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.