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Phycocyanin Definition
Dec 25, 2020

What is phycocyanin?

Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin.[1] It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, so they cannot exist within the membrane like carotenoids can. Instead, phycobiliproteins aggregate to form clusters that adhere to the membrane called phycobilisomes. Phycocyanin is a characteristic light blue color, absorbing orange and red light, particularly near 620 nm (depending on which specific type it is), and emits fluorescence at about 650 nm (also depending on which type it is).


Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin. It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, so they cannot exist within the membrane like carotenoids can. Instead, phycobiliproteins aggregate to form clusters that adhere to the membrane called phycobilisomes. Phycocyanin is a characteristic light blue color, absorbing orange and red light, particularly near 620 nm, and emits fluorescence at about 650 nm. Allophycocyanin absorbs and emits at longer wavelengths than phycocyanin C or phycocyanin R. Phycocyanins are found in Cyanobacteria. Phycobiliproteins have fluorescent properties that are used in immunoassay kits. Phycocyanin is from the Greek phyco meaning “algae” and cyanin is from the English word “cyan", which conventionally means a shade of blue-green and is derived from the Greek “kyanos" which means a somewhat different color: "dark blue". The product phycocyanin, produced by Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and spirulina, is for example used in the food and beverage industry as the natural coloring agent 'Lina Blue' and is found in sweets and ice cream.

Phycocyanin Spirulina-1


Allophycocyanin absorbs and emits at longer wavelengths than C-phycocyaninor phycocyanin R. Phycocyanins are found in Cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae). Phycobiliproteins have fluorescent properties that are used in immunoassay kits. Phycocyanin is from the Greek phyco meaning “algae” and cyanin is from the English word “cyan", which conventionally means a shade of blue-green (close to "aqua") and is derived from the Greek “kyanos" which means a somewhat different color: "dark blue". The product phycocyanin, produced by Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Spirulina, is for example used in the food and beverage industry as the natural coloring agent 'Lina Blue' or 'EXBERRY Shade Blue' and is found in sweets and ice cream. In addition, fluorescence detection of phycocyanin pigments in water samples is a useful method to monitor cyanobacteria biomass.[2]


The phycobiliproteins are made of two subunits (alpha and beta) having a protein backbone to which 1-2 linear tetrapyrrole chromophores are covalently bound.


C-phycocyanin is often found in cyanobacteria which thrive around hot springs, as it can be stable up to around 70 °C, with identical spectroscopic (light absorbing) behaviours at 20 and 70 °C. Thermophiles contain slightly different amino acid sequences making it stable under these higher conditions. Molecular weight is around 30,000 Da. Stability of this protein invitro at these temperatures has been shown to be substantially lower. Photo-spectral analysis of the protein after 1 min exposure to 65 °C conditions in a purified state demonstrated a 50% loss of tertiary structure.



Phycocyanin Uses

When used as a nutritional supplement, some customers differentiate the specifications according to the phycocyanin content: At present, they are customized according to the content specified by the customer.


Both the color value and content represent the content of phycocyanin in the final product, and the higher the color value, the higher the content. The 180-color product corresponds to a phycocyanin content of 25% -30%.


Used as a food additive in China. It has not yet been listed in the food or new food ingredient catalog. The "Sanitary Standards for the Use of Food Additives" (GB2760-2014) stipulates that it can be used in candy, jelly, popsicles, ice cream, ice cream, cheese products, fruit juice (flavor) beverages, and the maximum use amount is 0.8g / kg.


Phycocyanin passed GRAS in the United States in 2012 and can be used as a food ingredient in all foods and dietary supplements (except baby food). As an ingredient in all foods except infant formulas and foods under USDA ‘s jurisdiction at levels up to a maximum of 250 milligrams per serving. As a Spirulina Extract, it can be used in confectionery, frosting, ice cream, frozen pastry, pastry coating and decoration, solid beverage, yogurt, sand There is no limit on the number of ingredients such as bread, pudding, cheese, gel candies, bread, ready-to-eat cereals, and dietary supplements (tablets, capsules).


As a single substance, it is not included in the food additive list (no E-number). However, the European Union has a standard to determine whether an extract can be used as a food ingredient equivalent to its source of extraction, that is, as foods with colorful property (colored food) or colorant (pigment). Phycocyanin meets this standard and can be used as a food ingredient as a spirulina extract or concentrate.

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Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phycocyanin

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