Development of a method for phycocyanin recovery from filamentous cyanobacteria and evaluation of its stability and antioxidant capacity

BMC Biotechnol. 2021 Jun 16;21(1):40. doi: 10.1186/s12896-021-00692-9.


Background: Most commercial phycocyanins are extracted from a filamentous cyanobacterium, Arthrospira (Spirulina) platensis. Owing to the expenses of culture and complexities of the physical and chemical methods of phycocyanin purification, a more effective and simple method is required.

Results: We developed a new method for efficiently recovering the blue pigment protein, phycocyanin, from unique filamentous cyanobacteria, Pseudanabaena sp. ABRG5-3 and Limnothrix sp. SK1-2-1. The cells were cultivated in economy medium BG11 and lysed by adding water in a 1:16 ratio of wet cells to water. After extraction and purification, 28-30% dry cell weight of phycocyanin was obtained and its purity was confirmed. The stabilities of the phycocyanins at different pH in the presence of high temperature and light conditions and their antioxidant abilities were assessed. Results indicated that the phycocyanins were stable and possessed antioxidant properties. Interestingly, the Pseudanabaena phycocyanin was less likely to deteriorate under acidic conditions.

Conclusions: Overall, we developed a promising and novel method for producing high functional phycocyanin concentrations at a low cost. The possibilities of adapting this new phycocyanin biorefinery to unique bioreactor utilization have also been discussed.

Keywords: Antioxidant; Arthrospira platensis; Cell lysis; Limnothrix sp.; Phycocyanin; Pseudanabaena sp..

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification*
  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Phycocyanin / chemistry*
  • Phycocyanin / isolation & purification*
  • Phycocyanin / metabolism
  • Spirulina / chemistry*
  • Spirulina / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Phycocyanin