Ocean of functional food opportunities from marine biomaterials, say researchers

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nutrition

Lectins and other functional properties can be derived from algae, fungi, fish and crustaceans through bioprocessing, claim the researchers
Lectins and other functional properties can be derived from algae, fungi, fish and crustaceans through bioprocessing, claim the researchers
A scientific review has identified possibilities to create novel functional ingredients from bio-processed marine products.

The review published in the Food Science Biotechnology journal by Chen Zang et al.​ said that a host of functional health benefits could be exploited from “underutilised”​ marine foods sources.

Membrane bioreactor

Marine biomaterials are effectively any microorganism or life habitat in the ocean, such as algae, fish and crustaceans.

Researchers said that functional ingredients could be derived from these marine products by bio-processing techniques.

Bio-processing can transform these products through enzyme-mediated hydrolysis to derive functional benefits, they said.

Zang et al.​ said that the most effective bio-process was ultrafiltration through membrane bioreactor technology.

Through this technology, functional ingredients such as bioactive peptides and chitooligosaccharides can be obtained.

“The possibilities of designing new functional foods and nutraceuticals from marine products by ultrafiltration membrane bioreactor are promising,”​ said the researchers.

“Marine food processing by products like food proteins can be easily utilized for producing nutraceuticals and functional foods via membrane bio-processing,”​ they continued.

Some of the possibilities

The review touted some of the functional ingredient possibilities through marine product bio-processing.

It said lectins found in algae, fungi and marine vertebrates could be obtained via bioprocessing to create a functional food ingredient to prevent calcium deficiency.

Bringing out the short chains of amino acids found in certain marine animals via bioprocessing could produce bioactive peptides that could reduce the risk of heart disease, they added. Such marine animals include oysters, tuna and yellowfin sole.

The researchers said that chitooligosaccharides derivaties giving antioxidant, anticancer and antimicrobial benefits could also be achieved through bioprocessing of crustaceans and sea insects.

Other possibilities discussed included obtaining phlorotannins from algae and sulphated polysaccharides from seaweed. Both of these compounds have been thought to possess an array of functional health benefits in previous studies.

The research was funded by the Republic of Korea government.


Food Sci. Biotechnol. 21(3): 625-631 (2012)
DOI 10.1007/s10068-012-0081-6
‘Application of Marine Biomaterials for Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods’
Authors: Chen Zhang, Xifeng Li, and Se-kwon Kim

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