Bioprospecting of Spirulina biomass using novel extraction method for the production of C-Phycocyanin as effective food colourant

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Research Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-021-00320-z
First Page: 484
Last Page: 492
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Keywords: Spirulina sp., Phycobiliprotein, C-Phycocyanin, Natural colourant, Alum


Spirulina sp. MCCABT-SP0001 was grown in a miniature raceway pond system: an innovative and low-cost cultivation method for extraction of the natural pigment C-Phycocyanin. The extractions of C-Phycocyanin from Spirulina sp. were carried out by three different methods and the extracted C-phycocyanin was estimated separately for each method. Among the different methods of extraction, Freezing and Thawing, Alum and 15 M HCl extraction showed the best results, i.e., 0.40 mg/ml, 0.21 mg/ml and 0.19 mg/ml respectively. The C-Phycocyanin was partially purified using Ammonium Sulphate precipitation and later dialysed. The molecular weight of the powdered C-Phycocyanin was determined using SDS-PAGE. The molecular weight of C-Phycocyanin was found to be α14 kDa and β15 kDa subunits. The partially purified C-Phycocyanin was investigated for HPLC to know the presence of vitamins, both qualitatively and quantitatively. The vitamins present in C-Phycocyanin were Niacin (8.7 mg/ml), Pyridoxine (0.38 mg/ml), Thiamine (0.434 mg/ml) and Riboflavin (0.11 mg/ml). The partially purified C-Phycocyanin was examined for its staining ability cum stability with boiled rice as a natural colourant. Our research analysis findings suggest that C-Phycocyanin can be used as an alternative to synthetic food colourants, with high nutritional values for better health.

                        Spirulina sp., Phycobiliprotein, C-Phycocyanin, Natural colourant, Alum

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The authors are grateful to the Principal and Head, Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (Autonomous) for their support and providing the necessary infrastructure. The authors also like to thank DST-FIST for providing the instrument facility.

Author Information

Kathiravan A.
Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (Autonomous) Affiliated to The University of Madras, Chennai, India

Udayan E.
Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (Autonomous) Affiliated to The University of Madras, Chennai, India

Ranjith Kumar R.
Department of Botany, Madras Christian College (Autonomous) Affiliated to The University of Madras, Chennai, India