13 May 2019

Extraction of astaxanthin from European green crabs

European green crabs (EGCs; Carcinus maenas) are amongst the world’s top hundred most invasive species with potentially harmful effects on the oceanic ecosystem. These small creatures are rapidly spreading on a global scale and are even being dispersed to non-native habitats through a variety of transportation means such as ship hulls and sea planes. EGCs consume almost anything, most importantly fish, fish food, and fish offspring, thereby adversely influencing the fishing business. The aim of this project is to limit the expansion and growth of EGCs in Danish sea waters by exploiting it as a food source and/or resource for extraction of valuable food ingredients such as protein and astaxanthin (ASTX). ASTX is a carotenoid found naturally in several living organisms (e.g. shrimps, ECGs, green microalgae). Humans are unable to produce the compound, but it can be provided via food or dietary supplements. ASTX is an extremely powerful antioxidant with potentially beneficial physiological effects when consumed by humans (e.g. anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory). The molecular structure of ASTX varies according to different conditions, leading to characteristic and detectable changes in the color of the compound. Owing to the high market value of ASTX and its potential food applications (e.g. antioxidant or natural color compound), this project will seek to develop a novel processing procedure to extract ASTX from EGCs. Focus will be on applying a mild and holistic approach using all raw materials, sidestreams, and by-products from the processing of the EGCs for potential food applications. The level of ASTX in EGCs as well as derived sidestreams and by-products will be quantified using UV-Vis spectroscopy.

Start date: December 2018
End date: December 2019
Funding agency: Vækstforum Sjælland, Region Sjælland, The European Union
Grant size: 250,000 DKK

Full title: "Extraction of astaxanthin from European green crabs and investigation of the value of the resulting sidestreams including the development of Bisque and stock"