Microalgae: tomorrow's nutrition-driven future

Microalgae: tomorrow’s nutrition-driven future


There has by no means been a greater time for eco-friendly substances than now. With increasingly more customers demanding sustainable and inexperienced dietary merchandise, microalgae-derived uncooked supplies have witnessed stellar progress up to now few years, studies Diksha Raju, Affiliate Guide at ChemBizR

Microalgae are considerable on the planet’s oceans, and by exploiting their photosynthetic capabilities, they are often simply grown in open tradition techniques or utilizing photobioreactors.

Given the massive number of microalgae species accessible, solely a choose few have witnessed any business success. Though greater than 30 microalgae are presently below analysis, their advantages haven’t but been totally explored and exploited in industrial functions (Determine 1).

Microalgae: tomorrow's nutrition-driven future

Main the way in which, nevertheless, the meals and dietary complement area has made important progress in extracting and evaluating substances from biologically derived microalgae which might be vital to human well being.

Microalgae are extensively thought of to be each a meals and a dietary complement. They’re probably the most explored sources of pure substances equivalent to proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, polysaccharides, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), nutritional vitamins, minerals and numerous different bioactive compounds.

Lots of them have gained reputation as a result of their optimistic well being properties (antihypertensive, anti-obesity, antioxidative, anticancer and cardiovascular safety, to call a couple of).

Quite a lot of these nutritious substances will not be produced by the human physique; they’re fairly essential for the event of the mind and common cognitive well being, however will not be but acknowledged as practical meals or nutraceuticals.

Bioactive compounds: the core of microalgae-based dietary dietary supplements

Omega-3 (DHA and EPA) dietary supplements, which cut back the chance of heart problems and shield in opposition to weight problems and diabetes, are presently in excessive demand.

Though fish and krill oil are in style sources of omega-3 dietary supplements, they pose a big menace to aquatic organisms, have low oxidative stability, and have a distinguished bee taste profile.

Plant-based sources, equivalent to flaxseed and flaxseed, are used to complement omega-3 necessities as a result of they supply ALA, which is then transformed to DHA and EPA. Nonetheless, it’s unknown how a lot ALA is definitely transformed into long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.

This has shifted the business’s focus to microalgae with larger concentrations of DHA and EPA, equivalent to Schizochytrium sp., Tetraselmis chuii, Euglena gracilis and Nannochloropsis sp.

Microalgae: tomorrow's nutrition-driven future

These microalgae-extracted omega-3s haven’t any uncomfortable side effects and are essentially the most sustainable possibility for vegan customers involved in regards to the dietary worth of their meals. Schizochytrium is presently commercially used to extract omega-3 fatty acids, whereas Tetraselmis chuii lacks regulatory compliance and omega-3 fatty acids will not be particularly extracted from E. gracilis.

Microalgae-derived omega-3s are anticipated to enter the market with exponential progress within the coming years as technological advances introduce new microalgae sources to the market with improved extraction applied sciences.

Different important fatty acids, equivalent to omega-6, are considerable in Chlorella species equivalent to C. vulgaris and C. pyrenoidosawhich has a excessive stage of PUFAs (akin to that present in fish oils).

They’re also called Supreme Complete Meals Concentrates as a result of they comprise a big quantity of chlorophyll. Though omega-3s are present in these microalgae, business extraction has not been doable at the moment.

Spirulina, derived from Arthrospira platensishas made its presence referred to as a dietary complement as a result of the ingredient incorporates a wide range of vitamins equivalent to nutritional vitamins and minerals which might be crucial for good well being.

It additionally promotes the manufacturing of white blood cells and antibodies, which combat viruses and micro organism within the human physique. The graph seems to be rising for spirulina as demand seems to be rising exponentially.

Conventional sources of astaxanthin, a superb antioxidant, embody yeast, salmon, krill and shrimp; nevertheless, pure astaxanthin produced by Haematococcus pluvialis has a considerably larger antioxidant capability than artificial astaxanthin.

Beta-carotene is now extensively manufactured from Dunaliella salina and its consumption would meet present vitamin A necessities.

Hidden microalgae pearls

With sustainability considerations on the rise, intense analysis and growth actions are going down all over the world to establish doable microalgae-derived dietary dietary supplements.

Many species, together with Euglena gracilis, Porphyridium cruentum, T. chuiiand Phaeodactylum tricornutum has an untapped potential as a dietary complement supply. Apart from E. gracilisthe vitamins from most of those microalgae haven’t been accepted by regulatory authorities.

Microalgae: tomorrow's nutrition-driven future

E. gracilis has solely been in the marketplace for 45 years and doesn’t have a big market share. But it incorporates a number of vitamins, together with the polysaccharide paramylon beta-1,3-glucan, which is as distinctive as E. gracilis and is acknowledged as an immune cell receptor.

Nonetheless, it’s not digestible like dietary fiber and has a porous construction inside in order that it may take up extra substances within the human physique. Consequently, it has wonderful antioxidant, antiviral and free radical scavenging properties.

Phycoerythrin, a possible pure pigment extracted from P. cruentum, may very well be used as a colorant within the meals business. It additionally incorporates excessive ranges of lipids and PUFAs, however its precise dietary worth continues to be being researched.

Equally, different species equivalent to Odentella aurita, Thalassiosira weissflogii, Isochrysis galbana, Chromochloris zofingiensis and plenty of others are being investigated as potential business sources of area of interest dietary supplements.

Components of curiosity embody carotenoids, astaxanthin and fucoxanthin, amongst others, along with the usual omega fatty acids and chlorophylls that may be extracted.


Microalgae are a promising long-term supply of dietary substances as a result of their capability to offer a variety of important vitamins. Moreover, microalgae derivatives have been used as dietary dietary supplements for greater than a century.

Nonetheless, their dietary id has solely flourished in the marketplace within the final twenty years after being accepted by meals regulatory our bodies such because the US FDA (GRAS) and the EU EFSA.

Microalgae will not be but a part of the practical meals business as a result of restrictions imposed by related regulatory authorities. Nonetheless, these microalgae have monumental potential that has been restricted by security considerations concerning human consumption.

Sign up for your free email newsletter

With extra intensive analysis into making safer and extra sustainable dietary substances from microalgae, it’s only a matter of time earlier than they enter the mainstream dietary ingredient realm.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *