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Present and Future Prospects of Seaweeds in Developing Functional Foods

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There has been a combined effort among scientists to explore and utilize varying food sources to develop functional foods to cater the ever-increasing demand from the consumers, who seek health-promoting roles of dietary compounds. Considering the diversity of biochemicals in seaweeds that are capable of exerting bioactivities, a growing trend is developing across globe to employ seaweeds in functional food development. Proteins, peptides, amino acids, polysaccharides, phenolics, lipids, vitamins, and minerals in seaweeds and their functional properties provide insights into the success of potential functional food products that can be developed utilizing seaweeds. However, several factors need to be taken into consideration in designing seaweed-based functional foods to obtain the market success. This chapter elaborates on the prospects of seaweeds in developing seaweed-based functional food products.
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Advances in
FOOD AND
NUTRITION
RESEARCH
VOLUME 64
Marine Medicinal Foods: Implications and
Applications, Macro and Microalgae
Edited by
SE-KWON KIM
Marine Bioprocess Research Center,
Department of Chemistry,
Pukyong National University,
Busan, Republic of Korea
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11 12 13 14 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
CONTENTS
Contributors xv
Preface xix
1. Present and Future Prospects of Seaweeds in Developing
Functional Foods 1
Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
I. Functional Foods and Disease Prevention 2
II. Potential of Seaweeds as a Source to Develop Functional Foods 4
III. Biochemical Compositional Analysis of Seaweeds that Cater to the
Potential of Seaweeds as a Source to Develop Functional Foods 5
IV. Present Situation and Potential of Seaweeds for Novel Functional
Food Product Developments 12
References 13
2. Nutritional and Digestive Health Benefits of Seaweed 17
Niranjan Rajapakse and Se-Kwon Kim
I. Seaweed as a Food 18
II. Intervention of Seaweed to Enhance Human Nutrition 18
III. Dietary Fiber in Seaweed Helps to Ameliorate Digestive Health 21
IV. Nutrition-Related other Health Benefits of Seaweed 25
References 27
3. Marine Edible Algae as Disease Preventers 29
Claudia Mariana Gomez-Gutierrez, Graciela Guerra-Rivas, Ima
Esthela Soria-Mercado, and Nahara Ernestina Ayala-Sa
´nchez
I. Introduction 30
II. Marine Algae as Food Health Promoters 30
III. Algae as Functional Food: The Preventing Disease Potential 31
IV. Conclusion 37
References 37
v
CHAPTER 1
Present and Future Prospects
of Seaweeds in Developing
Functional Foods
Eresha Mendis*
,1
and Se-Kwon Kim
,
Contents I. Functional Foods and Disease Prevention 2
A. Emerging trends in the functional food industry 3
II. Potential of Seaweeds as a Source to Develop
Functional Foods 4
III. Biochemical Compositional Analysis of Seaweeds
that Cater to the Potential of Seaweeds as a Source
to Develop Functional Foods 5
A. Seaweed proteins, peptides, and amino acids 5
B. Polysaccharides 7
C. Phytochemicals 9
D. Lipids 10
E. Minerals and vitamins 11
IV. Present Situation and Potential of Seaweeds for
Novel Functional Food Product Developments 12
References 13
Abstract There has been a combined effort among scientists to explore and
utilize varying food sources to develop functional foods to cater
the ever-increasing demand from the consumers, who seek health-
promoting roles of dietary compounds. Considering the diversity of
biochemicals in seaweeds that are capable of exerting bioactivities,
Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Volume 64 #2011 Elsevier Inc.
ISSN 1043-4526, DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-387669-0.00001-6 All rights reserved.
*Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Food Science & Technology, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya,
Sri Lanka
{
Marine Bioprocess Research Center, Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
{
Department of Chemistry, Pukyong National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
1
Corresponding author: Eresha Mendis, E-mail address: ereshamendis@yahoo.com
1
a growing trend is developing across globe to employ seaweeds in
functional food development. Proteins, peptides, amino acids,
polysaccharides, phenolics, lipids, vitamins, and minerals in sea-
weeds and their functional properties provide insights into the
success of potential functional food products that can be devel-
oped utilizing seaweeds. However, several factors need to be taken
into consideration in designing seaweed-based functional foods to
obtain the market success. This chapter elaborates on the pro-
spects of seaweeds in developing seaweed-based functional food
products.
