About research and development

Microalgae and bio-fuels

Fuels produced using biomass are called bio-fuels. Carbon dioxide released by burning bio-fuels is carbon dioxide, which was absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. Therefore, substituting biomass for energy and products derived from petroleum can contribute to the reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouses gas that causes global warming. Due to the growing awareness of global warming in recent years, the use of “algal biomass” such as oil produced by microalgae is drawing attention as a new type of sustainable (renewable) energy. Microalgae produce oil as a metabolite, and is gaining attention as a new-generation bio-fuel because its production efficiency is higher than that of bio-fuels derived from plants.

There is fierce global competition to develop such bio-fuels and Japan is no exception. The Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020 is likely to become a milestone. We look forward to the successful development of microalgae bio-fuels in Japan.

We conduct research daily hoping to contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by replacing petroleum-derived products with microalgae and helping to develop a resource-recycling society.


Microalgae and our daily lives

In recent years, the number of people who are aware of the existence of microalgae might have increased. Many people may have heard of it as a relative of the Euglena genus, which is frequently reported by the media. Chlorella and Spirulina have also been heavily used as food materials since long before Euglena became of interest. In recent years, activity has focused not only on drying cultured microalgae for eating as is, but also on extracting and utilizing the useful substances in the cells. For instance, astaxanthin, a material included in red-colored cosmetics, is produced from the algae Haemotococcus, and the blue pigment known as phycocyanin that is used in soda-flavored ice creams is also derived from microalgae. Furthermore, globally, microalgae are used as a resource to produce omega-3 fatty acids, EPA, and DHA, which are well-known supplements. While many believe that these substances are obtained from blue-backed fish, they are in fact originally produced by the microalgae contained in plankton, and they accumulate in the fish that eat such microalgae. As we eat such fish, we indirectly ingest EPA and DHA derived from microalgae on a daily basis.

Although we have only introduced a few examples here, microalgae contribute importantly to our daily lives. We are performing research and development in the hope of discovering many new substances in microalgae that can help improve our quality of life (QOL).

What we hope to achieve

Panac’s microalgae team has a vision. We hope to gradually replace consumables in the world with sustainable products derived from microalgae. Incorporating microalgae growth and its accompanying photosynthesis into manufacturing processes also has the potential to gradually reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We strongly desire and believe that the accumulation of similar small efforts will lay the foundation for the upcoming recycling-oriented, low-carbon society.

In particular, we are performing research and development under the slogan “Realize the 6th F of Biomass.” The 5 Fs cascade describing the different applications of biomass is well known (see figure), and we are aiming to add a 6th F (Functional Ingredients) that has even higher value. We are continuing to study various types of microalgae in order to realize this goal. The catchphrase is “Diversity for the future.” A society in which children can live and feel secure.

Adding another F to the 5 Fs Biomass Cascade

Our research results

Some of our research results have been commercialized as cosmetic ingredients and are already being used commercially.
Information on these cosmetic ingredients can be downloaded using the following link. However, the catalog contains specialized technical information, and is aimed at specialists who require such information, such as cosmetic formulation engineers.

Download information on cosmetic ingredients

Our published research results will be successively added to the following list.

List of publications

  • (1)A new polysaccharide, Unexamined patent application no. 617429 (2014)
  • (2)Immunostimulant, Unexamined patent application no. 2014-105202 (2014)
  • (3)Panac Advance Co., Ltd.Fragrance Journal, 41(12), 83(2013)
  • (4)Recovery of rare earth elements from aqueous solution obtained from Vietnamese clay minerals using dried and carbonized Parachlorella
    Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering 06/2014; 2(2). DOI:10.1016/j.jece.2014.04.002
  • (5)Microalgae from collection and control until screening for applications
    Efforts focusing on Extracellular Polysaccharides
    Bio Industry, January, 2016, pp 49-55
  • (6)Toward the practical application of Extracellular Polysaccharides derived from microalgae / algae-derived bio-fuels and useful substances – CMC (2016)
  • (7)Functional raw material produced from microalgae containing fucoxanthin – Chaetoceros calcitrans extract – Fragrance Journal, April 2017, PP 62-65


There are believed to be tens of thousands of species of microalgae on the Earth, and each species has various characteristics. However, only a tiny fraction of these characteristics have drawn attention and been put to practical use. For example, health foods, cosmetics, bio-fuels, and so on. Wouldn’t a future in which we can make the best use of various microalgae be wonderful? We are striving to cast the spotlight on as many species of microalgae as possible. For example, we have entered into a joint business agreement with the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation, Biological Resource Center(NBRC), a leading biological genetic resources center in Japan, to screen for useful species at our laboratory. Useful species discovered through this process are only put to practical use after consideration of an efficient cultivation method and after clearing various types of strict safety tests.

Since August 2012, we have been collaborating with the NBRC on a joint business project titled “Joint project on the screening of algae strains that produce extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and mass cultivation for commercial use of EPS, as well as research into the bio-active function of EPS.” By the end of 2014, we had accumulated data on the simplified cultivation and EPS production of over 120 strains. Which microalgae will be in the spotlight next?
We will continue to gradually introduce the algae we have studied to date on this page.


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