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Algae, seaweeds emerge as alternate protein sources

Posted:  Monday, April 04, 2016

Alternative sea foods have plenty of protein! The growing demand for dietary protein has led to a search for novel sources of protein. Researchers are now focussing on alternate protein-rich foods that have emerged from the sea.

The following lesser known but nutrient rich protein alternatives were discussed by Mr. Toni Tarver in the March issue of Food Technology.

Algae-Derived Proteins There are two forms of algae– macroalgae and microalgae. The protein content of macroalgae varies from 3% to 50%, while that of microalgae may range up to 70%. Both types of algae are good sources of vitamins A, C, E, folate, calcium, iodine, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, and other nutrients.

Super Seaweeds Red seaweeds have the highest amount of protein. The greatest protein content is found in red species nori, which may contain up to 50% protein by weight. The amino acid profile of nori is comparable to that of peas and beans. It is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin B12.

Duckweed Duckweed contains up to 45% protein; this ranks among the highest protein levels in the plant kingdom. Duckweeds are not only a food source for birds and fish but also have been consumed by Asians and Africans.

As the demand for protein increases, more food alternatives are required to satisfy the protein needs . Alternative protein sources that best cater to the dietary requirements need to be widely distributed and also easily available.

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