I. FUNCTIONAL FOODS AND DISEASE PREVENTION
‘‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’’ Hippocrates, 460
BC. Identification of the relationship of foods and prevention from a range
of diseases in human goes back to several centuries. It is noteworthy to
comprehend that along with the ever-increasing consumer expectations
toward convenient foods, the desire to maintain and improve health
remains the key driver in the consumer goods market. Apparently, con-
sumer awareness on the diet is gradually improving, and increasing
health consciousness of modern consumers emphasizes on the broader
idea of ‘‘wellness’’ obtained through optimum nutrition. Further, health
challenges coming in the mode of chronic diseases that prevail mainly
among the aging population compel the consumers to reevaluate their
nutrition and life style choices they adapted for years. Dietary transitions
are becoming common as a result of this reevaluation process where
consumers become proactive in reducing risk of the occurrence of chronic
diseases and trying to manage the diseases without medical interven-
tions. In this context, consumers are becoming highly receptive for func-
tional foods and beverages seeking health-promoting roles of dietary
compounds. Consequently, food industry has ramped up the develop-
ment and marketing of diverse group of functional food products using
different sources of foods on which biological assays have confirmed their
beneficial effects related to the disease prevention and health promotion
(Gray et al., 2003).
Functional foods can be developed in many forms. Conventional foods
with bioactive components can be presented claiming positive health out-
comes. Some may be fortified or enhanced foods, specifically created to
reduce disease risk associated with a certain group of people. Although
most foods have its own function, in this chapter ‘‘functionality’’ is ascribed
to a specific phenomenon widely accepted by the scientific community
involved in this field which is defined as ‘‘functional foods are foods and
food components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition for the
2Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
intended population. These substances provide essential nutrients often
beyond quantities necessary for normal maintenance, growth and develop-
ment, and/or other biologically active components that impart health ben-
efits or desirable physiological effects’’ (Anonymous, 2005). Further, this
definition emphasizes the positive health benefits of food components not
considered nutrients in the traditional definition.
A. Emerging trends in the functional food industry
When surveying the world market for functional foods, it is evident that
distinct trends are emerging in different parts of the world. Apparently,
some functional food categories common to most regions are emerging
faster and will significantly outperform during the years ahead (Farkas,
2000). Analyzing trends across globe, it is predicted that digestive health
and heart health will be key areas of focus in developing functional food
products for the years to come. Based on worldwide analysis of new
introductions of functional food categories, products that are focused on
digestive health are capturing the interest of a broader audience than
products with a narrow focus such as products targeting specific illnesses.
In parallel to the ramped up need for the improvement of dietary health,
foods with probiotics, prebiotics, and dietary fiber are capturing the
interest of consumers and food manufacturers. Similarly, a great industry
emphasis is given to development of designer beverages such as energy
and sports drinks. This has a link to consumer preference to go for wide
range of food or beverage products that claim ‘‘energy boosters,’’ ‘‘high
vitamins,’’ ‘‘high minerals,’’ and ‘‘high antioxidants,’’ and products pro-
moting their antioxidant capacity specifically are getting flooded to the
consumer markets to meet this demand. There are products in the market
claiming that they are made out of ‘‘super fruits,’’ fruits which are having
higher antioxidant power as they contain phytochemicals responsible for
antioxidative mechanisms. Further, among claims relating minerals, in
food products ‘‘with calcium,’’ ‘‘high in calcium’’ type of health claims
are increasingly exploited.
Though it is a focus of a narrow audience to look for products focusing
heart health, products with low saturated fats and cholesterol are
admired by the majority of the consumers. In the same arena, o-3 fatty
acids are still maintaining its recognition among consumers having iden-
tified its effects including protection against cardiovascular disease, vari-
ous inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, and enhanced cognitive
health. In recent years, there was concentration toward products targeting
the women population composed of active ingredients capable of fighting
against bone-related complications, pregnancy, or menopause-related
issues. Wider coverage in research is given for phytoestrogens and phy-
tosterols available in this category of products among other
Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 3
phytochemicals. Further, soy protein inclusions are getting highly recog-
nized by women population due to their ability to reduce the risk of heart
diseases by lowering blood cholesterol levels, promoting bone health, and
easing symptoms of menopause. Further, there is an increasing demand
for products targeting children. Active ingredients are added in these
products and are capable of supporting brain development of infants,
immunity enhancement, and acting against allergy reactions in the body.
Also some of these products are aiming at promoting healthier eating
habits and active life styles among children to prevent the unprecedented
growth of obesity and related complications. Functional protein, peptides,
and amino acids from different food sources are also renowned, and
among them, soy protein concentrates are gaining much popularity attrib-
uted to the functional properties specifically toward women population.
Other than that, there are products that are becoming popular for their
functional effects relating development of healthier skin, energy supple-
ments, weight management, cognitive boosters, antihypertension, antic-
arcinogenic and antiallergic properties.
