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Comparison of microalgal biomasses as functional food ingredients: Focus on the composition of cell wall related polysaccharides

Tom M.M. Bernaerts, Lore Gheysen, Clare Kyomugasho, Zahra Jamsazzadeh Kermani, Stéphanie Vandionant, Imogen Foubert, Marc E. Hendrickx, Ann M. Van Loey
Algal research 2018 v.32 pp. 150-161
Arthrospira platensis, Chlorella vulgaris, Nannochloropsis, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Porphyridium cruentum, Schizochytrium, Tetraselmis chuii, biomass, cell walls, functional foods, ingredients, lipids, microalgae, monosaccharides, polysaccharides, proteins, sulfates, uronic acids
Microalgae are rich in several nutritional and health-beneficial components, showing great potential as functional food ingredients. To this extent, knowledge of the biomass composition is essential in the selection of suitable microalgae species for specific food applications. Surprisingly, although cell wall polysaccharides are generally reported to play a role in functionality, limited attention has been given to the cell wall related polysaccharides of microalgae so far. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize dry biomasses of ten microalgae species with potential as functional food ingredients, with a particular focus on the composition of cell wall related polysaccharides. The investigated species were Arthrospira platensis, Chlorella vulgaris, Diacronema lutheri, Tisochrysis lutea, Nannochloropsis sp., Odontella aurita, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Porphyridium cruentum, Schizochytrium sp. and Tetraselmis chuii. Lipids, proteins and ash made up a large fraction of the biomasses, except for the freshwater algae C. vulgaris and A. platensis which were mainly composed of proteins and polysaccharides. Generally, low amounts of storage polysaccharides (2–8%) were observed in the investigated microalgae species, while extracellular polymeric substances were only present in P. cruentum, O. aurita, C. vulgaris and A. platensis. Cell wall polysaccharides contributed approximately 10% of the biomass and were composed of heteropolysaccharides, showing at least five different monosaccharides. Moreover, the presence of uronic acids and sulfate groups provides anionic characteristics to the cell wall related polysaccharides of several microalgae. As a result, these polysaccharides show potential to display interesting functionalities as bioactive or technological substances.