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Benefits of Seaweed in Food and Drink

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Nutrition
Wordcount: 1841 words Published: 12th May 2021

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Seaweed found in both animal and human food


Using seaweed in food and drink production is becoming a very popular trend in todays world. Consumers are very health conscious about what they eat or drink now and the benefits of seaweed are significant, from the latest scientific studies. Studies have showed their health benefits either when they are consumed directly or after minor pre-processing as dietary supplements (Mikami & Hosokawa, 2013; Yende, Harle, & Chaugule,2014). Again, studies have showed edible seaweeds are a good source of antioxidants, dietary fibers, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, essential amino acids, phytochemicals, and minerals (Roohinejad al., 2011). The potential of using seaweed powder and extracts against lipid oxidation in foods and oxidative stress in target tissues has been widely studied. Therefore, the food industry is still the main market for the seaweed hydrocolloids where they are used as texturing agents and stabilizers (Bixler&Porse, 2011). Seaweed polysaccharides are a potential source of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. These compounds exhibit higher water holding capacity than cellulosic (insoluble) fibers. Soluble dietary fibers demonstrate the ability to increase viscosity, form gels and/oractas emulsifiers (Elleuchet al., 2011).

Figure 1: Application of seaweed and seaweed extract to develop new food product (Roohinejad al., 2011).

Food products being tested with Seaweed added:

Looking at the figure 1 there are many products being tested such as:

Meat products – improving the image of meat is all in the preparation of the meat-based functional foods is being seen as an opportunity to interact with consumer needs and update the nutritional and dietary goals needed (Jiménez-Colmenero, 2007).

Pork products - The anti-oxidative potential of laminarin (L), fucoidan (F), and an L/F seaweed extract was examined in pork homogenates and in horse heart oxymyoglobin (Moroney, O'Grady, Lordan, Stanton, & Kerry, 2015). The results of this study demonstrated the feasibility of using brown seaweed Laminaria digitate ((Hudson) J.V·Lamouroux) extracts containing fucoidan to increase the antioxidant activity of functional cooked meat products and improving the human antioxidant defence systems (Moroney, O'Grady, Lordan, Stanton,& Kerry, 2015).

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Baked products - Noodles are a famous traditional food around the world, which is widely consumed in south Asian countries. Textural properties (e.g. firmness, elasticity, and resistance to cooking loss) are the most critical characteristics of cooked noodles that need to be considered (Bhattacharya, Zee, & Corke, 1999). Up to now, several studies have been conducted to improve the textural properties of noodles using seaweed. Higher water absorption by seaweeds resulted in softer and spongier textural intensities of the noodles. The effect of seaweeds and cutlet fish paste on improving the qualities of the Chinese fresh noodles was demonstrated in this study (Chang, Chen, & Hu, 2011). Another study was conducted to evaluate the effect of the incorporation of green seaweed (M. nitidum) powder at different concentrations (e.g. 4%, 6%, and 8%) on the texture and quality properties of Chinese fresh egg noodles (Chang&Wu,2008).Incorporation of seaweed powder was reported to enhance the crude fiber contents of raw fresh noodles. Due to the water absorption during cooking of the seaweed, higher cooking yields were observed in the noodles. Higher water absorption by the seaweed resulted in softer and spongier textural intensities in the noodles.

Other products include chicken, seafood products. Also dairy, vegetables, fruits and pasta.

Animal Feed:

The global seaweed animal feed (SAF) market is worth $11.34 billion annually and accounted for roughly 2.5% of the global animal feeds market in 2016.Conservative estimates of the current value of the seaweed industry are US $10.1–16.1 billion, with projections of market growth to reach US $17.6 billion by 2021 (White and Wilson, 2015; Markets and markets, 2016). Seaweed animal feed can play an important role in the diet of livestock as it is rich in amino acids, trace elements, antioxidants, and vitamins, while also assisting in nutrient absorption (Rey-Crespo et al., 2014). The brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (Linnaeus) Le Jolis is the main algal species used for the production of livestock feed in Europe and North America and is exported globally to markets in Asia, Australia and South America (Makkar et al., 2015; Mac Monagail et al., 2017). The benefits of seaweed inclusion in the animal diet are well documented (Brownetal., 2014). However, the production of seaweeds suitable for animal feeds are not without issues; for instance, the uptake of metals from the surrounding water is a phenomenon characteristic of seaweeds (Utomo et al., 2016) and A. nodosum has been widely used as a biomonitor of metal contamination in the marine environment (Morrison et al., 2008). Brown seaweeds, in particular, have a tremendous capacity to accumulate As, (As being enriched in Laminaria species by a factor 200–500 compared with As, in terrestrial plant material) (Morrison et al., 2008; Ratcliff et al., 2016). Weathering of As-containing rocks liberates inorganic forms of As, namely arsenic trioxide, arsenite, and arsenate, and is considered a major natural source of As, distribution in the ocean (Ryan et al., 2015). The most common inorganic arsenic (AsInorg) species in seawater is arsenate, with typical levels of 1.5μgL−1 found (range: 1–2μgL−1) (Suyhmedley and Kinniburgh, 2002).

Figure 2: Model schematic used to estimate the daily intake of arsenic from livestock produce consumption


Overall, seaweed is a very important component in both animal and human food. It has a lot of benefits and is a growing trend in todays world. Seaweed in human food is an excellent source of natural antioxidants, antimicrobials, and hydrocolloid compounds which are all good for the body. While seaweed in animal feed makes it full of Probiotics, prebiotics, and symbiotic which is great for gut health.


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