Algal Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals: Benefits, Opportunities, and Challenges

Algal-Based Nutraceuticals: Application and Potential

Author(s): Jayani Samarathunga, Isuru Wijesekara* and Madhura Jayasinghe

Pp: 94-110 (17)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815051872122010009

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Today, consumers pay more attention to natural therapies rather than pharmaceutical treatments. Contentedly, algal nutraceuticals provide a massive range of medicinal properties. Both macro and microalgae have shown health beneficial bioactivities like antioxidant activity, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antitumor activities, etc. When evaluating algal nutraceuticals in the global market, several weaknesses can be identified with regard to their food safety and quality. The lack of standards and legislation on handling seaweeds in the food industry is a hindrance to enjoy the actual health benefits of algal nutraceuticals. Trends in microalgal nutraceuticals have increased since they can be cultivated easily in the natural environment. The capacity of biological activities of algae in the human body as nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals is higher than some terrestrial plants and animal sources. Therefore, bioactive compounds of algae will definitely help to prevent infectious pandemic diseases like COVID-19. Algal proteins also have emerged as a meat alternative. Research studies on the bioavailability and digestibility of these bioactive constituents are found to be still limited. Therefore, consumers show less tendency to consume algal nutraceuticals. Anti-nutritional factors like fiber, tannin and certain cations reduce the bioavailability and digestibility of algal nutrients. However, new technologies are now being developed to reduce these limiting factors. Today, with the influence of the green technology concept, algae will perform a great role in human health as a promising source of nutraceuticals.

Keywords: Algal nutraceuticals, Anticancer, Antidiabetic, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-nutritional, Antioxidant, Antitumor Activities, Bioactivities, Bioavailability, Digestibility, Food safety, Green technology, Legislations, Meat alternative, Micro algae, Natural therapies, Pandemic diseases, Pharmaceutical treatments, Quality.

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