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  • 1 Indian Agricultural Research Institute Centre for Conservation and Utilisation of Blue-Green Algae New Delhi 110012 India
  • 2 Indian Agricultural Research Institute Division of Microbiology New Delhi 110012 India
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A wide variety of pigments, like chlorophyll, carotenoids and phycobiliproteins, which exhibit colours ranging from green, yellow, brown to red are present in algae. Increasing awareness of harmful effects of synthetic dyes and inclination of society towards the usage of natural products, such as plant / microbial based colours in food and cosmetics, has led to the exploitation of microalgae as a source of natural colours. Algal pigments have great commercial value as natural colorants in nutraceutical, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industry, besides their health benefits. Spirulina, Dunaliella capsules are now commonly prescribed health foods for improving vitality and longevity of human beings. This review describes the distribution, structure of these pigments in algae, with emphasis on specific techniques for extraction and purification, along with different methods of biomass production and commercially feasible techniques documented in literature. An overview of the industrial applications of these natural colouring agents in diagnostics, food and cosmetics industry is also provided.

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