IMR Press / FBE / Volume 14 / Issue 4 / DOI: 10.31083/j.fbe1404026
Open Access Original Research
Proximate Composition, Physicochemical and Microbiological Characterization of Edible Seaweeds Available in the Portuguese Market
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1 Associate Laboratory i4HB, Institute for Health and Bioeconomy, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisboa, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
2 UCIBIO-REQUIMTE, Department of Chemistry, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisboa, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
3 LAQV-REQUIMTE, Department of Chemistry, NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisboa, Quinta da Torre, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
4 Division of Aquaculture, Seafood Upgrading and Bioprospection, Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, I.P. (IPMA), 1495-006 Lisboa, Portugal
5 Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Territory, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, School of Agriculture, University of Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, 1349-017 Lisboa, Portugal
*Correspondence: (Bruno Miguel Campos); (Mário Sousa Diniz)
Academic Editor: Leonel Pereira
Front. Biosci. (Elite Ed) 2022, 14(4), 26;
Submitted: 22 June 2022 | Revised: 15 July 2022 | Accepted: 26 July 2022 | Published: 28 September 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seaweed Applications in Food and Biotechnology)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: The aim of this work was the study of the proximate composition and profile of fatty acids, minerals, and some microbiological aspects of four edible seaweed species (Chondrus crispus, Palmaria palmata, Porphyra sp., and Ulva sp.) available in the Portuguese market for food consumption, and produced in a national Integrated Multi-Trophic System (IMTA). Methods: Moisture, ash, and total lipids were determined gravimetrically. Crude protein was analysed by Duma’s combustion procedures. The total carbohydrate content was assayed by the phenol/sulphuric acid method. The assessment of the fatty acids methyl esters (FAMEs) was determined through GC-MS. Characterization of elemental analysis was performed by ICP-AES. Different standard microbiological methods were applied for microorganisms. Statistics were performed using the non-parametric Mann–Whitney U test to assess significant differences between samples. Results: Lipid contents (n = 3) were very low (1.6–2.3%), particularly in Palmaria palmata, and Chondrus crispus (1.6–1.7%). The protein content (n = 4) varied from 14.4% in P. palmata to 23.7% in Porphyra sp. Carbohydrates (n = 3) were the major constituent of most seaweeds (31–34%), except in Porphyra sp., with higher content in proteins than carbohydrates. Regarding the fatty acid content (n = 4), in general, saturated fatty acids (SFAs) were the most abundant followed by polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Among macro and trace elements (n = 3), Chondrus crispus shows the highest average content in Zn (71.1 mg kg - 1 D.W.), Palmaria palmata the highest average content in K (124.8 g kg - 1 D.W.), Porphyra sp. the highest average content in P (2.1 g kg - 1 D.W.), and Ulva sp. the highest average content of Ca (5.5 g kg - 1 D.W.), Mg (55.8 g kg - 1 D.W.), and Fe (336.3 mg kg - 1 D.W.). In general, Na and K were the most abundant elements among analysed seaweed. Additionally, the microbiological results (n = 4) comply with the Portuguese guidelines (subgroup 2D) on the application of general principles of food hygiene in ready-to-eat foods. Conclusions: Overall, the results highlight the potential of using these seaweeds as an alternative and sustainable source of elements and bioactive compounds to produce enriched food products with a beneficial potential for human nutrition.

Edible seaweed species
proximal composition
chemical analysis
microbial load
Graphic Abstract

Graphic Abstract. Characterization of edible seaweeds.

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MAR-01.03.01-FEAMP-0016 – Alga4Food/Alga4food project
Fig. 1.
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