Algae as Nutritional and Functional Food Sources: New Insights and Understandings

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods, and Novel Foods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2022) | Viewed by 50578

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA), Food Industry Area, Finca Camps i Armet s/n, 17121 Monells, Spain
Interests: analytical chemistry; food science; functional foods; polyphenols; bioactive compounds; insects; microalgae; by-products valorization; natural contaminants

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Co-Guest Editor
ClonBio Group Ltd., 6 Fitzwilliam Pl, D02 XE61 Dublin, Ireland
Interests: plant proteins; cereal science; legumes; pseudocereals; microalgae; food design; functional foods; meat alternatives

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Algae (microalgae and seaweed) are showing an upward trend in several fields (e.g. food, feed, cosmetic, biofuel and pharmaceutic), owing to their high nutritional value, sustainability, and versatility. As functional ingredients in food formulations, algae offer a vast spectrum of interesting and high-value components such as proteins, phlorotannins, vitamins, pigments (carotenoids and phycocyanin), polyunsaturated fatty acids, minerals, etc.

The global market of algae as a food keeps growing due to the versatility of ingredients and applications. Nevertheless, the reformulation of foods and beverages with algae-derived ingredients is still challenging, mainly due to concerns over their sensory properties (e.g., taste, flavor and color) and safety.

This Special Issue aims to collect original research papers and review articles related to algae ingredients for food applications, with a special emphasis on their nutritional value, health benefits, technological and sensory characteristics, as well as on the effects of their incorporation in different food matrices.

Strategies and innovative processing technologies to improve the quality and safety of algae-derived ingredients (fermentation, treatments with pulsed electric field, ultrasonication, etc.) are also welcome.

Dr. Massimo Castellari
Guest Editor
Dr. Fatma Boukid
Co-Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • microalgae
  • seaweed
  • food innovation
  • processing
  • health
  • nutrition
  • safety

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 535 KiB  
Editorial
Algae as Nutritional and Functional Food Sources
by Fatma Boukid and Massimo Castellari
Foods 2023, 12(1), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12010122 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2133
Abstract
Algae are a large and diverse group of autotrophic eukaryotic and photosynthetic aquatic organisms [...] Full article
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Research

