Macroalgal Proteins: A Review

Ronan O Brien, Maria Hayes, Gary Sheldrake, Brijesh Tiwari, Pamela Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Population growth is the driving change in the search for new, alternative sources of protein. Macroalgae (otherwise known as seaweeds) do not compete with other food sources for space and resources as they can be sustainably cultivated without the need for arable land. Macroalgae are significantly rich in protein and amino acid content compared to other plant-derived proteins. Herein, physical and chemical protein extraction methods as well as novel techniques including enzyme hydrolysis, microwave-assisted extraction and ultrasound sonication are discussed as strategies for protein extraction with this resource. The generation of high-value, economically
important ingredients such as bioactive peptides is explored as well as the application of macroalgal proteins in human foods and animal feed. These bioactive peptides that have been shown to inhibit enzymes such as renin, angiotensin-I-converting enzyme (ACE-1), cyclooxygenases (COX), α-amylase
and α-glucosidase associated with hypertensive, diabetic, and inflammation-related activities are explored. This paper discusses the significant uses of seaweeds, which range from utilising their anthelmintic and anti-methane properties in feed additives, to food techno-functional ingredients in
the formulation of human foods such as ice creams, to utilising their health beneficial ingredients to reduce high blood pressure and prevent inflammation. This information was collated following a review of 206 publications on the use of seaweeds as foods and feeds and processing methods to extract seaweed proteins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number571
Issue number4
Early online date16 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 16 Feb 2022


  • ACE-1 inhibition
  • bioavailability
  • cyclooxygenase enzymes
  • digestibility
  • dipeptidyl peptidase IV
  • extraction methods
  • health
  • peptides
  • seaweed
  • techno-functional ingredients


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