Investigating natural colour pigments from cultivated native marine seaweeds for the plant-based meat

Dinko Tuna Farmers Pty Ltd

  • Project code: PRO-015764

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Monday, February 28, 2022

  • Project completion date: Monday, February 27, 2023

  • National Priority: NEI - New and Emerging Industries - C1


The natural colour pigment phycoerythrin is highly sought after by the plant-based meat industry as it is an analogue to haeme found in red meat. This project will investigate the production of phycoerythrin from sustainably cultivated native red seaweeds in at-sea or land-based cultivation systems. Initial investigations will include the development of a reliable analytical technique to quantify the pigment in red seaweed and the screening of native red seaweeds to identify taxa with a high yield of the pigment. Once suitable seaweeds have been identified investigation into production will occur, including the development of process conditions to promote production of phycoerythrin in cultivated seaweeds. The processing requirements will also be investigated with  the development a proof-of concept scale process for extraction, purification, concentration, and stabilisation of the pigment extract.


New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

Dinko Tuna Farmers Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

  • Undertake a comprehensive review of published literature on extraction and purification technologies for phycoerythrin from red marine seaweeds. 
  • Develop a sensitive, reliable and high-throughput analytical technique for quantification of phycoerythrin from red marine seaweeds.
  • Identify native red seaweed taxa with a high yield of phycoerythrin.
  • Develop at-sea and or land-based cultivation systems and process conditions to enhance phycoerythrin production in cultivated seaweed biomass.
  • Develop and optimise a proof-of-concept pilot scale extraction, purification, concentration, and product stabilisation process. 
  • Develop prototype product for industry trials and evaluation.