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12 pages, 1411 KiB  
Article
Influence of Seaweeds on the Quality of Pasta as a Plant-Based Innovative Food
by Andrea Ainsa, Adrián Honrado, Pedro Marquina, José A. Beltrán and Juan Calanche
Foods 2022, 11(16), 2525; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11162525 - 21 Aug 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2580
Abstract
This study evaluated the effect of the incorporation of seaweed on the physicochemical and technological quality of pasta. For this purpose, enriched wheat pastas from different seaweeds (sea lettuce—Ulva lactuca, nori—Porphyra tenera, and wakame—Undaria pinnatifida) were made [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the effect of the incorporation of seaweed on the physicochemical and technological quality of pasta. For this purpose, enriched wheat pastas from different seaweeds (sea lettuce—Ulva lactuca, nori—Porphyra tenera, and wakame—Undaria pinnatifida) were made and compared with durum wheat pasta as a control treatment. Firstly, optimal cooking times were established by visual and instrumental methods. Then, the technological properties of weight gain (WG), swelling index (SI), cooking losses (CL), and moisture (H%) were determined. Protein and fiber analyses, texture profile analysis (TPA), and color measurements were also performed to evaluate the physicochemical properties. Overall, enriched pasta with seaweed revealed slightly shorter optimal cooking times than control pasta. Texture properties were also modified, with a lower value of hardness, and higher values of adhesiveness and resilience. However, due to the low percentages of seaweed (3%), noticeable effects were not appreciated. Moreover, color variations of enriched pasta were relevant due to the difference among seaweeds. Nonetheless, these additions increased the protein content and soluble fiber in these foods. In conclusion, pasta enriched with marine ingredients improved this nutritional profile, and the changes in technological properties did not have a major impact on the product quality. Full article
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20 pages, 7449 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of Dragee Containing Spirulina platensis Microalgae to Enrich Corn Snack and Evaluate Its Sensorial, Physicochemical and Nutritional Properties
by Maryam Bayat Tork, Mohsen Vazifedoost, Mohammad Ali Hesarinejad, Zohreh Didar and Masoud Shafafi Zenoozian
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1909; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131909 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1903
Abstract
In this work, the possibility of enriching snacks with Spirulina palatensis (SP) powder as a dragee was studied. In dragee formulation, the effects of various levels of SP, sunflower oil, NaCl and sour whey powder on sensory, physicochemical and nutritional properties were investigated. [...] Read more.
In this work, the possibility of enriching snacks with Spirulina palatensis (SP) powder as a dragee was studied. In dragee formulation, the effects of various levels of SP, sunflower oil, NaCl and sour whey powder on sensory, physicochemical and nutritional properties were investigated. The dragee formulation was optimized and the characteristics of the optimal sample were compared with the control sample (containing dragee without SP). The results showed that adding SP increased the flavonoids, total anthocyanin content, vitamins, protein, minerals, essential and non-essential amino acids and fatty acids, including ω3 and ω6, while decreasing the energy intake. Based on the results, the optimal dragee sample was formulated and prepared with a desirability of 0.955. The correlation coefficient indicated that the effective optimization process and the performance of the model were carried out properly. The addition of SP had a significant impact on all color parameters considered by the panelists, and the enriched sample was given a very good taste score (75.10 ± 2.923) and an outstanding overall acceptance rate (91.20 ± 1.549) by the panelists. Although morphological data from scanning electron microscopy showed the distribution of non-uniform SP particles relative to the addition of SP in the extruded product formulation, the preservation of more nutritional properties and the good acceptance of sensory evaluators indicated the success of the application in dragee formulation. Therefore, instead of being utilized in an extruder, we discovered that SP may be used as a dragee for snack fortification. Full article
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20 pages, 3296 KiB  
Article
Drying Microalgae Using an Industrial Solar Dryer: A Biomass Quality Assessment
by Benjamin Schmid, Sofia Navalho, Peter S. C. Schulze, Simon Van De Walle, Geert Van Royen, Lisa M. Schüler, Inês B. Maia, Carolina R. V. Bastos, Marie-Christin Baune, Edwin Januschewski, Ana Coelho, Hugo Pereira, João Varela, João Navalho and Alexandre Miguel Cavaco Rodrigues
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131873 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 5202
Abstract
Microalgae are considered a promising resource of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other functional biomolecules for food and feed markets. Competitive drying solutions are required to meet future demands for high-quality algal biomass while ensuring proper preservation at reduced costs. Since often used drying [...] Read more.
Microalgae are considered a promising resource of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and other functional biomolecules for food and feed markets. Competitive drying solutions are required to meet future demands for high-quality algal biomass while ensuring proper preservation at reduced costs. Since often used drying methods, such as freeze or spray drying, are energy and time consuming, more sustainable processes remain to be developed. This study tested an indirect and hybrid solar dryer as an alternative to conventional freeze drying of industrially produced Tetraselmis chui and Nannochloropsis oceanica wet paste. The effects of the drying method on biomass quality parameters, including biochemical profiles, functional properties, and microbial safety, were assessed. No significant differences were found between the applied drying technologies for total proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and fatty acid profiles. On the other hand, some pigments showed significant differences, displaying up to 44.5% higher contents in freeze-dried samples. Minor differences were also registered in the mineral profiles (<10%). Analyses of microbial safety and functional properties of the solar-dried biomass appear adequate for food and feed products. In conclusion, industrial solar drying is a sustainable technology with a high potential to preserve high-quality microalgal biomass for various markets at expected lower costs. Full article
