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Commercialization Facility for Fermentation of Carotenoids

April 2, 2024 - Although often associated with the beer and alcohol industry, fermentation as a science has the potential to support our drive for food and energy security in Canada. The missing piece to support the opportunity is the capacity to scale novel fermentation development and engineer the downstream extraction process to continue to add value to the process and increase the economic viability of end product(s).

LCY Biosciences Inc. (LYC), is a biotechnology company that is using renewable feedstocks in industrial technology processes to produce high-value consumer products. LYC’s Ontario-based project with Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) focused on building and scaling a low-carbon platform for carotenoids – fermented natural pigments and antioxidants that can be used for human, pet and animal supplements and nutrition. BIC received a Government of Canada investment, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to support innovative developers of clean, green and sustainable technologies.

For this project, the LCY business development team has targeted two main carotenoids, astaxanthin and beta carotene, with several others in the pipeline. This platform process is considered novel because 90 percent of carotenoid manufacturing is currently made from chemical synthesis, and LCY’s process is changing the game to a more biological, energy-reduced process using renewable feedstock.  

From the start of the project in August 2020, LCY has continued to improve and evaluate its platform technology in carotenoids. BIC’s highly technical team, in coordination with Lambton College’s Research and Innovation Centre, worked with LCY to continuously develop and optimize its lab scale extraction processes and establish a sample line at Lambton College to process astaxanthin produced in LCY’s fermenters using a solvent extraction process.

The focus of the sample line at Lambton College was also to refine the downstream technical process, ensuring stable and consistent results. The fermentation process has performed consistently at a level that will allow LCY to demonstrate high-level purity, meeting target market requirements. The product generated has been used for initial customer evaluations and to provide data for the regulatory approvals, which are currently in progress. The small-scale downstream process also generated product for the investigation of an alternate extraction process using super critical carbon dioxide. Additional development work will support remaining product quality hurdles, but the project has been a resounding success.

LCY has had success in getting samples qualified by interested customers, proving the market pull for the product. The management team continues to market the carotenoids to gain strong commitment to allow for future investment in the commercial scale operation at its Sarnia, Ontario facility, resulting in more than 15 new full-time employees as well as maintaining more than 50 full-time employees. This is good economic development supporting high-paying jobs that is fully aligned with the region’s hybrid chemistry cluster.

About Bioindustrial Innovation Canada

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada is a not-for-profit business accelerator that provides critical strategic investment, advice, and services to developers of clean, green, and sustainable technologies.

For more information about Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), visit or connect directly with Executive Director, Meaghan Seagrave:;


About LCY Biosciences Inc.

LCY Biosciences Inc., is a biotechnology company. LCY uses renewable feedstocks (sugars and fatty acids) instead of fossil fuels and apply industrial biotechnology (fermentation) using our proprietary yeasts, which consume sugars and fatty acids to produce desired products.  Bio Based Succinic Acid and Bio Based Carotenoids are the focus.

For more information about LCY Biosciences please visit


About FedDev Ontario

For 14 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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