II. POTENTIAL OF SEAWEEDS AS A SOURCE TO DEVELOP
FUNCTIONAL FOODS
There has been a combined effort among biochemists, biologists, food
technologists, and nutritionists to explore and utilize varying food sources
of both terrestrial and marine origin to cater the demand from the con-
sumers who eagerly look forward to have optimum nutrition through
their dietary interventions. Further, they quest for health benefits asso-
ciated with these food sources knowing the current need for molecules
with novel modes of action to face emerging diseases, seeking proactive
approach than ‘‘firefighting’’ with medical interventions. When consider-
ing the sustainability of different sources, photosynthetic algae are the
most heterogeneous group of organisms and considered the true survivors
of the planet as they have been capable of facing the dramatic changes in
climatic conditions for centuries and to occupy virtually all niches on earth
with a ubiquitous distribution. Seaweeds are taxonomically classified as
algae and they belong to four major seaweed classes, the rhodophyceae
(red algae), the phaeophyceae (brown algae), the cyanophyceae (blue-
green algae), and the chlorophyceae (green algae). A greater diversity in
biochemical composition of seaweeds paves the path to explore variety of
compounds in their bodily composition with a wide range of physiological
and biochemical characteristics, many of which are rare or absent in other
taxonomic groups (Holdt and Kraan, 2011).
Knowing the benefits associated with the seaweeds through the expe-
rience, seaweed has been used as an important dietary component for
4Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
centuries in countries like China, Japan, and Korea. However, seaweeds
are attracting increasing attention as a valuable food source in other parts
of Asia, Africa, and also other western parts of the world, and growing
interest is developing to explore all possible seaweed interventions
including functional food product development. For this purpose, several
countries other than China, Japan, and South Korea have commercially
exploited open and closed cultivation systems to grow seaweeds at large
scale. These countries are expected to increase culturing of seaweeds
dramatically over the years to come. Further advances in science and
technology have provided researchers the required know-how and pow-
erful analytical tools to better characterize the physiological roles of
bioactive compounds from seaweeds in disease prevention and health
promotion. Research currently underway at academic, industry, and
government facilities will reveal how a myriad of substances from sea-
weed sources can be used as functional food products. Moreover, grow-
ing consumer interest in functional foods developed using marine sources
has been seen as a significant business opportunity for the agri-food
sector, and among them, greater potentials exists to promote the utiliza-
tion of seaweeds in the functional food industry. Recognizing the market
potential for functional foods, a number of firms all over the world have
begun to capitalize on these emerging markets.
III. BIOCHEMICAL COMPOSITIONAL ANALYSIS OF
SEAWEEDS THAT CATER TO THE POTENTIAL OF
SEAWEEDS AS A SOURCE TO DEVELOP FUNCTIONAL
FOODS
Scientific reports dealing with functional effects of seaweed proteins,
peptides, amino acids, polysaccharides, phytochemicals, lipids, and
minerals greatly endorse the efforts toward development of ‘‘health
foods’’ using seaweeds. Table 1.1 provides some seaweed species studied
and recognized for their richness in functionally important molecular
groups. Evaluation of functional properties requires a clear idea about
their biochemical composition, and it provides a platform to have an
inspiration to decide on the molecules responsible for different biological
activities.
A. Seaweed proteins, peptides, and amino acids
Percentage of proteins in seaweeds varies from about 10% to 40% (w/w)
per dry weight, and it varies according to the season and the species
(Murata and Nakazoe, 2001). Red algae are rich sources of proteins
compared to other divisions of algae. Among the proteins present in
Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 5
seaweeds, lectins, a group of hemagglutinin proteins that bind with
carbohydrates, have captured the interest of researchers due to their
ability to take part in host–pathogen interactions, cell–cell communica-
tion, recognizing and binding carbohydrates and to exert functional
effects to induce apoptosis, metastasis, and cell differentiation in cancer
cells, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-human immunodeficiency virus
(anti-HIV) activity, and human platelet aggregation inhibition (Hori et al.,
2000; Mori et al., 2005; Smit, 2004).
