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

Toxicity of Algal Foods With Respect to Human Health

Author(s): Soraya Paz*, Carmen Rubio, Ángel J. Gutiérrez, Dailos González-Weller and Arturo Hardisson

Pp: 465-485 (21)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815051872122010023

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Since ancient times, algae have been a staple in the diet of Asian countries. Currently, due to migratory currents, globalization and new eating habits, algae are increasingly common in the markets and shops of Western countries. Edible algae can accumulate elements that, in high quantities, pose a toxic risk to consumers. Various authors have recorded high concentrations of toxic metals and trace elements in edible algae. However, in all cases, it has been shown that some species of algae, such as the Hizikia fusiform alga, tend to accumulate high concentrations of inorganic arsenic, making it necessary to modulate its consumption. Likewise, algae of some geographical origins are more exposed to contamination; therefore, it is recommended to avoid their consumption. Likewise, in cases of people with a susceptibility to suffering from thyroid problems, it is recommended to consume smaller amounts of algae, avoiding some species, such as some species of red algae, which can accumulate higher concentrations of iodine. In conclusion, it is recommended that the consumer varies between species, avoiding consuming a single species of algae, as well as avoiding those algae that come from places with a higher degree of contamination, as it has been shown that they are accumulators of toxic elements. Likewise, it is necessary to monitor the levels of certain toxic elements in edible algae in order to ensure the quality of these foods.

Keywords: Algal Foods, Arsenic, Benchmark Dose Level (BMDL), Cadmium, Chlorophyta, Dietary Intake, Edible Seaweeds, Environmental Pollution, Human Exposure, Iodine, Lead, Mercury, Phaeophyta, Rhodophyta, Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI), Tolerable Weekly Intake (TWI), Toxic Elements, Toxic Metals, Toxicity, Trace Elements.

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