to capture both energy efficiency and the optimal color, texture, smell and taste profile
Safe daily intake limits
One important facet of obtaining GRAS status is the ADI, or Allowable Daily Intake. Most algae on the market in the US today are limited to 2 grams or less per day. ZIVO algae, on the other hand, are affirmed at 5 times that number. Studies in the planning stages intend to increase the ADI to 50 times that of other algae. Why is that important? Because competing algae that can only be consumed at 1/12th of an ounce per day are not a viable food or beverage ingredient, nor can they provide any meaningful nutritional benefits at such a low intake level.
Poultry gut health
Recent poultry gut health studies at AH Pharma have concluded, and the preliminary results again support the Company’s claims of improved feed conversion, gut health and resistance to common poultry pathogens. A full report is due at the end of November, and the results will be announced in detail.
Bovine mastitis testing
Bovine mastitis testing in California concluded in early October. ZIVO researchers are awaiting the histopathology and veterinarian reports before making any further announcements. This is the first of three final validation experiments, which will be concluded when funding becomes available.
As capital funding has been an ongoing challenge for many years, Company principals have embarked on a more comprehensive program to attract strategic investors and commercial partners, with announcements forthcoming. The Company has engaged a UK-based advisory firm to help package the ZIVO story.
NutriQuest testing in Europe
ZIVO has been advised that a group of poultry producers based in the Czech Republic will be testing ZIVO biomass as a poultry feed ingredient. The European diet for poultry contains a significant amount of wheat, which apparently irritates the chickens’ intestinal tract. It is hoped that ZIVO algae, administered at very low, vitamin-like inclusion rates may help curb the inflammation, which slows down weight gain.
SE Asia commercial opportunities
ZIVO CEO recently met with several global poultry producers and government officials based in Southeast Asia to offer ZIVO algae as a potential feed ingredient to curb the use of medicated feeds. Last year, feeds sourced from China and distributed in SE Asia were found to be spiked with melamine, triggering a massive recall of poultry products. The African swine flu has had the indirect effect of driving up poultry prices in the region, pressuring producers to increase yields. A marketing partner has been identified for the region and NutriQuest will coordinate product registration, testing and distribution.
An unexpected and very welcome bonus of including ZIVO algal biomass in chicken feed is the impact on the presence of salmonella in the chicken’s gut. Testing at University of North Carolina Greensboro has revealed this beneficial side effect, even at relatively modest intake levels. This development has the potential to impact food safety throughout the supply chain, but likely felt most at the processing plant.
Old Dominion flash hydrolysis
Researchers at Old Dominion University in Virginia have been experimenting with a low-cost, low-complexity method to extract high-value components from the ZIVO algal biomass, while leaving its nutritional profile largely unchanged. The scope of the product includes engineering a device that can be deployed worldwide at low cost and stationed next to cultivation ponds to capture high-value extracts before the wet biomass is sent to the dryer.
Euro diet testing at Iowa State
In addition to NutriQuest testing performed in the Czech Republic, ZIVO has independently commenced a similar study at Iowa State University to emulate the feed conditions prevalent in the EU, unaffiliated Eastern European countries and Russia. Information from that study will be shared with NutriQuest and researchers in the Czech Republic. Results for the Iowa State study are expected Q1 2020.
Compliance work to affirm GRAS status for poultry feed in the US has been delayed due to lack of biomass that meets product specification, driven by funding shortfalls in Q2 and Q3. The compliance process requires that contracted producers cultivate ZIVO biomass within the precise parameters developed by ZIVO, tendered to the GRAS scientific review panel, and do so at commercial scale and volume. It is hoped that this process can be back on track in Q4 2019. ZIVO currently produces biomass at research laboratory scale, at both its Arizona State and Kona, Hawaii installations, but these are insufficient volumes and methods for compliance work.
ZIVO has directed researchers at Arizona State to replicate methods developed at Siena Laboratories to improve the protein digestibility score for dried ZIVO biomass. Once harvested, a special rinse and dry process may boost digestibility, significantly increasing the value of ZIVO biomass as a good source of plant-based protein.
Production in India
ZIVO has contracted with two significant producers in India to produce ZIVO algae at commercial scale. One such producer, Shibin, has been working with the ZIVO strain for over 9 months, while simultaneously building out a much larger production facility dedicated to ZIVO algal cultivation. Shipments at commercial scale are anticipated Q1 2020 after several technical delays.
Production in Peru
In early November, a ZIVO principal met with executives of a major agribusiness in Peru, with promises to convert their existing spirulina facilities to exclusively produce ZIVO algae. The process of conversion is likely to begin Q1 2020, pending available funding.