Phycocyanin is a blue powder extracted from spirulina. It has been found mainly in cyanobacteria, red algae, and cryptophyta. Phycocyanin is also classified into C-phycocyanin and R-phycocyanin. C-phycocyanin is mainly present in cyanobacteria, while R-phycocyanin is mainly present in red algae, both of which are present in cryptophyta.
Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family. Therefore it has the same properties as a protein. Phycocyanin is soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol and fat. It is unstable to heat, light, and acid. It is stable under weak acidity and neutrality (pH 4.5~8), precipitation occurs in acidity (pH4.2), and strong alkali can be decolorized.
Phycocyanin is a water-soluble pigment, non-toxic, pure blue. It can be used as an additive for food colorants and cosmetics. Spirulina phycocyanin has the function of inhibiting some cancer cells, therefore, it has been used in health care foods too.
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