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What is Phycocyanin?

- Mar 14, 2018 -


1. Abstract

Phycocyanin is an infrequent pigment protein in the natural world .  

Not only bright colors, but in itself is a nutritious protein, amino acid composition range, high content of essential amino acids.

Phycocyanin has powerful properties. It can anti-cancer, promote blood cells regeneration, preserve ovary and promote the elastin synthesis in the body.

At the beginning of the 21st century, phycocyanin was widely used as a high- grade natural pigment for foods and cosmetics in Europe, America, Japan and other countries. and it also was made into biochemical drugs.


2. Basic Information

【Name】 :  Phycocyanin, Spirulina Extact, Spirulina Blue, Algae Blue,PC

【Ingredient】:Porphyrin pigment protein in blue-green algae

【Character】:Blue powder, with red fluorescence.

【Purity】: Amax/A280

【Color Vale】:  E1%618 nm in distill water

【Max absorption peak】:  λ620±5 nm

【Fluorescence excitation peak】:  λ647 nm

【Specification】 :  Food Grade( Amax/A280>1.0),  

                               Medicine Grade( Amax/A280>2.0),

                               Agentia Grade( Amax/A280>4.0).

【Solubility】: Soluble in water, insoluble in alcohol and grease

【CAS No.】: 11016-15-2

【EU CAS】: 223751-80-2

【EINECS】: 234-248-8


3. Structure Diagram

3.Structure Diagram of phycocyanin.jpg 

4. Character

Blue powder or blue granule. It is a protein-binding pigment, therefore it has the same properties as proteins, with an isoelectric point of 3.4.  Soluble in water, insoluble in alcohol and grease. Unstable to heat, light and acid. It is stable in weak acidity and neutral (pH 4.5~8) liquid. It will be precipitated when it is in acidic liquid(pH4.2), and will be decolorized in strong alkali liquid.

5. Application

The applications of Phycocyanin are very extensive, and can be summarized as follows:

5.1  Natural food pigments: Phycocyanin is a water-soluble pigment, non-toxic, pure blue, bright and lovely, can be used as food colorant and cosmetics additives.

5.2  Medicines and health foods: phycocyanin in vitro experiments has the effect of stimulating the production of red blood cell colonies. It is similar to erythropoietin (EPO).

A variety of phycocyanin composite drugs have been successfully developed in many countries. The Kangpai research institution of Japanese AIDS Research had successfully reported that phycocyanin can improve anemia and increase hemoglobin.

In 1982, Iijima studied in mice's oral phycocyanin to increase the survival rate of mice injected with liver tumor cells, and the experimental group had significantly higher lymphocyte activity than the control group. They believed that the Phycocyanin had the functions of promoting immunity and disease resistance. In 1986, Harvard Hospital Schwartz and Shklar discovered that Spirulina phycocyanin can inhibit some cancer cells.

5.3  Special reagents for biological, chemical and cytological experiments: Phycocyanin is blue and fluorescent, and it can be used as a photodynamic research reagent in biology,cytology and other photodynamic researches.

6. Function

Phycocyanin can help regulating and synthesizing a variety of important enzymes needed by human metabolism. It plays an important role in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells,promoting the regeneration of human cells, maintaining the ovaries, and promoting the elastin synthesis in the body. Meanwhile, phycocyanin can regulate the immune system, enhance the immune system functions and improve the body's resistance ability to disease. Therefore, phycocyanin has been hailed as a food diamond by food experts. It has good results in the following aspects.

6.1 Anti-cancer, anti-tumor.

Phycocyanin has been proved to inhibit the expansion of cancer cells. Scientists have found that phycocyanin can inhibit cancer cells significantly. It can be made as a anti-tumor adjuvant therapy to enhance the body's immune system in chemotherapy therapy.

In a scientific experiment, rats with liver cancers were fed with extracted phycocyanin. Scientists have been found that the survival rate of rats fed with phycocyanin was much higher than the control group. After 5 weeks, the treatment group had 90% survival rate, while the untreated group only had 25%. After 8 weeks, 25% of the rats in the treatment group survived, and all rats in the untreated group died. This shows that oral phycocyanin can increase the survival rate of cancer-bearing organisms.

6.2 Anti-oxidant, clean free radicals

Phycocyanin can promote cell activity, remove the free radicals, improve ovarian function, and promote the synthesis speed of elastin in the body. According to scientific researches, phycocyanin has the effect of stimulating the production of red blood cell colonies, which is similar to erythropoietin (epo). It can adjust the white blood cells and increase the activity of lymphocytes. It also can increase physical stamina, promote the growth of red blood cells, enhance the body's immune function and promote body’s growth.

6.3 Anti-allergy

On January 7th, 2011, the research team of Taiwan University published a new study and found that the purified phycocyanin had an inhibitory effect on all allergies.


6.4 Fluorescer and photosensitizer

Phycocyanin can be used as a fluorescer. Its fluorescence efficacy is 30 times of ordinary fluorescein. When excited by light, it can emit strong red fluorescence, which can be used for clinical and in vitro diagnosis of tumors and cancers. It is great significance for  early cancer diagnosis of cells.  

Phycocyanin also can be used as a new type of photosensitizer. It can significantly increase the sensitivity of cancer laser therapy. According to relevant research reports, using the phycocyanin as a photosensitizer can increase the killing rate of laser to tumor cells from 12% to 88%, and the cancer cure rate can be increased by 55%.

7. Safety Tests

  Material:  Phycocyanin, Rats

  Method:  LD50>30g/kg, 90 days oral.

  Conclusion: There is no effect on animal growth, liver function and renal function.

                      There is no abnormality on histopathological structure.

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