About Us

Xanthella was incorporated in 2009 to tackle the problems of the high cost of micro-algal cultivation systems and the lack of standardisation of photobioreactors used in research and scale up.

There is a bewildering range of photobioreactor types used in research, many of which are unique. The high cost of commercially available reactor systems also means that few laboratories can afford to run experiments that have sufficient replicates to give statistically sound results.

These problems – and the diversity of the algae themselves – makes it very difficult to compare the results of different groups and the literature abounds with apparently conflicting results. Scale up from bench top to pilot scale is also a challenging step. These problems are holding algal biotechnology back and increasing costs.

Our ambition is to provide a range of photobioreactors that combine advanced design with cost-effectiveness that will overcome these problems around the lack of standardisation and make it much easier for both researchers and industry to advance algal biotechnology and production.

Xanthella’s special strength is in the control and supply of light through our understanding of LED technologies and photonics which allows us to manipulate light in a completely reproducible and effective manner.

Xanthella was founded by the award winning, marine biotechnology veteran Douglas McKenzie and he leads a highly experienced team of electronic engineers, phycologists and process engineers.

The company is working with some of the finest research laboratories in Scotland to bring new technologies and processes to photobioreactor design. We are based at the European Marine Science Park just outside of Oban, Scotland and alongside the Scottish Association for Marine Science’s laboratory at Dunstaffnage. This is home to the world-famous Culture Collection of Algae and Protozoa (CCAP).