Nutrition

Microalgal biomass has been used as food and feed supplements due to its potential to enhance the nutri tional value of conventional food and to act as a probiotic agent. It contains proteins, carbohydrates, PUFAs, raw fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc. Today, micro algal biomass, mostly of Chlorella and Spirulina, is marketed as health food and as a protein source in the form of tablets, capsules, and liquids. The annual micro algal market is of thousands of tons. Microalgal biomass is incorporated into pasta, snacks, drinks, and beverages as a nutritious supplement or colorant. Plant proteins are a source of essential amino acids that humans and ani mals cannot biosynthesize (e.g., methionine, lysine, and tryptophan).

Various unsaturated fatty acids in microalgal biomass are important as dietary supplements to prevent various diseases (e.g., high plasma cholesterol, hypertension, etc.) and to boost the immune system. Microalgal biomass also contains all the important vitamins, especially the B1, B2, and C vitamins and nicotinic acid. The variety of carotenoids is greater than in higher plants - ft carotene, lutein, violaxanthin, zeaxanthin, neoxanthin, etc. Among them, the oxygenated xanthophylls, astaxanthin and canthaxanthin, are massively used both as colorants and antioxidants in aquacultures (fish and Crustacea).

Microalgal biomass is also widely used as a feed supple ment (1-3%) for animals, poultry, pigs, goats, ornamental fish, and birds to improve the quality of their products, vitality, health resistance, and color of hair and skin.

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