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In vitro determination of digestible and unavailable protein in edible seaweeds

Goni, Isabel, Gudiel-Urbano, Montserrat, Saura-Calixto, Fulgencio
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2002 v.82 no.15 pp. 1850-1854
Chondrus crispus, Fucus vesiculosus, Laminaria, Porphyra, Undaria pinnatifida, animal nutrition, dietary protein, digestible protein, edible seaweed, fermentation, large intestine, macroalgae, pepsin, protein content, proteins, rats, small intestine
Edible seaweeds are considered a complementary source of food protein for human and animal nutrition. The physiological effects of seaweed protein depend on the degree of enzymatic digestion of protein in the small intestine and bacterial fermentation in the large intestine. The objective of this work was to estimate total, digestible, fermentable and unavailable protein in some red and brown seaweeds. Brown seaweeds Fucus vesiculosus, Laminaria digitata and Undaria pinnatifida and red seaweeds Chondrus crispus and Porphyra tenera were treated with pepsin and pancreatin to separate digestible protein. Residues containing indigestible protein were inoculated for 24 h with rat caecal droppings, and protein contents were evaluated in the non-fermented residue. Protein content in the seaweeds ranged from 8.9 to 25% of dry matter. Digestible protein was the major protein fraction (69%) only in P tenera; in the other seaweeds, this fraction ranged from 15 to 45%. Significant amounts of unavailable protein were found in all samples (2–24%). The distribution of total protein among the three fractions, ie digestible, fermentable and unavailable protein, could yield information about the physiological and metabolic consequences of the intake of seaweed proteins.