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14 pages, 9668 KiB  
Article
The Algal Polysaccharide Ulvan and Carotenoid Astaxanthin Both Positively Modulate Gut Microbiota in Mice
by Kunal Pratap, Marwan E. Majzoub, Aya C. Taki, Socorro Miranda Hernandez, Marie Magnusson, Christopher R. K. Glasson, Rocky de Nys, Torsten Thomas, Andreas L. Lopata and Sandip D. Kamath
Foods 2022, 11(4), 565; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11040565 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3552
Abstract
The intestinal microbial community (microbiota) is dynamic and variable amongst individuals and plays an essential part in gut health and homeostasis. Dietary components can modulate the structure of the gut microbiota. In recent years, substantial efforts have been made to find novel dietary [...] Read more.
The intestinal microbial community (microbiota) is dynamic and variable amongst individuals and plays an essential part in gut health and homeostasis. Dietary components can modulate the structure of the gut microbiota. In recent years, substantial efforts have been made to find novel dietary components with positive effects on the gut microbial community structure. Natural algal polysaccharides and carotenoids have been reported to possess various functions of biological relevance and their impact on the gut microbiota is currently a topic of interest. This study, therefore, reports the effect of the sulfated polysaccharide ulvan and the carotenoid astaxanthin extracted and purified from the aquacultured marine green macroalgae Ulva ohnoi and freshwater green microalgae Haematococcus pluvialis, respectively, on the temporal development of the murine gut microbiota. Significant changes with the increase in the bacterial classes Bacteroidia, Bacilli, Clostridia, and Verrucomicrobia were observed after feeding the mice with ulvan and astaxanthin. Duration of the treatments had a more substantial effect on the bacterial community structure than the type of treatment. Our findings highlight the potential of ulvan and astaxanthin to mediate aspects of host-microbe symbiosis in the gut, and if incorporated into the diet, these could assist positively in improving disease conditions associated with gut health. Full article
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11 pages, 939 KiB  
Article
Use of Microalgae Biomass for Fortification of Food Products from Grain
by Julia Bazarnova, Liudmila Nilova, Elena Trukhina, Maya Bernavskaya, Yulia Smyatskaya and Tugba Aktar
Foods 2021, 10(12), 3018; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10123018 - 05 Dec 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2760
Abstract
This article describes the use of Chlorella sorokiniana biomass additives in pasta recipes to enrich the product with biologically active phytonutrients, as well as to achieve the desired color range without the use of synthetic dyes. Samples of dry biomass were obtained by [...] Read more.
This article describes the use of Chlorella sorokiniana biomass additives in pasta recipes to enrich the product with biologically active phytonutrients, as well as to achieve the desired color range without the use of synthetic dyes. Samples of dry biomass were obtained by the cultivation of microalgae C. sorokiniana (strain), its quality indicators and nutritional value were determined for use as a food additive. A method of using dry biomass of microalgae C. sorokiniana as a phytoadditive to replace 5% of flour mixture for effective enrichment of pasta with biologically active phytonutrients was proposed. The choice of the optimal amount of addition of microalgae biomass was proved since it turned out that the replacement of flour should be no more than 5% due to the distinct fish flavor of the final product. The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of adding dry biomass of Chlorella microalgae on total protein, lipid, chlorophyll, and carotenoid content. Substitution of 5% of pasta flour led to an increase in the content of proteins and lipids to 15.7 ± 0.50% and 4.1 ± 0.06%, respectively. Meanwhile, the addition of microalgae Chlorella to pasta has helped to increase the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids, chlorophyll, and carotenoids which are necessary for the prevention of foodborne diseases. The aim of this study is to develop pasta recipe with additives of microalgae biomass C. sorokiniana and study their quality indicators. Full article
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12 pages, 1008 KiB  
Article
Development of High-Protein Vegetable Creams by Using Single-Cell Ingredients from Some Microalgae Species
by Fatma Boukid, Josep Comaposada, Albert Ribas-Agustí and Massimo Castellari
Foods 2021, 10(11), 2550; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10112550 - 22 Oct 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3138
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to develop high-protein vegetable creams through the incorporation of microalgae. Single-cell ingredients from Arthrospiraplatensis (spirulina), Chlorella vulgaris, Tetraselmis chui, and Nannochloropsis oceanica were incorporated at two levels of addition (1.5% and 3.0%) to a [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to develop high-protein vegetable creams through the incorporation of microalgae. Single-cell ingredients from Arthrospiraplatensis (spirulina), Chlorella vulgaris, Tetraselmis chui, and Nannochloropsis oceanica were incorporated at two levels of addition (1.5% and 3.0%) to a standard vegetable cream (STD). Effects of incorporation were assessed in terms of physicochemical and rheological attributes as well as nutritional labeling facts. Creams formulated with 3% A. platensis, N. oceanica, or T. chui showed strong color differences (6 < ΔE < 12) compared to STD; creams formulated with 1.5% A. platensis, T. chui, or N. oceanica showed perceptible differences (3 < ΔE < 6); and those made with C. vulgaris at 1.5 and 3% exhibited small differences (ΔE < 2). Moisture content, water activity, pH, syneresis, and °Brix did not show significant changes. Adding microalgae increased Bostwick consistency and decreased the consistency coefficient (K) except in creams made with A. platensis, which showed comparable values to STD. Principal component analysis indicated that creams made with 1.5% C. vulgaris were the most similar to STD considering all evaluated parameters. Estimation of the nutritional labeling facts showed that the four formulations could be labeled as having “high protein content” following the present EU legislation. Full article
