Nutritional food pigments sourced from microalgae

Wednesday, 17 February, 2021

Nutritional food pigments sourced from microalgae

Scientists may have found a way of obtaining nutritional food pigments from microalgae.

The researchers from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) discovered a high prevalence of carotenoid pigments in Chlorella microalgae, which could be cultivated for use in the food industry.

Carotenoids are essential for human health as they synthesise Vitamin A, which assists with vision, reproduction and the immune system among other important functions.

However, it is difficult to obtain the carotenoids from natural sources because they can be destroyed due to the irradiation sources, high temperatures and high acidity of the environment. Therefore, the researchers said, it is necessary to develop technologies for targeted delivery to the cells.

A spokesperson for the SPbPU Institute of Biomedical Systems and Biotechnology, Yulia Bazarnova, said the deterioration of the ecological status of urban areas and the industrialisation of the food industry requires the additional enrichment of the diet with biologically valuable food substances.

“The obtained biomass with a high level of carotenoids can be used in various sectors of the food and pharmaceutical industries as a dietary supplement to reduce the vitamin A deficiency for children and adults living in regions with increased environmental stress,” Bazarnova said.

“It can also be used to prevent the risk of oncological diseases.”

The researchers are developing microencapsulated forms of carotenoids for targeted delivery to various organs and tissues. Scientists are currently negotiating with a vegetable oil manufacturer about the implementation of the new technology in the nutrition industry.

Image credit: © Yano

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