Nannochloropsis Algae: How Is It Produced and Sourced?

Nannochloropsis Algae: How Is It Produced and Sourced?


You may be wondering how we make our algae omega-3 supplements. At iwi life, we talk a lot about creating supplements that are sustainably sourced and have little impact on the environment.

If you’re a fan of algae supplements, chances are you’ve already heard about the wonders of Spirulina and Chlorella. Today, we will discuss Nannochloropsis algae, which we use in our algae omega-3 supplements

Not only do we care about creating environmentally-friendly products that are suited for your health needs, but we also care about nutritional transparency. That means being honest and transparent about the ingredients we incorporate into our products.

If you’re interested in learning more about the algae we use and how we sustainably make our products to benefit you and the global community, then keep reading! 

What Is Nannochloropsis Algae? 


Nannochloropsis algae is a type of marine microalgae that is similar in some respects to chlorella. Interestingly enough, even though it closely resembles chlorella, the two tiny plants have some important differences. 

It is incredibly small, only measuring up to 2 to 5 microns, so a single Nannochloropsis alga is not visible to the naked eye. Nannochloropsis is native to the North Atlantic ocean. Since its habitat is high-salt and high-mineral sea water, this tiny organism adapts easily to the salty underground water found in natural aquifers under certain desert areas. This makes it ideal for large-scale cultivation for food and supplements!

One of our favorite things about Nannochloropsis is how abundant it is in outdoor farming settings. Nannochloropsis can be harvested up to two times a week, all year long! Contrast that with other vegetables like broccoli which can be harvested once

What Are Its Benefits and Uses?

In addition to the nutrients present in fresh, brackish, and salt water microalgae like Spirulina and Chlorella, certain marine microalgae such as Nannochloropsis provide EPA and DHA that are key for use in dietary supplements such as iwi life's algae omega-3 supplements. 

Research shows that Nannochloropsis contains vitamins and antioxidants, along with high levels of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, which has numerous health benefits. 

Other advantages of Nannochloropsis involve high oil yield, short generation times, no agricultural land requirements, reduced freshwater needs, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions during cultivation. 

How Is Nannochloropsis Algae Grown?

There are many ways that algae in general can be cultivated. Open ponds, closed bioreactors, with sunlight, with artificial light...let's take a look at the different ways algae can grow:

  • Photoautotrophically: From the Greek words "phos" (light), "auto" (self) and "trophe" (food), photoautotrophs are organisms which can make their own energy using sunlight via photosynthesis. This means they always contain chlorophyll, the deep green plant compound needed to produce energy from the sun.
  • Heterotrophically: "Hetero" in Greek means "another" or "different," so heterotrophs have to consume something different (like sugars) to obtain their energy vs. creating it themselves.
  • Mixotrophically: You may be able to guess now that you've learned the other two types — mixotrophs can consume a "mixed" diet of energy they synthesize themselves from sunlight or from eating other things around them.

Microalgae like Nannochloropsis grow quickly in open ponds or labs. They can also grow in seawater with high yields of lipids. It grows fast which means we can get a great amount of Nannochloropsis without harming the environment. 

The best news is that Nannochloropsis algae mainly requires salty water (check — no precious fresh water required), abundant sunlight (check — no energy spent on grow lights), and a few key nutrients in the mix. Compared to other crops, the environmental impact of farming algae is incredibly low. 

Photoautotrophic Cultivation

Because of Nannochloropsis'ability to create its own food through photosynthesis, growing it in open ponds with plenty of sunlight makes great sense. No grow lights are needed, and the algae makes its own energy, so the environmental impact is extremely low. 

One type of open-air pond is called a "raceway pond" because the long channels curve at the ends to form a raceway shape. This style of pond can also use just a single, simple paddlewheel (like the kind that would power a boat in Mark Twain's era) to keep the water flowing, which again uses very little energy resources. Ponds of this nature can also be harvested by gravity — no electric pumps required.

Heterotrophic Growth

Some microalgae can grow heterotrophically with an organic carbon source instead of light. This gets around the issue of light limitation or photoinhibition. The downside is that nutrients and environmental factors often impact cell growth. 

Mixotrophic Growth

One of the problems when cultivating microalgae for lipid production is light intensity reduction in a closed system like a bioreactor. This issue can be partially solved in a mixotrophic operation.Algae which can grow mixotrophically can grow with both an organic carbon source, like glucose, and light. By being able to use light and sugar for growth can lead to better growth and higher cell densities. 

All of those methods are suitable for various strains of the more than 70,000 types of algae, but as you read, outdoor pond farming works best for Nannochloropsis, and results in benefits for humans and the planet. This is how we find inspiration: learning about how even the smallest of cells has the power to restructure our way of thinking about sustainability and farming. 

How Is Nannochloropsis Algae Harvested? 

