Tuesday, 17 September 2019

The Potential of Seaweeds as a Source of Functional Ingredients of Prebiotic and Antioxidant Value

 Antioxidants 2019, 8(9), 406

Two thirds of the world is covered by oceans, whose upper layer is inhabited by algae. This means that there is a large extension to obtain these photoautotrophic organisms. Algae have undergone a boom in recent years, with consequent discoveries and advances in this field. Algae are not only of high ecological value but also of great economic importance. Possible applications of algae are very diverse and include anti-biofilm activity, production of biofuels, bioremediation, as fertilizer, as fish feed, as food or food ingredients, in pharmacology (since they show antioxidant or contraceptive activities), in cosmeceutical formulation, and in such other applications as filters or for obtaining minerals. In this context, algae as food can be of help to maintain or even improve human health, and there is a growing interest in new products called functional foods, which can promote such a healthy state. Therefore, in this search, one of the main areas of research is the extraction and characterization of new natural ingredients with biological activity (e.g., prebiotic and antioxidant) that can contribute to consumers’ well-being. The present review shows the results of a bibliographic survey on the chemical composition of macroalgae, together with a critical discussion about their potential as natural sources of new functional ingredients.