As the nutraceutical industry continues to grow, there is a strong focus on eco-conscious and sustainable ingredients manufactured with transparency and quality control. Companies need to take advantage of innovative ingredient technologies, explore unique delivery forms, and continue to formulate products to meet growing consumer demand. BDI-BioLife Science leads as one of the most trusted companies in the niche through its unwavering dedication to sustainability and providing unique solutions by utilizing its special ingredient widely known as Astaxanthin.
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that helps reduce a natural process in the body called oxidation, which may play a role in many diseases and changes such as aging, cancer, heart disease, eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. It can also reduce inflammation and might be useful as a treatment for problems that involve inflammation, such as rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
BDI-BioLife Science recognized the benefits of extracting astaxanthin from the micro-algae Haematococcus pluvialis and worked to formulate a smooth and eco-friendly process for its production. The continuous efforts led the company to produce its own astaxanthin—THE RED DIAMOND—making it Central Europe’s leading Astaxanthin producer.
Leading the team at BDI-BioLife Science is CEO Kurt Ternegg, who is equally dedicated to working toward a greater purpose and contributing to a brighter future.
While interacting with Insights Care, Kurt shared some fascinating facts about BDI-BioLife Science, their journey to becoming a top nutraceutical company and their future plans.
Here are some highlights from their work to inspire you:
Journey from Biofuels to Astaxanthin
BDI-BioLife Science is a part of the BDI-Group and shares a proud history of dedication to sustainability. BDI-BioEnergy has been designing and developing biodiesel plants and solutions for recycling waste streams for over 27 years since its foundation. After years of in-house research exploring the properties of different strains of algae as a potential biofuel source, the team at BDI-BioLife Science realised the incredible power of Haematococcus pluvialis and the derived astaxanthin for the life-sciences industry. In 2018 they commissioned a self-developed plant to cultivate and produce their own astaxanthin – THE RED DIAMOND.
Sustainable Production and Innovations
BDI-BioLife Science is a leading astaxanthin producer in Central Europe. Located in the green heart of Austria, they have a fully controlled biotechnological production facility where they extract astaxanthin from the microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis. This eliminates the contamination from other environmental organisms, unlike cultivation methods in open ponds or glass tubes. They cultivate without pesticides or herbicides and the production facility complies with ISO 9001:2015 and FSSC 22000 standards which clearly offers them a competitive edge.
BDI-BioLife Science produces natural, high-quality astaxanthin in the form of algae biomass, reaching a pure astaxanthin content ranging from 5.5% to 7.5%. Additionally, the CO2-extracted oleoresin reaches astaxanthin concentrations of up to an impressive 20% to 30%. These remarkable quality advantages have enabled them to establish a registered trademark as a label of quality: The red diamond amongst antioxidants®
The red diamond is a brand for successful companies in the nutritional supplements and cosmetics industry and stands for products with technological advantages, astaxanthin competence centre and documented sustainability.
BDI-BioLife Science develops astaxanthin-containing active ingredients for various applications, guiding international companies in the market, visionaries and emerging start-ups toward product realisation.
Their in-house “astaxanthin competence centre” is available for custom requests and rapidly brings new, innovative product formulations to market readiness. Additionally, scientific studies about the superior health benefits of astaxanthin are conducted in collaboration with renowned institutions and research facilities.
Leading with Passion and Purpose
Presently Kurt Ternegg is leading BDI-BioLife Science as the CEO and feels highly privileged to be a part of a great and inspiring team which is dedicated to exploring the incredible potential of astaxanthin. His journey at the organization has been shaped by the contributions of many talented individuals who have helped BDI to become the leading specialists in Europe for astaxanthin.
Kurt has a vast professional background from working in various roles from investment banking to steel & mechanical engineering as member of the management team on C-Level. He got exposed to diverse markets and cultures through roles in sales, marketing, and finance broadened his horizons and allowed him to form a global perspective. “These experiences have given me a unique perspective, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunities they have provided.” highlights Kurt.
He further shares “Coming from a modest background, I’ve learned the importance of staying grounded and valuing authenticity and quality above all else – for me, trust and respect are the key values for strong relationships and caring for one another.”
He is immensely passionate about Astaxanthin. This passion fuels the relentless commitment to maintaining the highest standards of quality at BDI-BioLife Science. He believes that in a constantly evolving industry like life science prioritising quality and innovation are non-negotiable.
