How to Choose phycocyanin with different color value?


Phycocyanin is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allophycocyanin and phycoerythrin. It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. All phycobiliproteins are water-soluble, so they cannot exist within the membrane like carotenoids can. Instead, phycobiliproteins aggregate to form clusters that adhere to the membrane called phycobilisomes. Phycocyanin is a characteristic light blue color, absorbing orange and red light, particularly near 620 nm, and emits fluorescence at about 650 nm. Allophycocyanin absorbs and emits at longer wavelengths than phycocyanin C or phycocyanin R. Phycocyanins are found in cyanobacteria. Phycobiliproteins have fluorescent properties that are used in immunoassay kits. Phycocyanin is from the Greek phyco meaning “algae” and cyanin is from the English word “cyan”, which conventionally means a shade of blue-green and is derived from the Greek “kyanos” which means a somewhat different color: “dark blue”. The product phycocyanin, produced by Aphanizomenon flos-aquae and Spirulina, is for example used in the food and beverage industry as the natural coloring agent ‘Lina Blue’ or ‘EXBERRY Shade Blue’ and is found in sweets and ice cream. In addition, fluorescence detection of phycocyanin pigments in water samples is a useful method to monitor cyanobacteria biomass.


Initial Naturals Supplies full specifications for phycocyanin

  • PhycocyaninPowderfrom E6(Low Color Value) to E30(High Color Value)
  • PhycocyaninLiquid from E2 to E3


Phycocyanin has a wide range of applications,which are involved in the fields of food, beverage, cosmetics, nutraceutical supplements.

Phycocyanin E18 is more suitable for food and beverage specifications. Therefore, we recommend E18. The added dosage, solubility and stability are all good.


Four Main Factors among different color value of phycocyanin

  1. Price

Price is often the biggest concern as it directly relates to the cost of the final product. However, price is actually the least important factor. Because the price is inversely proportional to the amount added. The expensive high-specification phycocyanin is often added in a small amount,

 and the low-priced low-specification phycocyanin is often added in a large amount. In the end, the cost of the product is not much different.



In addition to the price, the dosage is also a problem that is often encountered. The amount of phycocyanin added is proportional to the specification of phycocyanin. To achieve the same color of phycocyanin, the amount of phycocyanin with low specification is more, 

and the amount of phycocyanin with high specification is less, which is also well understood. For details, see the previous picture.


From the theoretical and experimental results, the solubility of phycocyanin with high color value is relatively good and fast. However, the amount of phycocyanin with high color price is difficult to control, and there are also price factors. Therefore, phycocyanin E18 has the best solubility among all specifications, and it is also a specification with suitable price, addition amount, and use. It is also the phycocyanin that we recommend in food and beverage.


The stability of phycocyanin is a disadvantage of phycocyanin, and poor stability is a common disadvantage of natural products, and it is also a shortcoming that cannot be solved in the industry at present.

  1. However, there are certain differences in the stability performance of phycocyanin of various specifications. 

    According to our experimental results, phycocyanin E18 is currently a specification with better stability.


After analyzing so many factors, what is the differences between different specifications of phycocyanin?

Pigment products are generally distinguished by color price, and phycocyanin is no exception. E10, E18, E6, E25 represent the color value of phycocyanin of this specification. Example: Phycocyanin E18 represents a phycocyanin color value of 180 for this specification. Generally speaking, the color value is proportional to the content of phycocyanin. The color price is high, and the phycocyanin content will also be high.

In addition to the color value, the amount of excipients added to different specifications of phycocyanin will also be different.


In order to increase the stability of phycocyanin

Initial Naturals often adds trehalose to the product to protect the stability of the protein; 

adds sodium citrate to adjust the pH to make the phycocyanin more suitable for consumption; 

adds maltodextrin to adapt to the current trend sugar reduction trend.


Initial Naturals products list


Product Name



(color value)

other ingredients




Sodium citrate、trehalose



Sodium citrate、trehalose



Sodium citrate、trehalose



Sodium citrate、Maltodextrin



Sodium citrate









Phycocyanin is a pigment-binding protein from the phycobiliprotein family that is used in food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic preparations. Its primary use in cosmetics is as a colorant due to its pigment characteristics. In the nutrional supplement industry, spirulina has become a popular due to its high levels of protein. Spirulina is reported to have antioxidant properties and also purported as a beneficial agent for cardiovascular health.

Initial Naturals is devoted to be your professional expert for Phycocyanin.