Other than the lectins, phycobilliproteins (phycocyanins and allphy-
cocyanins) are popular for their potency to exert functional effects in the
mode of anti-inflammatory, liver protecting, antiviral, antitumor, anti-
atherosclerosis, lipase activity inhibitor, serum lipid reducing agent, and
antioxidant, and to obstruct absorption of environmental pollutants into
the body (Sekar and Chandramohan, 2008). Seaweed peptides obtained
through the enzymatic digestion process have shown several biological
activities including antioxidant, antimicrobial, antithrombotic, immuno-
modulatory, and mineral binding activity (Smit, 2004). These peptides are
inactive in the amino-acid sequence of the parental protein and become
TABLE 1.1 Seaweed species studied for their richness in specific bioactive compounds
Bioactive compound(s) Seaweed species
Total polysaccharides Saccharina latissima,Sargassum
pallidum
Carrageenan Chondrus crispus,Eucheuma cottonii
Agar Gracilaria cornea,Gracilaria domingensis
Algins/alginic acid Laminaria digitata,Laminaria hyperborea
Fucoidan Fucus vesiculosus,Ascophyllum
nodosum
Laminarin Fucus vesiculosus,Laminaria hyperborea
Ulvan Ulva lactuca,Ulva rigida
Total protein Undaria spp., Sargassum spp.
Lectins Ulva sp., Eucheuma amakusaensis
Phycobilliproteins Palmaria palmata,Gracilaria tikvahiae
Taurine Saccharina latissima,Porphyra tenera
Kanoids (kainic and domoic acid) Palmaria palmata,Digenea simplex
PUFA (o-3 fatty acids) Laminaria digitata,Saccharina latissima
Phlorotannins Ascophyllum,Fucus spp.
Carotenoids Laminaria digitata,Fucus serratus
Iodine Laminaria japonica,Laminaria digitata
Calcium Porphyra tenera,Ulva lactuca
Vitamin B
12
Ulva lactuca,Porphyra tenera
Source:Holdt and Kraan (2011).
6Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
active upon release through the enzymatic digestion. In vitro and in vivo
studies that have been carried out using water extracts of seaweeds have
confirmed that dipeptides in extracts are capable of acting against hyper-
tension through inhibition of angiotensin I converting enzyme (Sato et al.,
2002).
The free amino-acid fraction of seaweed is a mixture of amino acids
and is mainly composed of taurine, alanine, amino butyric acid, omithine,
citrulline, and hydroxyproline (Holdt and Kraan, 2011). Taurine is an
amino acid present in high concentration in red algae. It also acts as an
antioxidant and protects against toxicity of various heavy metals such as
lead and cadmium by preventing their absorption in the stomach. Taurine
has been shown to be effective in reducing the secretion of serum lipids
and apolipoprotein B100, a structural component of low density lipopro-
teins, thereby reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and coronary heart
disease. These finding have been followed and supported by several
other research reports that taurine supplementation exerted a hypocho-
lesterolemic effect in young overweight adults. Taurine has also shown its
capability to relieve complications in people with congestive heart failure
by increasing the force and effectiveness of heart–muscle contractions
(Lourenc¸o and Camilo, 2002; Mochizuki et al., 1999). The kainoid amino
acids, kainic, and domoic acids have also been found in numerous algal
species. They act as central nervous system stimulants upon exceeding
the safe levels and become neurotoxins. These compounds are currently
used in research associated with neurophysiological disorders such as
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy (Harnedy and
FitzGerald, 2011).
B. Polysaccharides
Presently sulfated polysaccharides are the group which is identified as
economically most important among other ingredients found in algae that
have been extensively used in the industry for food and medicinal pur-
poses. Red algae and brown algae are the classes that produce these
polysaccharides of interest in higher concentrations. These polysacchar-
ides act as dietary fiber as they are not digested in the upper digestive
tract but may be degraded by the colonic bacteria to some extent in the
colon. Direct comparisons show that, in most of the seaweeds dietary,
fiber amounts are similar or slightly elevated than the levels of total fiber
in terrestrial foodstuffs. Edible seaweed contain 33–62% total fibers on a
dry weight basis, which is higher than the levels found in higher plants,
and these fibers are rich in soluble fractions (Dawczynski et al., 2007;
Lahaye, 1991). A growing interest can be seen among researchers to
study the roles of polysaccharides in the human body particularly how
they prevent the occurrence of certain diseases.
Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 7
Carrageenans are generally identified as carbohydrate antigens and
has the potency to promote the growth of connective tissues. Antiviral
properties of few algal species have been studied extensively including
Chondrus crispus and Gelidium cartilagineum, the species produce agar and
carrageenan in higher concentrations. Researchers have concluded that
this property is attributed to the galactan units available in agar and
carrageenan of these algal species. Current research develops strong
evidences to promote carrageenan as an useful antiviral agent that blocks
the transmission of the HIV virus as well as other STD viruses such as
gonorrhea, genital warts, and the herpes simplex virus (Buck et al., 2006).
