Sustainably sourced natural colour pigments from cultivated native marine algae for the plant-based meat industry

  • 83 pages

  • Published: 28 Sep 2023

  • Author(s): Sasi Nayar, Maylene G. K. Loo, Zhangli Du

  • ISBN: 978-1-76053-419-6

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A major challenge for plant-based meat manufacturers is that traditional plant-based pigment sources, such as soy, pea and almonds, do not provide the right colour associated with meat, being red-brown (haeme) rather than dull grey-brown. Phycoerythrin (PE), a pigment found in red microalgae and macroalgae, is the closest analogue to haeme in plant-based products.

The global PE market was valued at US$2.6 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to US$4.5 billion in 2032. This review of the global published literature investigated the PE yields and purity index in various marine microalgae and macroalgae, for both wild-sourced and cultivated algae.

There are many challenges associated with PE production at a commercial scale. This review is a comprehensive summary of the published literature on PE structure, sources, factors influencing biosynthesis, analytical techniques for quantification of the pigment, and post-harvest processing of algal biomass for extraction, purification and stabilisation of the purified pigment extract. This review also explores commercial applications and potential markets.