Media Release – 6 June 2011
NEW PARTNERSHIP PLANS TO SHAKE UP OMEGA-3 INDUSTRY
Brisbane-based Qponics Limited (ASSOB:QPO) today announced its partnership with UniQuest, the main research commercialisation arm of The University of Queensland to launch into the high-growth, billion-dollar, global omega-3 oils market.
Qponics is developing a unique production system for quality organic DHA1 and EPA2 omega-3 oils.
Responding to the market’s 14 percent annual growth rate, the company plans to construct its first operational plant in the Camden area 60km south west of Sydney. This will integrate the cultivation of algae into a sustainable aquaculture-horticulture process.
With omega-3-incorporated products emerging as strong players in the functional foods sector, the $US1.3 billion market for marine and algal oil ingredients has grown significantly to meet global consumption – which exceeds 70,000 tonnes per year.
There is rapidly increasing demand globally for DHA/EPA omega-3 oils. Deep-sea fish are presently the most common source but their numbers are in global decline, and most vegetarians around the world do not consume fish or fish oil. These factors signaled a major market opportunity for omega-3 oils produced from algae.
Qponics’ CEO, Dr Graeme Barnett, says the research contract with The University of Queensland will provide a significant boost to the company’s market entry.
“Because we will continuously farm the oil-producing algae, which are single-celled photosynthetic plants, there are no issues about sustainability and our omega-3 oil will be vegetarian-friendly,’ said Dr Barnett.
“Our aim is to sell ethically produced DHA/EPA omega-3 oils to a wider segment of the global market, which will present a more viable option both to companies that use omega-3 in their products and to end-consumers of products who are looking for quality, healthy alternatives to fish-based products.”
DHA and EPA Omega-3 oils are essential in healthy brain development; however, studies in Western countries indicate most adults and over 70% of children may be deficient in these oils.
“The University of Queensland is one of Australia’s most prestigious universities and is recognised around the world for its high-quality research,” Dr Barnett says.
“Utilising the excellent resources available at the University has been a strategic decision by Qponics to accelerate the development of our DHA/EPA omega-3 oil products.”
Associate Professor Peer Schenk from UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Science says the joint research will help provide a product with major health benefits.
“Consumer demand is increasing for omega-3 oils rich in DHA and EPA as a nutritional supplement to prevent various neurological, cardiovascular and degenerative diseases,” says Associate Professor Schenk.
“My team is working with Qponics to develop a renewable source of organic omega-3 fatty acids, particularly for vegetarians, infants and pregnant women, as an alternative to traditional plant and fish-based sources, like flaxseed and Atlantic salmon.
“Our research involves collecting Australian algae strains from various freshwater environments and examining conditions for growth optimisation with a selection of potentially high quality oils.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for the University to work with emerging industries on developing a quality product that aims to make a positive difference to the health of consumers.”
1. DHA Docosahexaenoic acid; 2. EPA Eicosapentaenoic acid
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups. With more than 80 staff and group revenues exceeding $320 million in the past five years, the company is also benchmarked in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 60 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $400 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest have passed $5.2 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 46 countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa. For more information about UniQuest, please visit www.uniquest.com.au.
About Qponics (ASSOB:QPO)
Qponics Limited was founded as a private company in 2009 and presently operates out of the Start Innovation Centre, at the Brisbane Technology Park, Brisbane, Australia. In January 2011, Qponics became a public unlisted Australian company incorporated in Queensland, as the Company prepared to gain admission onto the Australian Small Scale Offerings Board (ASSOB). The Company’s business philosophy is centred on the concept of ethical, organic and sustainable production from algae of high quality omega-3 oils in urban and semi-rural settings to ensure proximity to markets and distribution channels. Its aim is to operate algal photo-bioreactors integrated into an ecologically balanced aquaculture-horticulture system for the production of omega-3 oils to ensure that operations eliminate environmental pollution and minimise carbon emissions and water consumption. The use of the term “organic” as a descriptive for Qponics’ algae oil products and algae oil production processes are subject to the Company, at a future time, applying for and being successful in gaining organic certification for its products and processes. For more information about Qponics, please visit www.qponics.com and www.assob.com.au/QPO.
ABN: 84 149 001 678
30b McKechnie Drive, Brisbane Technology Park, Eight Mile Plains,
Brisbane, QLD 4113,
Qponics: James Blaxland on +61 (0)439 860 521 or [email protected]
UniQuest: Leanne Wyvill on +61 (0)7 3365 4037, +61 (0)409 767 199 or [email protected]