Carrageenan is also studied extensively in ulcer therapy, and it has been
concluded that carrageenan is involved in developing protective layer by
interacting with the mucoid lining of the stomach and thereby preventing
enzymes and acid secretion (Emerson and Kerkut, 1974). Agar has similar
structural and functional properties as carrageenans. Both agar and car-
rageenan have the ability to exert effects in modifying the adhesion and
proliferation of normal and tumoral human colonic cells thereby affecting
the process of metastasis (Zhou et al., 2006).
Other important polysaccharide, alginic acid, is present naturally in
seaweeds as calcium or magnesium salts which are insoluble in water.
Algins/alginates are extracted from brown seaweeds and are available in
both acid and salt forms. Commercially alginic acid is extracted mainly
from brown seaweeds as soluble sodium alginate. Sodium alginate is
reported to serve as a coadjutor in immunization against strain-specific
influenza virus. Sodium alginate also has tried in the treatment of esoph-
agitis and urolithiasis. It has the ability to function as a haemostatic agent
which is capable of clotting blood in situ. Alginates have the capability to
act like fibers and help clearing the digestive system to protect surface
membranes of the stomach and intestine from potential carcinogens.
Further, this feature has a link with its ability to prevent proliferation of
implanted cancer cells in the stomach. Moreover, alginic acid and its
derivatives are used for the production of drugs in the treatment of
gastritis and gastroduodenal ulcers, as well as alginates are used as
antiulcer remedies. The mechanism action of these materials has a link
to its ability to effectively suppress postprandial acidic refluxes and
binding of bile acids. Alginates are capable of reducing hypertension
through several mechanisms including physical binding of sodium in
the gastrointestinal tract and calcium channel blocker activity (Draget
and Taylor, 2011).
The polysaccharide laminarin is commercially extracted mainly from
kelp and fucoids and is a main form of food storage of brown algae.
Sulfated laminarins have antilipidemic activities and capable of reducing
serum cholesterol levels and total serum lipids (Kiriyama et al., 1969). The
anticoagulant activity of this material is attributed to its antithrombotic
8Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
property, and laminarin only shows anticoagulant activity after structural
modifications such as sulfation, reduction, or oxidation (Miao et al., 1999).
Structural similarity of laminarin to barley, which is potent prebiotic, has
prompted the study of laminarin as a prebiotic. Studies have proved that
laminarin provides a substrate for prebiotic bacteria and promotes their
growth and function in human (Deville et al., 2004). Further, laminarin has
proved to be involved in modulating the gut environment and act as an
immunostimulant. Further studies have revealed the potential of lami-
narin as a cancer therapeutic and as a tumor inhibiting agent (Miao et al.,
1999).
Fucoidan, another polysaccharide of brown algae, is not found in other
algae or in higher plants. Fucoidan has shown promising antiviral, immu-
nomodulating, and antibacterial activities. Fucoidan inhibits the angio-
genesis and promotes apoptosis in human cancer cells. Further, it inhibits
the proliferation of tumor cells and thereby reduces the growth and the
size of the tumor. Further, this compound has proven its capability to act
as anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant agents. Further, fucoidan pre-
parations have been proposed as an alternative to the injectable anticoag-
ulant heparin considering its safety being free of viruses as they originate
from plant matter and exert protective effects through direct inhibition of
viral replication against HIV, hepatitis, and herpes viruses. Further, fucoi-
dan has reputed for its ability to stimulate the immune system by acting
as an immunomodulator directly on macrophage (Li et al., 2008).
Ulvan is a water soluble polysaccharide obtained from members of the
Ulvales. Bioactive properties of ulvan such as cytoxicity against colonic
cancer cells through modification of the adhesion and proliferation of
tumoral human colonic cells and modulating the expression of transform-
ing growth factors related to cellular differentiation are reported. Further,
there are reports to confirm that ulvan acts as an antiviral and antibacter-
ial agent (Lahaye and Robic, 2007).
C. Phytochemicals
The secondary metabolites of seaweeds have always attracted the interest
of biochemists because of their diversity as compared with those present
in the leaves of higher plants. Isoprenoids (e.g., terpenes, carotenoids,
steroids), polyketides (e.g., phlorotannins), amino-acid-derived natural
products (e.g., alkaloids), and shikimates (e.g., flavonoids) are the major
groups of secondary metabolites found in algae. Compared to other
macroalgae, rhodophyta are richer sources of these secondary metabo-
lites. Exceptionally, Phlorotannins, or polyphenols, are recognized as
structural classes of polyketides found exclusively in brown algae. Phlor-
otannins are constructed through the polymerization of phloroglucinol
units to form polyphloroglucinols. These polyphloroglucinols are
Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 9
composed of six major groups: fucols, phlorethols, fucophlorethols, fuha-
lols, isofuhalols, and eckols. They possess strong antioxidative properties
and act against oxidative stress (Ko
¨nig and Wright, 1993). Certain poly-
phenols work as preventative medicines for problems such as cardiovas-
cular diseases, cancers, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders that have a
direct link with oxidative stress (Yuan et al., 2005). Further, phlorotannins
has bactericidal activity (e.g., anti-Staphylococcus activity) together with
other therapeutic perspectives.
