In the past, if you want to make food blue, you have to add synthetic pigment. However, some people just don’t like synthetic pigment, some even will be allergic to it.
In 2013, FDA has approved a natural colorant-- Phycocyanin which extracted from blue-green algae as food additive. Thanks to a recent research improved the productivity, and now Phycocyanin has successfully realized industrial production.
Researching extracting technologies of Phycocyanin lasted three years, Zhejiang Binmei Biotechnology
Co.,Ltd has extracted phycocyanin from spirulina successfully, and rapidly opened the international markets.
Phycocyanin is a natural blue edible pigment approved by FDA. It can be widely applied in food and cosmetics industries. By adopting ultra pure water low temperature and physical membrane extraction technologies, BINMEI has achieved the large-scale production of phycocyanin and filled the blank in China. At present, BINMEI has obtained 8 technical patents.
Britain researchers have discovered a method that can promote spirulina to produce a large number of phycocyanin. Stimulating with a specific frequency of light is the essence of the method.
"As the demand for natural pigments increasing, phycocyanin is in short supply. However, the producing cost is still high." said Chelsea Brain, one of the researchers. Blue is very rare in nature. The reason is that most of the "blue" is the result of light scattering. It is not the color of the pigment itself.
For example, blue eyes are a visual illusion that caused by the blue light scattering into the cornea. And the blue color of butterfly’s wings is a kind of color change that caused by the reflection of the fine dust in the air. Even the color of blueberries is caused by a purple pigment.
Phycocyanin, also known as an "accessory pigment", is a complex of proteins that can combine with chlorophyll, to absorb light and store energy in the form of glucose in the body.
Because the pigment is harmless to human body and good water soluble, it can be used as food colorant. In order to make the blue-green algae produce large amounts of this pigment, the researchers make them receive the stimulation of light at a specific wavelength.
Some researchers are wondering whether it can be used in beer processing. The answer is yes. By adding the blue phycocyanin in yellow beer, we can get the green beer. At least, the invention makes our ideas of trying green beer a reality.