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

Role of Algal Metabolites and Pigments: Characterization and Application

Author(s): G. Kavitha Aravind and D. Inbakandan *

Pp: 395-405 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815051872122010020

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Algae establish a dissimilar group owning huge morphological and metabolic variety. Algae are an exclusive source of beneficial constituents, holding exciting biological activity. They consist of several groups, including unicellular, colonial or filamentous, photosynthetic or heterotrophic micro-organisms containing chlorophyll and other pigments. The photosynthetic pigment composition of algae depends on the quantity and quality of light received by them. In addition to chlorophyll, algal cells comprise a numeral of accessory pigments, such as phycobiliproteins and carotenoids, that aid in photosynthesis and guard the cells against photo blanching. Pigments are light-absorbing molecules in algae. The conventional botanists categorize the algae based on their colour, more specifically based on the distribution of the pigments, which has great taxonomic significance in algal systematics. More than 40,000 algal species have been classified under prokaryotic algae (cyanobacteria) and several eukaryotes, including green algae, diatoms, yellowgreen algae, golden algae, red algae, brown algae, dinoflagellates and others. These intense metabolites from algae have numerous biotechnological and industrial applications in cosmetic, food, diagnostic and pharmacological industries owing to their nontoxic, noncarcinogenic environment and additional health-promoting properties like antioxidative and immune-boosting effects. Cumulative trials of clinical research on health aids of algal metabolites and pigments have made them a harmless and viable replacement for chemically synthesized drugs. Additional perception into the biological properties of these molecules and their method of action will aid in the improvement of effective pharmaceutical products. 

Keywords: Algae, Antioxidants, Metabolites, Pharmaceutical, Pigments.

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