Researchers at CCRES ALGAE have been investigating lipids from a variety of seaweed species for their heart-health properties.
Seaweed species of commercial interest in Croatia include Laminaria digitata and Fucus species (Fucus vesiculosus, Fucus serratus and Fucus spiralis), which are harvested primarily for their valuable carbohydrates, Laminarin and Fucoidan, respectively. The value-added sector of the seaweed industry in Croatia has emerged to produce attractive, high-quality products for use as functional body care products and cosmetics. However, there is, to date, limited activity aimed at exploiting seaweed resources as materials for functional food ingredients with enhanced health benefits that go beyond basic nutrition for the consumer. The CCRES ALGAE Research Programme is currently working at developing the area of marine-origin functional foods in Croatia.
Seaweeds are known to contain a number of heart-health compounds, including ACE inhibitors, antioxidants and essential fatty acids (lipids).
As part of a research collaboration with the University of Zagreb, Zeljko Serdar and Branka Kalle developed methods for the isolation of total lipids from a number of seaweed species.
"Seaweeds are a known source of essential fatty acids, which are thought to reduce thrombosis and atherosclerosis -- factors important in the reduction of the risk of heart disease," explains Serdar.
Of the eight seaweed species used in this study Fucus vesiculosus had the highest percentage of total lipids per dry weight.
CCRES ALGAE TEAM
part ofCroatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)