Benefits of Phycocyanin Powder: More Than Just Natural Coloring, Super Safe Food for Eating

Saturday May 13, 2023

In the food and beverage industries, color plays a vital role in visual and sensory, when customers choose food, they are attracted by food’s appearance and color, and then rational customers pay more attention to label ingredients. As customers become more and more smart, food manufacturers must focus more on food ingredients, choosing the ingredients that can have a more positive healthy influence on their products. For example, the blue color food, customers may be attracted by the cute blue color, and then play their eyes on the label. The food ingredient list shows bright blue or phycocyanin, which causes consumers to make different choices.

Phycocyanin powder is extensive used as an ingredient in food and beverage industries, including fruit and vegetable drinks, cake and baked foods, dairy products, and so on. Because Phycocyanin powder is very safe to eat and has lots of benefits. As a pharmaceutical and nutritional supplement ingredient, Phycocyanin is also very famous due to its significant antioxidant and other functional effects.

The benefits of Phycocyanin powder: More than just an ordinary natural pigment

Natural health concepts are becoming increasingly popular, people reject artificial food colors more. Phycocyanin powder can be used as natural food coloring nearly around all over the world, the advantage is that many other natural pigments do not have.  The US recognized that phycocyanin is a safe, certification-exempt colorant for products like candies, ice cream, and beverages. The European Union classifies phycocyanin as a coloring food, suitable for use as a food ingredient, not pigments, without usage limit. China, Korea, Japan, and other countries all allowed Phycocyanin to be a natural pigment for food coloring purposes. Due to Phycocyanin’s significant coloring effect, BINMEI Biotechnology as a Phycocyanin manufacturer suggests that the amount of Phycocyanin is 0.8‰, customers can also adjust according to their blue shade demand.

Nutrition of Phycocyanin Powder

The benefits of Phycocyanin powder: Very safe for consumption

Phycocyanin is extracted from spirulina, spirulina has existed for more than 3.5 billion years on Earth, as a food source since ancient times. Because of its high protein content and rich nutrients, spirulina can also be called a “Super Food”. However, modern consumers prefer scientific methods to verify the safety and efficacy of food ingredients. To confirm the safety of phycocyanin, a team of scientists in Saudi Arabia conducted both acute and subacute toxicity tests on mice. Their experiments verified that phycocyanin powder is very safe for consumption.

The scientific team conducted acute toxicity testing on six 8-week-old mice by administering phycocyanin at a limited dose of 2000mg/kg BW. After feeding, the mice were observed for 48 hours without any signs of toxicity, continuously monitored for 14 days, during which no deaths or other signs of toxicity were observed. Subsequent comparative studies between the treated mice and a control group show that no significant differences in body weight or the condition of organs such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen, including changes in behavior patterns, skin or fur color, and the condition of eyes and mucous membranes.

In the sub-acute toxicity test, four experimental groups, in addition to a control group receiving a normal diet and drinking water, were administered C-phycocyanin at doses of 100, 200, 500, and 1000 mg/kg bw of mice for 30 days. The experiment revealed no significant differences among the five groups of mice in terms of body condition, including changes in behavior patterns, skin or fur color, and the condition of eyes and mucous membranes. No tremors, salivation, diarrhea, or other adverse effects were observed.

The research findings confirm that C-phycocyanin is extremely safe, as it does not cause acute or subacute toxicity.[1]

The benefits of Phycocyanin powder: Phycocyanin Biofunctions

Phycocyanin is a water-soluble, non-toxic, and blue-colored photosynthetic pigment reportedly used in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries [2]. Over the years, the biological functionality of phycocyanin has been extensively researched (e.g., antioxidation, inflammation, cancer, antimicrobial activity, neurodegeneration, diabetes, wound healing, and hyperpigmentation) [3]. The role of phycocyanin in cancer has been demonstrated by its ability to block tumor cell proliferation, inhibit the cell cycle, and induce apoptosis and autophagy of these cells [4]. Some studies have demonstrated that phycocyanin is an antidiabetic agent and has an antiglycation activity that reduces the side effects of diabetes [5].

The benefits of Phycocyanin powder: Improve customer health awareness of the products

Whether food manufacturers or beverage manufacturers, when choosing ingredients to make products, they hope that the ingredients can bring more possibilities to their products.  For example, the health properties of the ingredient itself, the color and visual impact that the ingredient itself can bring to the product. Especially in the current global market environment, the intensification of business competition and the enhancement of product strength has been a very headache for every enterprise. Consumers chase a better and healthier diet, which makes enterprises pay more attention to the gimmicks and selling points that ingredients can bring when looking for ingredients. Phycocyanin can perfectly meet the needs of consumers to pursue health and product appearance level, and meet the needs of producers to enhance their product power.

[1]Priyanka Grover, Aseem Bhatnagar, Neeraj Kumari, Ananth Narayan Bhatt, Dhruv Kumar Nishad, and Jubilee Purkayastha C-Phycocyanin-a novel protein from Spirulina platensis– In vivo toxicity, antioxidant and immunomodulatory studies Saudi J Biol Sci. 2021 Mar; 28(3): 1853–1859. Published online 2020 Dec 30. doi: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2020.12.037

[2]de Morais M.G., da Fontoura Prates D., Moreira J.B., Duarte J.H., Costa J.A.V. Phycocyanin from Microalgae: Properties, Extraction and Purification, with Some Recent Applications. Ind. Biotechnol. 2018;14:30–37. doi: 10.1089/ind.2017.0009.

[3]Yuan B., Li Z., Shan H., Dashnyam B., Xu X., McClements D.J., Zhang B., Tan M., Wang Z., Cao C. A review of recent strategies to improve the physical stability of phycocyanin. Curr. Res. Food Sci. 2022;5:2329–2337. doi: 10.1016/j.crfs.2022.11.019. 

[4]Jiang L., Wang Y., Yin Q., Liu G., Liu H., Huang Y., Li B. Phycocyanin: A Potential Drug for Cancer Treatment. J. Cancer. 2017;8:3416–3429. doi: 10.7150/jca.21058.

[5]Husain A., Alouffi S., Khanam A., Akasha R., Farooqui A., Ahmad S. Therapeutic Efficacy of Natural Product ‘C-Phycocyanin’ in Alleviating Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetes via the Inhibition of Glycation Reaction in Rats. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022;23:14235. doi: 10.3390/ijms232214235. 

Phycocyanin Powder and Blue Beverage

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