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AlgaEnergy launches a new R&D project: PhycoAlgae

16 October, 2019

The goal is to optimize a novel production and extraction process of phycocyanin, a valuable protein with numerous properties, including being a 100% natural blue dye.

AlgaEnergy’s commitment to R&D is demonstrated by the portfolio of projects that the company leads or in which it participates in a prominent role. The biotechnology company specialized in the microalgae sector adds one more project to this portfolio, PhycoAlgae. Endowed with a budget of more than 370,000 Euros (100% own financing by AlgaEnergy), it is an in-house research project for the design of a novel process of production, extraction, concentration, purification and stabilization of phycocyanin, from blue-green microalgae. For this project, AlgaEnergy will have the support of the group ‘Structure and Dynamics of Chemical Systems’ of the University of Jaén, led by Professor Ruperto Bermejo, of the Physical Chemistry Area of the Polytechnic School of Linares.

The objective of the project is to optimize this process in an integral way, starting from the cultivation of the microalgae that produce this phycocyanin in the AlgaEnergy microalgae cultivation plants to generating commercial preparations of this compound with different kind of purity. For this effect, the cultivation conditions for producing microalgae will be optimized to maximize the accumulation of phycocyanin, as well as the process of industrialization of its extraction for commercial use as a food additive, natural dye and other commercial applications of interest.

Phycocyanin is a phycobiliprotein of an intense blue colour produced by some microalgae. It is a protein present on the outer surface of the cyanobacterial thylakoid membrane. This can be extracted for use as a natural dye. In fact, it is the only 100% natural blue dye that can be used in the food industry. This dye also has therapeutic, antioxidant, antifungal and antiviral properties, therefore its potential application expands to many industries, including nutrition and cosmetics.

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