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History of Enzaq


It all began in early 1967 with Dr Orville H Miller who started the Aquaculture Story that Dick Dorst later established in Marlborough.  Dr Miller was professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Southern California and held a lifetime interest in the study of natural foods and their effect on maintaining a healthy body.

He was particularly interested in the complex carbohydrates found in certain animals such as reptiles, sharks, and mussels. During his personal research in evaluating these natural foods and powders in the laboratory, he found that the key nutritive factors are the Mucopolysaccharides (today called glycosaminoglycans).

Dr Miller discovered that the Mucopolysaccharides play such a key role in the structural integrity and function of body tissues and organs, they help modulate the water spaces and eventually decline with age. Dr Miller believed that these carbohydrates might someday be called “essential” in the same way that nutrition science views essential vitamins and amino acids.

Between 1968 and 1970, Dr Victor L Loosanoff, who was a Director of the United States Shellfish Laboratory at Milford, Connecticut for 30 years, founded and headed the Aquaculture scientists and tested specimens of mussels from around the world. They determined that New Zealand’s Perna could be an ideal source of Mucopolysaccharides, as well as the special bioactive polyunsaturated fatty acids from mussels, the Omega-3 marine oils.


By the early 1970’s Dr Loosanoff helped establish the green lipped mussel farms in the unpolluted and protected waters of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Owing to this aquaculture development, the green lipped mussel was introduced as a health food product and opened the Aquaculture Inc. company in California. Aquaculture Inc. in California is the first and original producer of the green lipped mussel powder using New Zealand’s Perna Canaliculus.


In 1985 a new company was formed in New Zealand by Dick Dorst, Enzaq Aquaculture, Ltd. This was developed to improve methods of processing mussels to achieve consistent high quality powder. New systems of shucking the meats from the shell and quickly processing them into high grade mussel powder were developed, called the Enzaq Process (now known as Enzaq Flash-Dry Process).  This ‘one-step, short time process eliminates many steps of handling and exposure to heat and air of traditional freeze drying that degrade the desirable nutritional elements.


A new factory was built in 1996 at Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand which incorporated the technology that was developed 10 years ago. The Enzaq Mussel Powder was and still is produced under a Risk Management Programme (RMP) governed by strict government inspections of MAF, NZFSA, USFDA, and EU certification using modern HACCP methods of quality control. These standards exceed Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) guidelines.


Since 2005, production have been routinely assayed for anti-inflammatory bioactivity by the Bioactivity Investigation Group at the Wellington School of Medicine to ensure the highest consistent bioactive quality in the industry.

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Sanford Ltd operates the ENZAQ Mussel processing site.

Please contact us at Sanford Bioactives Innovation Centre
23 Vernon Street, Riverlands, New Zealand.