North Korea’s Tongmyong Joint Venture company has patented a process for extracting red and green natural food pigment from seaweed in a way that produces two to five percent more product than do the popular pulverizing or freezing techniques, the Pyongyang Times has reported.
So far, the differently-mined pigments are being used in the manufacture of hair and body shampoo, liquid laundry soap, carbonated juices and more. More consumable applications are under consideration, the paper reported.
Quoting Kang Sung Hyok, the principal developer of the new process, the Pyongyang Times said an advantage of the system is that, unlike the widely-used bleaching process, it maintains the shape integrity of the pigment, leaving it better able to be adapted to coloring processes for many foods and other products.
The green pigment is said to be largely comprised of chlorophyll, and the red one is pycobilin and carotene.
The developers of the new system say they’ve only begun to explore its potential uses, given that there are more than 100 species of seaweed in the waters around Korea, and some of them are recognized as being of a quality level suitable for pigment extraction.