Flavonoids and their glycosides present in green, brown, and red algae
also have exhibited antioxidative properties and have demonstrated their
capability to act against atherosclerosis and cancer. Fucoxanthin, b-caro-
tene, and violaxanthin are carotenoids found in seaweeds and exhibit
powerful antioxidant properties. Further, fucoxanthin has demonstrated
strong anticancer effects and has demonstrated its capability to prevent
obesity (Hosokawa et al., 1999). The correlation between a diet rich in
carotenoids and a diminishing risk of cardiovascular diseases and oph-
thalmological diseases has been backed by the recent research carried out
using different types of carotenoids in cellular systems and human inter-
vention studies.
Halogenated compounds, another type of metabolites found in algae,
are produced mainly by the brown and red algae, and among other
halogenated compounds, polyhalogenated monoterpenes found in red
algae have exhibited anticancer, antimicrobial, and antitubercular func-
tionalities (Cabrita et al., 2010). A greater number of researches on varying
type of secondary metabolites are progressing fast, and their biological
mode of actions and efficacies in human dietary interventions are yet to be
confirmed (Ko
¨nig and Wright, 1993).
D. Lipids
In general, seaweeds are recognized to contain low amounts of lipid,
however, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) found in algae have
attracted the attention due to their biological effects which have implica-
tions in human health. However, amounts and concentrations of these
PUFAs are greatly varied according to environmental temperature, being
the lower temperatures favoring their production. When comparing the
two families of PUFAs found in the human diet (o-6 fatty acid and o-3
fatty acid), o-3 PUFAs are of particular interest in the emerging field of
functional food development. This is attributed to the properties of o-3
PUFAs, eicosapentaenoic (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA) that
are linked to a range of biochemically and physiologically important
functions in the human body. However, EPA has been reported as
the predominant fatty acid in various seaweeds. A greater number of
10 Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
scientific evidences support the efficacy of o-3 PUFA as agents possessing
antiarteriosclerotic, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, and immuno-
regulatory effects (Khan et al., 2007; Plaza et al., 2008).
Reports provide evidence that the phospholipids are the prominent
type in the composition of lipids in seaweeds and they provide better
compounds for food applications than fish oil attributed to their greater
resistance to oxidation and higher degree of bioavailability. Sterols are
also an important part of seaweed lipids due to their different composi-
tional and functional effects in the human body. The predominant types
and amounts of sterols in seaweeds vary to a greater extent. Red algae
contain primarily the cholesterol, and fucosterol is the predominant sterol
type in brown algae. Fucosterol reduces the absorption of cholesterol into
the bloodstream by restricting the solubility of cholesterol in bile acid
(Ikeda et al., 1988). The sterol composition in green algae varies greatly
among species, and isofucocholesterol, cholesterol, 24-methylene-choles-
terol, and b-sitosterol are frequently found among others. Prolonged
consumption of sterols from marine algae is reported to reduce the
tendency to form a fatty liver and excessive fat deposition in the heart
of human.
E. Minerals and vitamins
Seaweeds are rich sources of some important minerals and vitamins. In
particular, seaweeds contain good amounts of iodine, calcium, and iron
among others. Iodine content of seaweeds is incomparable with the
highly consumed terrestrial vegetables as seaweeds are much better
sources of iodine. However, amounts are varied with phylum, season,
and environmental, geographical, and physiological variations. Brown
algae have recognized as much important sources of iodine and have
utilized extensively for the prevention and treatment of iodine deficiency
goiter. Further, scientific reports link the potential of iodine in inhibiting
tumorogenesis with the high amount of iodine in some seaweed species
(Funahashi et al., 1999). In line with this capability of iodine in seaweeds,
epidemiological studies suggest that high dietary seaweed content must
have accounted for the low prevalence of breast cancer in some countries
of Asia.