BDI-BioLife Science is dedicated to meeting the strictest requirements of market and providing a sustainable, pure, and potent active ingredient. His leadership philosophy is centred around humility, purpose, and a strong commitment to making a positive impact. He believes in leading with integrity, fostering a culture of collaboration, and continuously learning from the incredible team at BDI-BioLife Science.
His ultimate goal is for the red diamond to be prominently featured on numerous B2C products in the market, becoming the synonymous symbol for pure high quality astaxanthin and imparting these products with a highly efficient active ingredient. (Label is ideally qualified for co-branding).
Kurt proudly shares “As the CEO of BDI-BioLife Science, I am honoured to be a part of a journey that is redefining life sciences and shaping a brighter future.”
Elevating Health & Lifestyle Drinks with Innovative ASTAFIT®
The water-dispersible and microencapsulated astaxanthin produced by BDI-BioLife Science is an innovation for health & lifestyle drinks and premixes. Thanks to innovative microencapsulation, ASTAFIT® CWD50 microbeadlets are ideal components for functional shots, health drinks, premixes or powder mixtures. The encapsulation protects the antioxidant against light and oxygen and, thus, against premature oxidation. In the finished products, the active agent take effect only where its full potential is desired – in the human body. The homogenous particle size distribution of ASTAFIT® CWD enables easy handling and incorporation. Due to the unique astaxanthin concentration of 5% (conventional products mostly have only 2.5%), even small amounts suffice to develop the full potential of the red diamond, astaxanthin.
Kurt shares, “Customers claim, that BDI-BioLife Science is ‘the undisputed market leader in microbeadlets with the best stability in the market, odour neutrality, particle-size distribution and scalability’.”
The astaxanthin-rich oleoresin is obtained by using gentle CO2 extraction. ASTAFIT® OL100 contains 10% astaxanthin, dissolved in Haematococcus pluvialis algae oil. The customer benefits from a completely virgin product without carrier oil (USP in the market!) which, due to its high astaxanthin concentration up to 25%, is a real space saver in capsules, gums and oil blends.
Purity and Excellence
The cultivation of Haematococcus pluvialis is a fully controlled biotechnological process designed by BDI-BioLife Science. Only natural nutrients and pure water are used. In contrast to cultivation methods using open container or ponds, contamination by other organisms or substances from the environment is completely ruled out. Unlike many plant-based products, no pesticides or herbicides are used. The manufacturing plant meets the requirements of the regulations ISO 9001:2015 and FSSC 22000.
The processing after cultivation is gentle, for example by keeping the temperatures in a low range that is known not to damage the astaxanthin. The extraction procedure is also gentle and using CO2 means that no organic solvent is added. The product is therefore 100% natural, free from allergens according to the Cosmetics Regulation EC 1223/2009, free from heavy metals in compliance with EC 1881/2006, and free from solvents and pesticides.
Verification of purity of astaxanthin by external institutions is of utmost importance to BDI-BioLife Science. They subject the raw material to regular third-party quality controls and refer to their annual certificates:
ISO 9001:2015, FSSC 22000, HAACP, COSMOS, Natrue, Halal, Kosher.
The highly potent effects of astaxanthin have been substantiated by numerous studies. Nevertheless, BDI-BioLife Science does not rely solely on general studies and has already commissioned over 15 studies with their own active ingredients. These studies were conducted by renowned universities and research institutions, confirming the exceptional efficacy of their raw material. Customers can request the study results in the form of a ‘Scientific Dossier’ from them.
BDI-BioLife Science’s astaxanthin competence centre has successfully developed numerous formulations. These formulations are ‘ready-to-use’ and are already being utilised by customers as white-label solutions.
Staying Ahead of the Curve
To stay updated with the latest trends and developments in nurti ingredient industry, BDI-BioLife Science collaborates with distribution partners, customers and partner universities. They actively participate in numerous trade fairs, conferences and training sessions within the nutraceutical and cosmetics industries. They also give several educational seminars and presentations each year and last year, introduced their own event: The Red Diamond Event. This event offers customers, partners, and interested parties’ unique insights into the world of astaxanthin, their production facilities and the latest studies involving their raw material.
The astaxanthin competence centre at BDI-BioLife Science, comprises of product development, sales, marketing, R&D and business development. It continually seeks the latest market technologies and innovations, working together with industry-specific magazines.