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14 pages, 2277 KiB  
Article
Antioxidant, Scavenging, Reducing, and Anti-Proliferative Activities of Selected Tropical Brown Seaweeds Confirm the Nutraceutical Potential of Spatoglossum asperum
by Bhakti Tanna, Babita Choudhary, Avinash Mishra, O. P. Chauhan, Manish Kumar Patel, Shadi Shokralla, Tarek K. Zin El-Abedin, Hosam O. Elansary and Eman A. Mahmoud
Foods 2021, 10(10), 2482; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10102482 - 17 Oct 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2665
Abstract
Brown seaweeds have shown high potential of bioactivity and provide health benefits as an important functional food ingredient. Therefore, four abundantly growing tropical brown seaweeds—Iyengaria stellata, Spatoglossum asperum, Sargassum linearifolium, and Stoechospermum polypodioides—were collected from the Saurashtra Coast of [...] Read more.
Brown seaweeds have shown high potential of bioactivity and provide health benefits as an important functional food ingredient. Therefore, four abundantly growing tropical brown seaweeds—Iyengaria stellata, Spatoglossum asperum, Sargassum linearifolium, and Stoechospermum polypodioides—were collected from the Saurashtra Coast of the Arabian Sea. They were analyzed for metabolite profiling, biochemical activities (including total antioxidant, reducing, scavenging, and anti-proliferative characteristics), and total phenolic and flavonoid contents. A concentration-dependent antioxidant, reducing, and scavenging activities were observed for all four brown seaweeds. The S. asperum and I. stellata extracts showed maximum total antioxidant activity. S. asperum also showed high scavenging and reducing activities compared to other studied brown seaweeds. Further, S. asperum contained high total phenolic and flavonoid content compared to other brown seaweeds collected from the same coast. A multivariate correlation study confirmed a positive correlation between total phenolic and flavonoid contents, and biochemical activities (total antioxidant, scavenging and reducing) for all brown seaweeds. About 35% anti-proliferative activity was observed with S. asperum extract on Huh7 cells; in contrast S. polypodioide showed about 44% proliferation inhibition of Huh7 cells. Similarly, 26% proliferation inhibition of HeLa cells was observed with S. asperum extract. Overall, S. asperum possesses high total flavonoid and phenolic amounts, and showed potential antioxidant, scavenging and reducing characteristics. The study confirmed the nutraceutical potential of S. asperum and that it could be a promising functional food ingredient. Full article
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17 pages, 516 KiB  
Article
Seasonal Changes in the Nutritional Composition of Agarophyton vermiculophyllum (Rhodophyta, Gracilariales) from the Center of Portugal
by Clélia Afonso, Ana Patrícia Correia, Marta V. Freitas, Teresa Baptista, Marta Neves and Teresa Mouga
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1145; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051145 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 3300
Abstract
Seaweeds exhibit high nutritional value due to a balanced concentration of proteins, vitamins and minerals, a high concentration of low digestibility polysaccharides, and reduced levels of lipids, many of which are n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. The species Agarophyton vermiculophyllum is no exception [...] Read more.
Seaweeds exhibit high nutritional value due to a balanced concentration of proteins, vitamins and minerals, a high concentration of low digestibility polysaccharides, and reduced levels of lipids, many of which are n-3 and n-6 fatty acids. The species Agarophyton vermiculophyllum is no exception and, as such, a comprehensive study of the chemical and nutritional profile of this red seaweed was carried out for 1 year. Seasonal variations in moisture, ash, protein and amino acids content, crude fibers, ascorbic acid, agar, lipids, and the corresponding fatty acid profile, were analyzed. We found low levels of fatty acids and a high protein content, but also noticed interesting seasonal change patterns in these compounds. The present study gives insights on the environmental conditions that can lead to changes in the nutritional composition of this species, aiming, therefore, to bring new conclusions about the manipulation of environmental conditions that allow for maximizing the nutritional value of this seaweed. Full article
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14 pages, 915 KiB  
Article
Food and Beverages Containing Algae and Derived Ingredients Launched in the Market from 2015 to 2019: A Front-of-Pack Labeling Perspective with a Special Focus on Spain
by Fatma Boukid and Massimo Castellari
Foods 2021, 10(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10010173 - 16 Jan 2021
Cited by 42 | Viewed by 6277
Abstract
Algae are a source of functional ingredients, with a large spectrum of healthy and functional compounds. Therefore, this study aimed to provide an overview on commercialized food and beverages made from algae and derived ingredients, with emphasis on the Spanish market, relying on [...] Read more.
Algae are a source of functional ingredients, with a large spectrum of healthy and functional compounds. Therefore, this study aimed to provide an overview on commercialized food and beverages made from algae and derived ingredients, with emphasis on the Spanish market, relying on the front-of-pack labeling. For this reason, the Mintel Global New Products Database was searched for foods and beverages containing “algae” ingredients, launched during the period 2015–2019. A total of 13,090 items were found worldwide, including 5720 items in Europe, in which 436 items were in Spain. Regardless of the market (global, European, and Spanish), a similar number of products categories (n = 20), dominant categories (dairy and desserts and ice cream) and dominant algal ingredient (carrageenans) were found. Nutritional information retrieved from Spanish products underlined that algae-based snacks had significantly lower energy, fat, and salt content compared to algae-free counterparts. On the contrary, spirulina- enriched ready to drink beverages had significantly higher energy and salt than algae-free. As such, reading the nutritional labeling is crucial to selecting products that suit consumer needs or/and expectations. Furthermore, only 8% of products reported the algal species and the level of inclusion, so this study emphasizes the importance of labeling legislation to provide complete product information to consumers. Full article
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Review

