Phycocyanin (also called Spirulina Blue, Spirulina Extract) is a pigment-protein complex from the light-harvesting phycobiliprotein family, along with allo-phycocyanin and phycoerythrin. It is an accessory pigment to chlorophyll. Phycocyanin is a natural, water soluble and non-toxic food pigment extracted and processed from Spirulina platensis. It is a characteristic bright blue color, absorbing orange and red light, particularly near 620nm, and emits fluorescence at about 650nm.
Phycocyanin is one of the rare pigment proteins in nature, not only has vivid color, but also is a nutrient-rich protein, which has a complete amino acids composition and a high content of essential amino acids. Phycocyanin has the physiological activities of anti-cancer, anti- inflammatory, anti-oxidant, improving immunity and scavenging free radicals. In the early 21st century, phycocyanin was widely used as food and cosmetics senior natural pigment, and made into biochemical drugs in United States, Japan and other countries. Because of the strong fluorescence characteristics, Phycocyanin also can be prepared as a fluorescent probe for the photodynamic researches of biology and cytology.