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Krill oil

Korean biotech firm produces krill oil with top phospholipid content

By Dec 10, 2020 (Gmt+09:00)

Biocorp's processing facilities in Goheung-gun, Jeollanam-do, Korea
Biocorp's processing facilities in Goheung-gun, Jeollanam-do, Korea

South Korea’s biotechnology firm Biocorp Co. has produced krill oil containing 61% phospholipids, the highest level in the world, and has begun to commercialize the new product, the company said on Dec. 9.

Phospholipids are a type of fat present in plant and animal cells, including the shrimp-like crustacean krill. They play important roles in health and are involved in various biological processes.

Krill typically contains 40% phospholipids. Previously, the highest level of phospholipids in krill was 56%.

“The over-60% level for phospholipid content had been seen as the barrier impossible to break,” Biocorp CEO Noh Ju Wan said in a statement.

Krill oil with a phospholipid content of 61% contains more than 10 percentage points greater amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, than existing krill oils, Noh added.

Krill oil is becoming a popular dietary supplement as an alternative to fish oil, because it decreases swelling and lowers cholesterol.

Phospholipids are a vital component of cell membranes, which separate the interior of cells from the outside environment. Phospholipids are also needed to support the absorption of fats and fat-soluble nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids.

Biocorp began krill oil production in 2014. It uses only flash-frozen Antarctic krill provided by two Korean fishing companies – Dongwon Corp. and Insung Corp. – and produces krill oil at its domestic plants. Further, it exclusively uses food-grade pure alcohol as an extractant to produce krill oil, unlike rival companies that use hexane or acetone in the purification process.

South Korea is the world’s third-largest krill fishing nation. The country's krill oil market was estimated at 300 billion won ($276 million) last year, led by Biocorp and Norway's Aker BioMarine in the 56%-plus phospholipid content segment.

Write to Byung-Keun Kim at bk11@hankyung.com

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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