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Porphyridium purpureum

A red microalga with significant potential in numerous of applications.

Porphyridium purpureum (formerly Porphyridium cruentum) is a red marine microalga with a cell size of approximately 5 to 10 µm. P. purpureum is known for its production of sulfated exopolysaccharides and the accumulation of the valuable red phycobiliprotein complex, phycoerythrin (PE). Porphyridium has potential applications in the fields of nutrition, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.


5-10 µm cell size

5-10°C minimum growth temperature

30°C maximum growth temperature

1.9 g/l maximum dry weight

0.6 d-1 maximum growth rate

Cultivation of Porphyridium purpureum

P. purpureum is one of the few microalgae that is currently commercially cultivated on a larger scale. Currently, this cultivation is often done in plastic bags that are frequently replaced. In our expertise center, we are researching whether we can cultivate this alga in larger volumes using photobioreactors. For this purpose, a long-term cultivation experiment was initiated, spanning a period of 2 years, to assess how long this alga can be cultivated and what the effects are on the quality of the alga (see the image below).

An interesting characteristic of this alga is its growth potential at lower temperatures. Commercial algae typically grow at higher temperatures (>30°C). However, P. purpureum can still thrive at temperatures between 15 and 25°C, creating the potential for year-round cultivation in countries with a moderate climate.

Read more about the cultivation of this microalga