Phycocyanin is a popular, natural food colourant
Natural dye used in the food industry, most famously as the blue M&M
Phycocyanin has antioxidant properties and has been linked to preventing neurological diseases amongst others
It is also used in medicine and genetics where it acts as a tracer due to its natural fluorescence, and as a key element of UV-inhibitive clothing
The Phycocyanin Market
$1.3 billion USD
Annual Growth Rate
Price Per Tonne
$175,000 to $300,000 (algae typically contains 10% to 20% phycocyanin)
US FDA approved for use as natural food colourant
Pond & Phycocyanin
Blue Spirulina grown by Pond
Phycocyanin is extracted from a protein complex in Spirulina (A.
platensis). It’s quality and price vary according to its purity ratio, i.e. the concentration of Phycocyanin versus the amountof other proteins.
Spirulina is produced in outdoor open systems, in both Hawaii and parts of Asia which are prone to contamination. Some Asian imports have trace amounts of lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and aluminum.
Meanwhile, enclosed, controlled systems (like Pond’s) produce a higher quality product that may be able to demand a superior price.
Pond’s design for its first commercial plant has an annual capacity of nearly 2000 tonnes of Spirulina which could contain 10% to 20% phycocyanin.
Booster Juice recently launched a line of products built around the health benefits of Blue Spirulina, continuing their push to bring Spirulina and other strains into the mainstream consumer market.
Information originates from the following sources
- Oilgae.com – Phycocyanin http://www.oilgae.com/non_fuel_products/algae_phycocyanin.html
- Basha OM, Hafez RA, El-Ayouty YM, Mahrous KF, Bareedy MH, Salama AM (2008). “C-Phycocyanin inhibits cell proliferation and may induce apoptosis in human HepG2 cells”. The Egyptian Journal of Immunology. 15 (2): 161–7. PMID 20306699. http://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/c6dc/1bc5e05bd0f6d578cb8c60eb30e465002d43.pdf
- Romay C, Armesto J, Remirez D, González R, Ledon N, García I (January 1998). “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of C-phycocyanin from blue-green algae”. Inflammation Research. 47 (1): 36–41. doi:10.1007/s000110050256. PMID 9495584. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs000110050256
- Romay C, González R, Ledón N, Remirez D, Rimbau V (June 2003). “C-phycocyanin: a biliprotein with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects”. Current Protein & Peptide Science. 4 (3): 207–16. doi:10.2174/1389203033487216. PMID 12769719. http://www.eurekaselect.com/81056/article
- Liu, Q., Huang, Y., Zhang, R., Cai, T., & Cai, Y. (2016). Medical application of Spirulina platensis derived C-phycocyanin. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016. http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2016/7803846/
- Pardhasaradhi BV, Ali AM, Kumari AL, Reddanna P, Khar A (November 2003). “Phycocyanin-mediated apoptosis in AK-5 tumor cells involves down-regulation of Bcl-2 and generation of ROS”. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. 2 (11): 1165–70. PMID 14617790. http://mct.aacrjournals.org/content/2/11/1165.full