Seaweeds are also rich sources of calcium which provides a greater
potential to be used in functional food developments attributed to their
higher calcium concentration and easy assimilation (in the form of cal-
cium carbonate) in to the body compared to calcium in cow’s milk (in the
form of calcium phosphate). Further, seaweeds provide good sources of
vitamins such as vitamin E, A, and B12 and have a greater potential to be
exploited in functional food categories in demand (Berg et al., 1991).
Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 11
IV. PRESENT SITUATION AND POTENTIAL OF SEAWEEDS
FOR NOVEL FUNCTIONAL FOOD PRODUCT
DEVELOPMENTS
Seaweeds have long been recognized as potential sources for the phyco-
colloid industry dealt with agar, carrageenan, furcellaran, and algin to use
as food additives in the modes of stabilizers, texture enhancers, viscosity
modulators, gelling agents, etc. Seaweeds have gained the popularity in
the international trade specifically for these phycocolloids, dried sea-
weeds, and products of laminarin and fucoidans. With the increased
understanding of the health beneficial properties of these seaweed com-
pounds, considerable efforts have been exerted in discovering more direct
therapeutic-related food applications, but, despite high expectations, no
commercially successful product ranges have yet been developed utiliz-
ing these compounds targeting optimum health and nutrition of human.
Very few seaweed-based functional food products can be seen covering a
narrow market niches such as powder forms of alginates and carragee-
nans, phytocomplexes fortified with fucoidans, aligns, minerals and vita-
mins from seaweed sources, b-carotene as vitamin supplements, seaweed
protein powders, fiber complexes fortified with phytochemical extrac-
tions from seaweeds, etc. However, their success as a functional food
product in the market is not up to the expectation. Fortification of food
products having higher consumer acceptance with seaweed bioactives
would provide an opportune approach to popularize health benefits of
seaweeds among consumers and very few such efforts are reported
recently (Kadam and Prabhasankar, 2010; Lo
´pez-Lo
´pez et al., 2009). It is
an agreeable fact that functional foods present major challenges for the
food industry as they appear to be a new and unfamiliar territory for
product developers in marketing and developing business strategies. This
is mainly because translating scientific advances and nutritional innova-
tions into consumer products is a costly and complex process. Sound
science must underlie the development, marketing, and regulation of
these new functional foods to gain success. Further, one needs to under-
stand that the functional food trends are more heterogeneous than homo-
geneous, evolving and growing at different rates both within and across
countries, owing to sociodemographic and sociocultural differences, and
functional food products needs to be developed to match with the inter-
ests of the target populations (Wim, 2005).
Successful functional product innovations dealt with other food
sources have been mainly launched targeting the markets for nonalco-
holic beverages fortified with the vitamins or other functional ingredients,
breakfast cereals, cholesterol-lowering spreads, confectionery, biscuits,
cereal, cereal bars, soft drinks, probiotic and prebiotic dairy products,
12 Eresha Mendis and Se-Kwon Kim
isotonic drinks, bakery, and hypoallergenic baby foods. Further, ever-
concerning chronic disease-related conditions such as cancer, high cho-
lesterol, coronary heart diseases, atherosclerosis, stroke, hypertension,
diabetes (type II), gastrointestinal disorders, osteoporosis, intestinal com-
plications, and immune disorders including allergy have been used as
prime focuses when developing these functional food products. When
analyzing the supply structure of these functional foods, the main types of
successful actors in the commercial functional food segment are multina-
tional food companies with a broad product range and pharmaceutical or
dietary products producing companies. Therefore, the combination of
consumer acceptance, advances in science and technology, and scientifi-
cally backed evidence linking consumption of biochemical compounds in
seaweed to disease and disease prevention can be taken as unprecedented
opportunity for these food marketers to develop seaweed-based func-
tional products to address nutritional and health-promoting demands of
consumers. Hence, they can take the challenge of developing novel food
products using seaweeds with their wider experience in handling other
functional food categories. Today’s science and technology can be used to
provide many additional functional foods, and future scientific and tech-
nological advances promise an even greater range of health benefits for
consumers through seaweed-based functional food innovations. Other
than these main factors, the extent of cultivation needs to be expanded
to which raw seaweed demands can be met at competitive prices, and
further efforts are needed to explore new sources of algae so far neglected.
Further, in obtaining the success in the market, strategic planning is
required to enhance the knowledge and awareness of the consumers
about health effects of seaweeds-related functional ingredients. More-
over, the long-term success of a functional food for health and well-
being depends on perspective and the alignment of a number of interests
and different stakeholders such as health sector, food industry, technolo-
gists, scientists, regulators, and even environmentalists. Therefore, a dia-
log needs to be initiated among researchers, industry, regulators,
and other important stakeholders to initiate strategies to promote this
invaluable natural resource of food to develop successful functional food
products to the market.