BDI’s Circular Economy Approach
The commitment to sustainability has been at the forefront of BDI since its founding. That’s why from the very beginning, circular economy and regional focus have been key principles in their algae cultivation process. This is why they built their own production facility in the so-called “Ecopark” in Styria. The entire park operates in harmony with the environment and is powered by carbon-neutral energy.
The plant is also powered 100% by renewable electricity and is equipped with photovoltaic panels. Through heat recovery systems, excess energy is redistributed to local energy networks. Compared to other astaxanthin production facilities that require large cultivation systems and land use, their building has a minimal ecological footprint.
“Approximately 60 tons of CO2 are sequestered annually in the cultivation process, which originates as a natural by-product from bioethanol production in the region. The waste of others is our source of energy – truly embracing the principles of circular economy.” emphasizes Kurt.
BDI’s Ongoing Commitment to Excellence
The R&D team at BDI is continuously working with innovative ideas on new technologies. One of the most exciting projects is: automated classification of algae culture status with artificial intelligence. The typical way to determine the life cycle status of our algae is the so-called transmitted light microscopy of the cultures. However, the evaluation always depends to a certain extent on the subjective judgment of the observer. Therefore, they are replacing manual microscopy with an automated system that takes digital pictures of microalgae cultures. The images generated in this way allow both manual, optical assessment and standardised assessment and data processing.
BDI is continuously working on projects aimed at making their production more resource-efficient. Examples include the AI-based algae quality control system and the expansion of their photovoltaic installation for energy independence.
Furthermore, they are steadily expanding their astaxanthin competence centre as a service hub for our B2B customers. BDI-BioLife Science is a trusted partner when it comes to innovation, shaping the astaxanthin production for the international market. The astaxanthin competence centre is characterised by its expertise, rigorous scientific approach, the highest quality standards and local team support.
In addition to offering a short time to market through innovative product development and formulation support, customers can benefit from standardised and customised services to receive optimal assistance from BDI-BioLife Science.
Currently, they are working on exciting product formulations, ranging from nutraceuticals to cosmetics. Their latest white-label product is the ASTAFIT® Cardio Gel, an innovative direct-gel stick containing ASTAFIT® CWD50 microbeadlets for a quick energy boost.
ASTACOS® OL50 produced by BDI, and used in cosmetics is a natural active ingredient that helps to maintain the skin’s oxidative balance and provides biological cell protection, significantly improves the skin’s radiance and provides an instant healthy glow. Several studies prove the outstanding effect of this ingredient. It’s an absolute must-have for anti-ageing products!
They are developing an outstanding “Energise” facial treatment and a sun care product. Kurt and his team are already excited about the product launch. Another great project is BDI’s close collaboration with a renowned pioneer in encapsulation technology. This joint product offers scientifically proven higher bioavailability and faster absorption in the form of astaxanthin capsules. At the same time, several more scientific studies are currently underway using their active ingredients.
A Message to Aspiring Nutraceutical Enthusiasts
“Start by embracing the core principles: Sustainability, honesty, equality and responsibility. These values will guide your journey and staying true to them will pay off.
Prioritize eco-friendly practices in sourcing and production. Build trust through transparency and integrity. Ensure access and fairness for all. Take ownership of safety and quality.
With these principles, you can positively affect the industry while pursuing your passion. Rethinking starts with you.”
The Red Diamond Vision
The vision they pursue and an inch closer to with their daily work is the global establishment of their red diamond. As mentioned, it serves as an international quality seal and is THE symbol for high-quality, sustainably produced astaxanthin from Central Europe. It fills them with pride and enthusiasm to see how well-known the brand has become over the past years. Numerous customers use their logo in the form of co-branding on their B2C products to show to the market that they use high-quality pure natural astaxanthin from Austria. At trade shows, they are often approached about the red diamond because interested parties recognize the brand. They look forward to the continued success story of the red diamond from Austria.
BDI’s Expansion and Achievements
Over the past few years, BDI’s brands have expanded. What initially started in the Central European region has now spread to North America, India, Australia, and many other regions. They have globally expanded their partnerships and distributor networks, and they have the honor of collaborating with renowned partners from the industry. This year, they received an Innovation Award for their cosmetic ingredient ASTACOS® OL50 and an award for the functionality of the new website of BDI-BioLife Science. In total, they have developed over 15 of their own popular formulations. What makes them particularly proud is that the biggest nutraceutical sellers in Austrian pharmacies use their astaxanthin in their products. Furthermore, the numerous external studies validating the high-potency effects of their raw materials are achievements that speak for themselves.