Strengthening sustainability with fermentation in ingredient production

Published: 19-Apr-2024

Fermenting glucosamine mitigates the primary and secondary environmental issues caused by manufacturing the ingredient from shellfish residue

Ethical Naturals Inc. (ENI), invites brands to honour this Earth Day by learning how fermentation saves natural resources in the production of some of the core ingredients used in supplements today, and how GreenGrown technology negates the need for polluting processes.

One good place to start is in the production of glucosamine, a key ingredient in joint care products for the last 20 years. Today, the US imports 7,000 – 10,000 tons per year for human and animal supplement usage. 

Most of this is manufactured from Asian shellfish production residue, a source that creates major primary and secondary environmental problems. 

A recent article from Scientific World Journal lists a number of these issues: destruction of coastal mangrove swamps, excessive and uncontrolled use of antibiotics, damage caused by effluent to human drinking water and agriculture and more. 

The processing of the shellfish residue material into glucosamine uses large quantities of sodium hydroxide and lye that create further wastewater disposal and river pollution problems. [1].

By contrast, glucosamine produced through GreenGrown fermentation has a reduced environmental impact. Glucose is extracted from non-GMO corn, where these sugars are then combined with a specific bacteria that produces a fermented liquid with usable levels of glucosamine.

This is then concentrated and purified into an eco-friendly, USP-grade, 100% vegetarian glucosamine molecularly identical to the shellfish derived material, but without the negative environmental cost. It’s also safer given how severe shellfish allergies can be.

“Today, fermentation leads the way to the environmental savings we all want to see in our industry, and in our daily supplement use,” said Cal Bewicke, ENI CEO.

“Traditional testing methods, such as HPLC, cannot distinguish between glucosamine derived from shellfish or vegetable source materials, so ENI developed and patented an Isotopic Signature Carbon Tracing (ISCT) method that is able to detect the difference. This method enables us to guarantee that our product is of vegetable origin,” he concluded. 



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