Volume 26, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 451-463
Botany and Plant Science, School of Natural Sciences, Ryan Institute for Environmental, Marine and Energy Research, National University of Ireland Galway, Galway, Ireland
Due to the established health benefits of omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA), there is a globally increasing demand for alternative natural resources with appropriate fatty acid profiles. To assess the suitability of macroalgae as a source, 16 species (nine Phaeophyceae, five Rhodophyta and two Chlorophyta) were collected at two seasons (June and November) from the Irishwest Coast, and total fatty acid contents and specific profiles were determined. Total fatty acid contents, expressed per percentage of dry weight, ranged from 6.4 % ± 0.3 (Pelvetia canaliculata, Phaeophyceae) to 0.8 % ± 0.2 (Porphyra dioica, Rhodophyta). Most common fatty acids were palmitic (16:0), oleic (OLE, 18:1 n-9), α-linolenic (ALA, 18:3 n-3), arachidonic (ARA, 20:4 n-6) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA, 20:5 n-3) acids. Fatty acid profiles were highly variable between and within algal groups; red and brown seaweeds were generally richer in LC-PUFA (e.g. 20:4 n-6 and 20:5 n-3), while high levels of saturated fatty acids such as palmitic acid (16:0) were observed in green species. Most omega-3 PUFA-rich species investigated had a omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio close to 1, which is favourable for human health. The two seasonal sampling times revealed significant differences in total fatty acid and 20:5 n-3 (EPA) contents, with changes depending on species, thus implying varying suitability as potential target species for EPA production. At both times of the year, Palmaria palmata was identified as most promising species as a source of 20:5 n-3 (EPA) amongst all species investigated, with levels ranging from 0.44 to 0.58 % of dry weight in June and November, respectively. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.
Bioactives; EPA; Fatty acid profiles; LC-PUFA; Macroalgae; Seasonal variability