Chemical characterization of 21 species of marine macroalgae common in Norwegian waters: benefits of and limitations to their potential use in food and feed
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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BACKGROUND: In the past few years, much effort has been invested into developing a new blue economy based on harvesting, cultivating and processing marine macroalgae in Norway. Macroalgae have high potential for a wide range of applications, e.g. as source of pharmaceuticals, production of biofuels or as food and feed. However, data on the chemical composition of macroalgae from Norwegian waters are scant. This study was designed to characterize the chemical composition of 21 algal species. Both macro- and micronutrients were analysed. Concentrations of heavy metals and the metalloid arsenic in the algae were also quantified. RESULTS: The results confirm that marine macroalgae contain nutrients which are relevant for both human and animal nutrition, the concentrations whereof are highly dependent on species. Although heavy metals and arsenic were detected in the algae studied, concentrations were mostly below maximum allowed levels set by food and feed legislation in the EU. CONCLUSION: This study provides chemical data on a wide range of algal species covering the three taxonomic groups (brown, red and green algae) and discusses both benefits of and potential limitations to their use for food and feed purposes.