ALGAE IN FOOD
- Algae have a rich chemical composition.
- Bioactive substances are also present in algae
- Algae are used in various fields of industry.
- It has been used as human food for many years.
- Algae have high nutritional value so they can be marketed as” functional foods” or “nutraceuticals”.
- Food sources from algae benefit our health way more than the role of basic nutrition.
LIST OF ALGAE USED AS HUMAN FOOD
- Algae are a major source of food to small fishes, aquatic amphibians.
- Man is dependent on fishes to supplement the diet, hence, the algae provide an indirect source for human food.
- More than a hundred species of algae provide direct food to human beings.
- It is high in protein.
- It contains 45% protein, 20% fat, 20% carbohydrate, 5% fibre, and 10% minerals and vitamins in its dry weight.
- It contains dietary nucleic acids at the highest level. Hence, it is used as diet food.
- These foods provide super nutrition, rejuvenate, heal, and help in creating optimum health.
PORPHYRA (A RED ALGA)
- It contains 30-35% proteins, 40-45% carbohydrates and even a very high percentage of vitamins.
- It is used in the production of sea vegetable products such. Eg-“amanori” in Japan
- This alga is eaten together with rice.
- It is also traditionally used to produce edible sea vegetables on the Irish Sea coast.
DULSE (Palmaria palmata)
- Dulse is said to be a good source of minerals.
- Very high in iron and contains all the trace elements required in human nutrition.
- Vitamin content is also much higher.
- The protein content is high i.e. more than 20%.
- The dried form of dulse is served as a salty cocktail snack in bars.
LAMAINARIA (A Brown Alga)
- Nutritional value – 10% protein, 2% fat, and useful amounts of minerals and vitamins.
- Food product are “Kombu” or “Konbu”.
NOSTOC (Blue-green Algae)
- Containing protein and vitamin C.
- Consumed and cultivated as a foodstuff in Asia.
ULVA (a green alga)
- Also called sea lettuce.
- Used as an enhancer for warm dishes like rice, soups, and salads.
- The protein content is high.
DISADVANTAGES OF EATING ALGAE
- Blue-green algae produce harmful toxins.
- Some algae can lead to gastroenteritis when consumed as a drink.
- Few algal toxins may affect the liver or nervous system.
- Other types of algae can cause some potential side effects like goitre, skin reactions.
- Pregnant women should avoid consuming brown algae. It may dilate the cervical canal.