Cell wall lysis

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    • #11144
      PoB
      Participant

      Preface: I am a mechanical engineer with only a personal interest in biology, so please excuse my lack of understanding or misuse of terms.

      My goal is to extract the contents of "spirulina" cells for use as a food colorant. I’d like to maintain the bluish emerald colors that come from the different pigments, but in my brief experimentation, boiling the sample in water appears to harm the blue pigments, and the solution becomes noticeably more yellow/green. Exposing the sample to a low pH solution (H2O and citric acid) extracts a small amount of sky-blue color, and nothing else. A 20% alcohol solution seems to be retaining good color, but I think it may just be keeping the cells in suspension. I’d like to have the majority of the proteins fall out of suspension.

      Are there any food safe methods of breaking the cell walls that do not require highly specialized equipment or chemicals?

      The spirulina is in dried form, and was purchased as a dietary supplement.

      Thanks a lot.

    • #90085
      plasmodesmata11
      Participant

      Lysozyme, or concentrated lysozyme, at least, may help. Oddly enough, it is in your saliva, and it lysis cell walls. I don’t actually know if it would work, so maybe someone will criticize me and provide a better answer…. but you could try it?

    • #90088
      mith
      Participant

      blender?

    • #90099
      jonmoulton
      Participant

      I’d try detergent. The pigments you are after are the mainly phycobiliproteins and the chlorophyll.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phycobilin

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