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Source: Pertanika Journal
Extracting bioactive compounds from marine microalgae

Selangor, Malaysia, Dec 23, 2014 - (ACN Newswire) - Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms that produce high value compounds considered essential for human health, including polyunsatured fatty acids (e.g., omega-3s like EPA and DHA), various pigments (chlorophyll and carotenoids), and vitamins. Although fish have traditionally been our principal dietary source of EPA and DHA, declining marine fish stocks, the unpleasant odour of fish oil, and other disadvantages, have prompted a search for alternative sources of these nutrients.

In a recent study, published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, S. P. Loh and S. Lee of the Universiti Putra Malaysia evaluated various methods for extracting fatty acids and carotenoids from two microalgae species: Chaetoceros gracillis, a diatom, and Nannochloropsis occulata, a unicellular green alga. Both species play an important role in the food chain, while N. occulata is also widely cultivated for fish hatcheries and shrimp farms.

No standard extraction methods currently exist for determining the fatty acid or carotenoid content of microalgae. Therefore, the researchers selected different extraction methods based on these criteria: maximum extraction efficiency, ease of handling, and use of solvents of low toxicity.

Overall, the study found that high amounts of fatty acids and carotenoids could be obtained from both microalgae. However, for both fatty acid and carotenoid extration, one extraction method was superior in N. occulata while another method yielded the best results in C. gracillis. The researchers also found that N. occulata had higher amounts of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, while C. gracillis was particularly high in palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid levels. In addition, there were significantly higher carotenoid levels in N. occulata compared to C. gracillis.

For more information about this research, please contact:
S. P. Loh
Department of Nutrition and Dietetics
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Universiti Putra Malaysia
3400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
Email: sploh@upm.edu.my
Tel: +603 8947 2432; Mobile: +6012 391 2654

About Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS)

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS) is published by Universiti Putra Malaysia in English and is open to authors around the world regardless of nationality. The journal is published four times a year in February, May, August and November. Other Pertanika series include Pertanika Journal of Science & Technology (JST), and Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities (JSSH).

JTAS aims to provide a forum for high quality research related to tropical agricultural research. Areas relevant to the scope of the journal include: agricultural biotechnology, biochemistry, biology, ecology, fisheries, forestry, food sciences, entomology, genetics, microbiology, pathology and management, physiology, plant and animal sciences, production of plants and animals of economic importance, and veterinary medicine. The journal publishes original academic articles dealing with research on issues of worldwide relevance.

Website: http://www.pertanika.upm.edu.my/

For more information about the journal, contact:
The Chief Executive Editor (UPM Journals)
Head, Journal Division, UPM Press
Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor (R&I)
IDEA Tower 2, UPM-MDTC Technology Centre
Universiti Putra Malaysia
43400 Serdang, Selangor
Malaysia.
Phone: +603 8947 1622 | +6016 217 4050
Email: nayan@upm.my


Press release distributed by ResearchSEA for Pertanika Journal.


Dec 23, 2014 18:00 HKT/SGT
Topic: Research and development
Sectors: Science & Research
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