Agricultural high value-added material: Phycocyanin as driver of algae production in Lower Saxony

The aim of the project is to create a new value-added chain, to make the still young industry of algae production in Lower Saxony competitive in the long term and to make the great market potential of algae increasingly usable as a primary producer. The project concentrates on processing the fresh Arthrospira (Spirulina-) mass produced directly at the production site into a phycocyanin extract.

The farmer acts both as a producer of the biomass and as an extractor. The extract, which is already being used as a food additive, can then be marketed to product developing companies at significantly higher prices. The extraction process should also enable further refinement and processing of the valuable material in the downstream area and is therefore also interesting for pharmaceutical companies.

In the project, research, agriculture and downstream companies will work together in an economically sensible way and the high demand for the high-value material will be served from Germany for the first time. Since the farmer has previously only been a producer of biomass, at the end of the project he will be able to extract from microalgae biomass optimised for the target substance directly at the production site in a field-tested pilot plant. The value of the extracted "phycocyanin" pigment is certainly many times higher than the raw material price for dried biomass that is common in Germany and the world. Due to the great demand for more natural pigments, the cultivation of Arthrospira offers an innovative, competitive alternative for agricultural enterprises.