Tuesday 15 February 2022

Thermochemical Characterization of Eight Seaweed Species and Evaluation of Their Potential Use as an Alternative for Biofuel Production and Source of Bioactive Compounds

Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(4), 2355

Algae are underexplored resources in Western countries and novel approaches are needed to boost their industrial exploitation. In this work, eight edible seaweeds were subjected to their valorization in terms of nutritional characterization, thermochemical properties, and bioactive profile. Our results suggest that seaweeds present a rich nutritional profile, in which carbohydrates are present in high proportions, followed by a moderate protein composition and a valuable content of ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The thermochemical characterization of seaweeds showed that some macroalgae present a low ash content and high volatile matter and carbon fixation rates, being promising sources for alternative biofuel production. The bioactive profile of seaweeds was obtained from their phenolic and carotenoid content, together with the evaluation of their associated bioactivities. Among all the species analyzed, Porphyra purpurea presented a balanced composition in terms of carbohydrates and proteins and the best thermochemical profile. This species also showed moderate anti-inflammatory activity. Additionally, Himanthalia elongata extracts showed the highest contents of total phenolics and a moderate carotenoid content, which led to the highest rates of antioxidant activity. Overall, these results suggest that seaweeds can be used as food or functional ingredient to increase the nutritional quality of food formulations.