Nutritional food pigments can be extracted from microalgae, according to scientists.

Researchers from Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have discovered that Chlorella microalgae contains high levels of carotenoid pigments, which could be cultivated for use in the food industry.

“The obtained biomass with a high level of carotenoids can be used in various sectors of the food and pharmaceutical industries as a dietary supplement to reduce the vitamin A deficiency for children and adults living in regions with increased environmental stress,” says Yulia Bazarnova, a spokesperson for SPbPU’s Institute of Biomedical Systems and Biotechnology.

However, these carotenoids are difficult to obtain from natural sources as they can be destroyed as a result of irradiation sources, high temperatures and high acidity of the environment. To work around this, the researchers say it is necessary to develop technologies for targeted delivery to the cells.

The researchers are now developing microencapsulated forms of carotenoids for targeted delivery to various organs and tissues. Negotiations are currently underway with a vegetable oil manufacturer about the implementation of the new technology in the nutrition industry.