Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 741–751 | Cite as

Agar yield from R-phycoerythrin extraction by-product of the red alga Gracilaria verrucosa

  • Fethi MensiEmail author


R-phycoerythrin (RPE) extracted from the red alga Gracilaria verrucosa by enzymatic hydrolysis generates a large amount of coproduct containing agar. We developed a process for the sequential extraction of RPE and agar. A Box–Behnken design with three factors–three levels and response surface methodology were applied to study the influence of different extraction parameters (incubation temperature, incubation time, and algae-to-water ratio) on the yield, 3,6-anhydrogalatose (3,6-AG) content, and sulfated degree of agar from RPE coproduct. The extraction efficiency was maximized (28%) when the extraction process was carried out with these conditions: incubation temperature of 100 °C, time of 2.6 h, and algae-to-water ratio equal to 3 (% w/v). Optimum 3,6-AG content (30%) was maximized at 85 °C, 1.85 h, and 2.35 (% w/v). Sulfated degree varied between 6 and 12%. The results of this study indicate that fresh G. verrucosa can be subjected to a process of simultaneous extraction of R-phycoerythrin and agar.


Gracilaria verrucosa R-phycoerythrin Coproduct Agar 3,6-anhydrogalatose Sulfate Sequential extraction 



This study was cofounded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of Tunisia and the project BIOVecQ (PS1.3_08) financed by the European Union through the Cross-border cooperation programme Italy–Tunisia in the frame of the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument IEVP-2007-2013.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biotechnologie Bleue et Bioproduits Aquatiques-B3AquaInstitut National des Sciences et Technologies de la Mer (INSTM)Le KramTunisia

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