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Potential of Seaweeds to Develop Functional Foods 15
... The saturated fatty acids include the lauric acid (C12:0), myristic (C14:0), pentadecylic (C15:0), palmitic (C16:0), margaric (C17:0), stearic (C18:0) and arachidic (C20:0) acids while the unsaturated fatty acid include the monounsaturated (C12:1-C18:1) and polyunsaturated long chain (omega-3 and omega-6) fatty acids (Hamid et al., 2015;Ragonese et al., 2014;Sánchez-Machado et al., 2004). Moreover, seaweeds contain significantly higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to terrestrial vegetables (Mendis & Kim, 2011). Omega 3 PUFAs in seaweeds include the α-linolenic acid, ALA (C18:3n-3), stearidonic acid, SDA (C18:4n-3) and eicosapentaenoic acid, EPA (C20:5n-3) while the omega 6 PUFA is the arachidonic acid (C20:4n-6) Terasaki et al., 2009). ...
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The paper reviews briefly the present status and future trends of some new, emerging food preservation technologies and anticipates the major lines of developments in relation to functional and transgenic foods. These topics of innovative food technologies and food products are of particular importance in view of the European Union's regulation concerning "novel foods and novel ingredients". The author considers the obstacles and the needs for more research and other actions such as safety assessment and balanced communication to the public.
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Alginates are binary, linear copolymers of (1 → 4) linked ß-d-mannuronic acid (M) and α-l-guluronic acid (G) residues of widely different composition and sequence. The monomers do not occur randomly but rather in a block-like fashion, where the G-blocks are responsible for the specific ion binding and hence also the gelling properties of alginates. Alginates have for decades been used as medical devices in various products, and research has been conducted on alginate gel beads as entrapment devices for the transplantation of e.g. insulin producing cells. Until recently, no pharmaceutical activity of the alginate molecule itself had been claimed. The fact that alginates high in mannuronate residues are able to induce cytokine production and may stimulate Toll-like receptors has changed this picture. Furthermore, it has quite recently also been shown that oligoguluronates are able to transiently modify mucin network structures to such an extent that it opens up possibilities for the treatment of pathological respiratory diseases as well as a general increased drug bioavailability due to increased mucosal uptake. This review presents a summary of the physicochemical properties of alginates and their entry into biotechnology and biomedicine.
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The availability of vitamin B-12 from two different seafood products, nori (Porphyra tenera) and spirulina (Spirulina sp.), was evaluated in rats. Male weanling Wistar rats (n = 30) were fed a vitamin B-12 deficient diet for six weeks, followed by a four-week repletion period in which the rats were supplemented with equal doses of vitamin B-12, either supplied as pure cyanocobalamin, or as dried spirulina or nori. No difference in body weight gain, relative liver, or relative kidney weight could be demonstrated between the groups in either the depletion or repletion period. Low serum, liver, and kidney cobalamin contents were measured after the depletion period using an Intrinsic Factor-based radioassay. However, no hematological abnormalities could be demonstrated in the B-12 depleted rats. After repletion, cobalamin contents of serum and kidney were significantly lower, and liver cobalamin content was higher, for both the nori- and spirulina-fed rats than for the cyanocobalamin-supplemented controls. These data illustrate that cobalamins from algae are indeed absorbed by the rat. However, the distribution pattern over liver and kidneys indicates that at least part of the cobalamins, measured by a specific radioassay, may actually be analogues.
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Reviews the main food choice trends driving consumer demand for functional foods and the constraints limiting market development. Considers previous research activity in the functional food arena and subsequently identifies paramount research priorities that may facilitate the development of products that will help satisfy consumer demands for convenience, health and sensory pleasure.
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Macroalgae are a diverse group of marine organisms that have developed complex and unique metabolic pathways to ensure survival in highly competitive marine environments. As a result, these organisms have been targeted for mining of natural biologically active components. The exploration of marine organisms has revealed numerous bioactive compounds that are proteinaceous in nature. These include proteins, linear peptides, cyclic peptides and depsipeptides, peptide derivatives, amino acids, and amino acid–like components. Furthermore, some species of macroalgae have been shown to contain significant levels of protein. While some protein-derived bioactive peptides have been characterized from macroalgae, macroalgal proteins currently still represent good candidate raw materials for biofunctional peptide mining. This review will provide an overview of the important bioactive amino-acid-containing compounds that have been identified in macroalgae. Moreover, the potential of macroalgal proteins as substrates for the generation of biofunctional peptides for utilization as functional foods to provide specific health benefits will be discussed.