Texasta off to good start here
by MAC OVERTON
Jun 30, 2013 | 3174 views | 0 0 comments | 72 72 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton<br>
UFOs IN GILMER? No, these are growing tanks at the Gilmer Airport for Texasta, which grows a particular form of algae for "nutraceuticals."
Mirror Photo / Mac Overton
UFOs IN GILMER? No, these are growing tanks at the Gilmer Airport for Texasta, which grows a particular form of algae for "nutraceuticals."
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Gilmer's newest factory, Texasta, hit the ground running after its introduction to the Gilmer industrial community with a dinner last November, and currently provides 20 good-paying jobs at its facility at the Gilmer Airport. Sixteen employees are from Upshur County, with four from Tyler and Longview, said plant manager Cary Wright, who brought the program for the Gilmer Rotary Club Tuesday.

The plant's product is astaxanthin, derived from algae that is native to East Texas, what has many uses in "nutraceuticals," supplements and body treatments derived from natural supplements.

It has a "naturally red" color, Wright said, and is the pigment that gives natural salmon and flamingoes their pink/red color.

"It's the No. 1 supplement that you never heard of," Cary said.

Astaxanthin is a powerful antioxidant—600 times as powerful as Vitamin E, and 10 times as powerful as Beta Carotene (a Vitamin A precursor). It is 1,000 times as powerful as Beta Carotene in fighting ultraviolet light, Cary said.

At the Gilmer "farm," a batch of the algae can be ready to harvest in 72 hours. It is then dried and shipped to end users, who make it into supplements. Wright said that East Texas has the perfect climate, with its blind of sunshine and humidity, to farm-grow the algae.

Supplements based on the red algae are currently sold by GNC. Wright said that Walgreen's and Target Walmart are also carrying similar products, and Walmart is expected to start soon.

Plans for the Gilmer plant are to add a night shift, starting in late July. Those interested in working there may put in an application at the plant's offices at the airport site.

The parent company of Texasta hopes to expand at other locations in East Texas, Wright said. Among plans are for a bio-fuel facility.

Texasta has three competitors. One is in Hawaii, one in Chile and one in Israel.
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