The production of rancid flavors and odors due to oxidative stress in foods can lead to a reduction in the sensory attributes, nutritional quality and food safety. Due to consumer demands, interest has been generated in searching plant products for natural “green” additives. Extracts from macroalgae or seaweeds are rich in polyphenolic compounds which have well documented antioxidant properties. They also have antimicrobial activities against major food spoilage and food pathogenic micro-organisms. Thus, possibility of seaweeds being added to foods as a source of antioxidant and antimicrobial is the main focus of this communication. In addition, seaweeds are also rich in dietary minerals specially sodium, potassium, iodine and fibers. Another potential area where the use of seaweed is gaining importance is regarding their addition for improving the textural properties of food products which is also extensively reviewed in this paper.
The trend towards the use of “natural green” plant extracts in various food and beverages in the food industry is gaining momentum. Seaweed, being a rich source of structurally diverse bioactive compounds with valuable nutraceutical properties, can be used as an ingredient to supplement food with functional compounds. Interest in the application of such compounds as natural antioxidants, antimicrobials or texturing agents in different food products is greater than ever. The addition of seaweeds or their extracts to food products will reduce the utilization of chemical preservatives, which will fulfill the industry as well as consumer demands for “green” products. In addition, the current status and the future projections in the functional effects of seaweeds as a means to improve the fiber content and reduce the salt content of food products, which will be of significant importance to the meat industry, is also discussed.
ARC Future Fellow in Marine Ecology, University of Western Australia
Senior Lecturer, Environment & Innovation, University of Melbourne
Professorial fellow, Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne
Senior Principal Research Scientist - Oceans and Atmosphere, CSIRO
Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO
Senior Lecturer in marine ecology, UNSW
Research Fellow in Marine Ecology, Marine Biological Association
Marie Curie Fellow at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Curtin University
Professor, Ecology, University of Adelaide
Professor, University of Tasmania
Director of SIMS and Co-director of CMB, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW
Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex
Lecturer in Ocean Biogeochemistry, The Open University
Professor in Palaebiology, University of Bristol