Short term decreases in salinity, combined with the right choice of species, can allow for a more nutritious sea lettuce lipid profile
Monteiro, João P.
Domingues, M. Rosário
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The sea lettuce Ulva spp is becoming an increasingly important macroalgae for aquaculture. Sea lettuce can be grown on- and off-shore, displays high growth rates, and its biomass possesses attractive nutritional benefits. Among those are their fatty acids (FA) and lipid profiles, rich in omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs) as well as bioactive lipids. In order to tailor those properties for food applications, we explored the use of a short-term (seven days) low salinity treatment to modulate the lipid profile of two species of Ulva. We found large quantitative differences between species, and while a low-salinity treatment negatively affected growth, Ulva australis’ lipid profile was positively impacted. Total FA particularly ɷ-3 PUFAs, increased three-fold, as well as most polar lipid species including known bioactive compounds. This study highlights profound differences between species and describes a simple method to increase the nutritional properties of Ulva biomass for food applications.
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