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36 pages, 3499 KiB  
Review
Algae as Food in Europe: An Overview of Species Diversity and Their Application
by Madalena Caria Mendes, Sofia Navalho, Alice Ferreira, Cristina Paulino, Daniel Figueiredo, Daniel Silva, Fengzheng Gao, Florinda Gama, Gabriel Bombo, Rita Jacinto, Susana S. Aveiro, Peter S. C. Schulze, Ana Teresa Gonçalves, Hugo Pereira, Luisa Gouveia, Rita F. Patarra, Maria Helena Abreu, Joana L. Silva, João Navalho, João C. S. Varela and Lais Galileu Speranzaadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Foods 2022, 11(13), 1871; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11131871 - 24 Jun 2022
Cited by 64 | Viewed by 14107
Abstract
Algae have been consumed for millennia in several parts of the world as food, food supplements, and additives, due to their unique organoleptic properties and nutritional and health benefits. Algae are sustainable sources of proteins, minerals, and fiber, with well-balanced essential amino acids, [...] Read more.
Algae have been consumed for millennia in several parts of the world as food, food supplements, and additives, due to their unique organoleptic properties and nutritional and health benefits. Algae are sustainable sources of proteins, minerals, and fiber, with well-balanced essential amino acids, pigments, and fatty acids, among other relevant metabolites for human nutrition. This review covers the historical consumption of algae in Europe, developments in the current European market, challenges when introducing new species to the market, bottlenecks in production technology, consumer acceptance, and legislation. The current algae species that are consumed and commercialized in Europe were investigated, according to their status under the European Union (EU) Novel Food legislation, along with the market perspectives in terms of the current research and development initiatives, while evaluating the interest and potential in the European market. The regular consumption of more than 150 algae species was identified, of which only 20% are approved under the EU Novel Food legislation, which demonstrates that the current legislation is not broad enough and requires an urgent update. Finally, the potential of the European algae market growth was indicated by the analysis of the trends in research, technological advances, and market initiatives to promote algae commercialization and consumption. Full article
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