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Checkerspot Announces Patent for Non-Genetically Engineered High-Oleic Microalgae Oil
[April 22, 2024]

Checkerspot Announces Patent for Non-Genetically Engineered High-Oleic Microalgae Oil

Checkerspot, a biotechnology company creating a better source of oil, announces a new development in the production of a non-GE high-oleic acid algae oil ingredient. This advancement, detailed in the paper "Microalgae's Impact on Human and Animal Nutrition" published in the journal INFORM (April 2024, Vol. 35) by the American Oil Chemists' Society, represents a significant leap forward in the field of biotechnology.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

A close-up image of Checkerspot's non-GE high-oleic algae oil produced through precision fermentation. (Photo: Karl Nielsen)

A close-up image of Checkerspot's non-GE high-oleic algae oil produced through precision fermentation. (Photo: Karl Nielsen)

There is a strong demand for ingredients and products without a genetically engineered origin in many industry segments, including nutrition, personal care, and food. This market demand and lack of alternatives on the market served as one of the driving factors for Checkerspot to devlop a process for making a high-oleic oil made through classical strain improvement, which leverages microalgae's natural evolutionary properties. It leaned on its molecular biology platform to achieve the targeted composition without the use of genetic engineering, and recently received a U.S. patent for the technology.

The oil's high level of monounsaturated fatty acids at >85% of total fatty acids offers exceptional versatility and functionality, making it an ideal ingredient for a wide range of products. In the food space, this level of monounsaturated omega 9s, considered "good" fats, is higher than most olive and avocado oils, which settle around 70% of total fatty acids. The high level of oleic acid also contributes to improved stability and a long shelf life for the neutral-tasting oil.

"Traditional methods of strain optimization have often been eclipsed by genetic engineering techniques in the biotechnology industry. However, our success in producing a microalgae oil with extremely high levels of oleic acid through classical strain improvement techniques demonstrates the untapped potential of solutions through microalgae and offers a non-genetically engineered source of this oil for wide global market adoption," remarked Scott Franklin, Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder of Checkerspot.

The production of non-GE high-oleic microalgae oil by fermentation represents a significant step forward in addressing supply chain issues and enhancing resiliency within various industries. Checkerspot can produce oil on demand and at scale with less of the seasonal, geographic, or climate-related challenges faced by traditional commodity crop oils. The controlled environment of fermentation delivers consistent quality and composition, minimizing the risk of exposure to environmental contaminants that can compromise product integrity.

Authors of the INFORM paper, Frédéric Destaillats and Walter Rakitsky, Ph.D., will be presenting this groundbreaking research, alongside other pioneering advancements, at the annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists' Society from April 28 to May 1, 2024, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

About Checkerspot:

At Checkerspot, we make renewable oils at commercial scale for performance materials and ingredients. We innovate at the intersection of biotechnology and materials science to deliver solutions for better products that empower both Fortune 500 companies and small businesses to achieve their decarbonization targets. Our portfolio of materials and ingredients are commercialized in three markets: industrial materials, personal care, and food and nutrition. As a Certified B Corporation™, we believe a post-petroleum future is possible by demonstrating how biomanufactured products can drive profitability for our customers and partners by delivering performance and sustainability benefits at the right price. To learn more, visit us at

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