ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Mitsubishi to manufacture health supplement from Brunei
MITSUBISHI Corp said its facility in Brunei will begin production next week of an antioxidant used in supplements and cosmetics for export to Japan.
In a press statement posted in the company’s website, the Japanese conglomerate said astaxanthin will be produced in a cultivation facility located at the Bio-Innovation Corridor (BIC). The facility is operated by its affiliate MC Biotech.
Mitsubishi has a 93 per cent stake in MC Biotech. It said Tokyo-based seafood producer Nippon Suisan Kaisha, Ltd has a seven per cent stake in MC Biotech and will be responsible for producing and exporting the dried biomass to Japan.
“Astaxanthin is an antioxidant used as a health food supplement and as a raw material for cosmetics and natural food coloring. Global demand for astaxanthin, which is highly regarded for its health benefits, has seen phenomenal growth in recent years, particularly in the US, Japanese, Southeast Asian, and Chinese markets,” Mitsubishi said.
By cultivating Haematococcus algae, MC Biotech will be able to produce a natural source of astaxanthin. Mitsubishi said this offers a higher value-added product compared with oil-derived synthetic compounds.
Haematococcus algae is a fresh water weed which when exposed to ultraviolet rays turns from green to red due to the formation of astaxanthin which provides protection to the cell.
“Brunei, where the cultivation factory is located, has optimal conditions for cultivating the Haematococcus algae, including an adequate supply of sunlight and water,” Mitsubishi said.
After the astaxanthin is extracted from the dried biomass in Japan, Mitsubishi said another partner Biogenic Co, Ltd—health and beauty products manufacturer—will market the final products.
Mitsubishi said MC Biotech has been working, with Brunei government’s support, to implement a pioneering project in BIC, an industrial park set up to attract halal and bio-industry related investments to the sultanate.
“Through the stable operation of this new project, which seeks to make good use of rich microbial resources available in Brunei while maintaining utmost consideration for safety and the environment, MC Biotech aims to contribute to the diversification of industry, the creation of employment and the development of human resources in Brunei,” Mitsubishi said.
The company said it has a long presence in Brunei, noting that it has been buying LNG from the sultanate for over 40 years.
Mitsubishi said setting up MC Biotech in BIC will help strengthen the trade relations between Japan and Brunei.
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