Plasma-based dye extraction from microalgae
The supraregional joint project PLEXIM (Plasma-based Dye Extraction from Microalgae) deals with the extraction of compounds from the model alga Galdieria sulphuraria by applying a physical plasma. The network consists of the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Science and Technology, Greifswald, the Algae Farm Klötze GmbH & Co. KG and BioActive Food GmbH from Bad Segeberg.
The aim of the project is to qualify "plasma extraction" as a technology relevant to the field of bioeconomy for the extraction of plant compounds. The plant dye phycocyanin is mainly extracted from cyanobacteria, typically used as a food colouring or as food supplement. Studies have shown that the substance has, among other things, antioxidative properties and can be used as an adjuvant in neurodegenerative diseases or cancer. The natural blue food colouring phycocyanin is currently obtained exclusively through the cold-water extraction of spirulina biomass, a cyanobacterium. This biomass is phototrophically cultivated, mostly in Asia. The market for phycocyanin is growing strongly and the extraction of Spirulina biomass in appropriate qualities is increasingly becoming a problem, as cultivation in open ponds requires large areas and cannot be expanded at will. On the other hand , the model algae for this project can be cultivated cost-efficiently in photobioreactors or fermenters, both indoors and outdoors, and is thus seasonally independent in harvesting, as well as free of contamination. The purpose of this project is to validate a process in which phycocyanin is gently but effectively extracted from the extremophilic microalga Galdieria sulphuraria by applying a physical plasma. In order to also make the alga useable in its entirety, the plasma-based extracts will be examined in cell experiments as well. The literature suggests that the microalga contains ingredients, whichmay have anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it will be studied whether inflammatory markers in skin cell lines are positively influenced and the alga could possibly serve as a raw material source for a cosmetic product against seborrhoeic eczema.
Duration: 01.08.23 until 31.07.25