Enhancing phycocyanin solubility via complexation with fucoidan or κ-carrageenan and improving phycocyanin color stability by encapsulation in alginate-pregelatinized corn starch composite gel beads.Int J Biol Macromol. 2023 Jul 01; 242(Pt 1):124762.IJ
Phycocyanin (PC), as a pigment-protein complex, aggregates and precipitates in acidic environments. In this context, complex formation with anionic polysaccharides is a strategy to enhance protein solubility. Besides, acidic conditions negatively affect the inherent blue color of PC, which can be prevented by encapsulation. Thereupon, in the present study, two different biopolymer-based systems, namely complexes and hydrogel beads, were prepared to increase PC solubility and its color stability under acidic conditions, respectively. Fucoidan and κ-carrageenan (KC) were separately utilized to make a complex with PC. Calcium alginate-pregelatinized corn starch (PCS) composite gel beads were used to encapsulate PC. The prepared samples were added into model systems simulating acidic conditions and then characterized during storage at 4 and 25 °C under dark conditions. Appropriate colloidal stabilities were observed for fucoidan/PC and KC/PC model systems. The color of the samples remained stable at 4 °C. As well, the bead carriers (i.e. alginate-PCS) properly protected PC against low pH conditions over time at 4 °C. Thereupon, the blue color of the beads satisfactorily remained stable at this temperature. The findings showed that complexation with fucoidan or KC and encapsulation in mixed hydrogel beads are promising routes for improving PC solubility and its color stability, respectively.