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Rare blue pigment offers colourant potential

The pigment is currently used in France to enhance the value of oysters

A rare blue pigment derived from algae could soon be used as a colouring agent in food, after €1.6M (£1.35M) was pledged towards investigating its commercial value by the EU’s Horizon 2020 project.

The pigment, from the single-celled algae of the genus Haslea, is currently used in France to enhance the value of oysters by turning them green – a process worth millions of euros to the French oyster industry.

The research will be led by Dr Rupert Perkins, of Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Jean-Luc Mouget from France’s Université du Maine.

“What we’re doing is completely novel, and if it works would create a natural, harmless, biodegradable blue pigment for industrial use that is also a useful antibacterial agent,” Perkins said.

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