Nannochloropsis Algae: How Is It Produced and Sourced?

Now that you have a better understanding of how Nannochloropsis algae are grown, you may be wondering how it is harvested. 

When most of us think of harvesting a crop, we may imagine old-fashioned scenes of wheat being cut by hand, or corn being collected by a massive combine with a spinning thresher, shooting corn kernels into a grain bin. Harvesting microalgae looks pretty different, as you might expect! 

iwi life's algae is harvested by gravity, which allows for the lowest energy requirement. The deep green water is collected, filtered, and concentrated. 

Just as traditional farming has evolved from the days of scythes and horse-drawn carts, the world of algae aquaculture is always evolving, too.

And that’s where our core value comes into play: innovation. While there are roadblocks that come from different farming techniques, we also realize that there are more discoveries to be made. The future requires it, so we provide it. 

Why Do We Use Nannochloropsis Algae?

We don’t mean to repeat ourselves, but we take time and effort to find ways to make products without harming the environment. 

To begin with, algae is immediately more inclusive than fish oil. Many people simply don't enjoy the taste of fish — and especially when it "repeats" (read: burps back) after taking a fish oil supplement.

Far more people choose not to eat fish because they are vegan, or are committed environmentalists. We want everyone to have access to the highest-quality omega-3s!

We also knew algae would be more sustainable since we wouldn’t be contributing to overfishing or using harmful farming techniques. 

Specifically, we chose Nannochloropsis algae because it could still provide the benefits in our supplements without having to compromise our morals. This 2018 study shows that marine microalgae like Nannochloropsis provide a far more sustainable solution than fish or krill oil

iwi life Nannochloropsis Algae Omega-3 Supplements

Let’s take a closer look at what our algae omega-3 supplements can offer now that we know they’re made from Nannochloropsis. Knowing how our supplements are produced and harvested gives it a much more human touch. 

We thought long and hard about providing you with supplements that would help aid your health journey. That’s why we feel Nannochloropsis is the perfect addition needed for our algae supplements. 

Here’s how our nutrition labels hold up: 

  • Our Nannochloropsis algae omega-3 supplement contains 850 milligrams of algae oil. And since we know Nannochloropsis contains such a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, there are 350 milligrams of total omega-3 fatty acids. 
  • Our Nannochloropsis algae EPA supplement contains 1,000 milligrams of algae oil! That means 419 milligrams of total omega-3 fatty acids as well as 250 milligrams of EPA. If you’re looking for an increased intake on your EPA levels, look no further than our EPA supplement! 
  • Looking to protect your vision, brain, joints, or overall wellness? Our targeted combination EPA and DHA supplements for Joint, Eye, and Brain health can be great tools in supporting your health goals since it contains the nutrients you need. 

We want you to get the most out of our supplements. That means adding as much as we can so you can get back to better living. The fact that our supplements are so effective and are grown using sustainable farming techniques — well, that's just a winning situation. 

iwi life’s Thoughts on Nannochloropsis 

As we’ve discussed, there are a lot of benefits when it comes to Nannochloropsis. With time, we believe that it will become an even bigger and more popular addition to more dietary habits and supplements. 

Soon people will recognize how sustainable an option Nannochloropsis is, and how many different uses it can have. We believe in its power and how it can pave the road to sustainable living. 

We also know that more research is needed when it comes to different ways we can produce and source it. If there’s anything to know about iwi life, it’s that we are always up for a challenge. 

We believe in our core values: innovation, integrity, and inspiration. And that’s what we believe Nannochloropsis does. It helps show us that farming can be reinvented, and by using renewable energy and sustainable resources, we can help feed the world. 

Learning how to feed a growing global community with less land takes patience, dedication, and commitment. That’s why we have learned how to cultivate Nannochloropsis and use it to change our future. 

And lastly, we believe in ourselves and you. You have the right to know what you are consuming and to have the choice when making decisions about your health. 

That’s why we want to provide you with the information you need, so we can grow together in learning how to live healthy on a sustainable planet. 

Choosing Algae Supplements From iwi life

When choosing algae supplements, you want to ensure you have access to options that are sustainably farmed and harvested. One of our jobs at iwi life is nourishing the global community through sustainable farming methods. 

We are excited about Nannochloropsis algae and the promise it brings to the future of sustainability. We are proud that we took on the challenge to help nourish the world without depleting the earth. 

That’s why we created our algae omega-3 supplements made from Nannochloropsis. Better living for the planet and everyone starts now, so shop our supplements today and become a part of something bigger. 

Ready to get started? Shop us today and check out all of our different Nannochloropsis algae supplements!



Making aquafeed more sustainable: Scientists develop feeds using a marine microalga co-product | Phys

Nannochloropsis - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics

Exploring the Potential of Nannochloropsis sp. Extract for Cosmeceutical Applications | PMC

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