[India] At a time when the use of seaweeds as nutrient supplements is catching up as a trend, a recent study conducted by the ICAR-Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (ICAR-CIFT) appears to have opened a vista for the utilisation of marine algae as potential functional ingredients in food processing industry.
The CIFT scientists and researchers who conducted a study on a group of aquatic algae procured off Rameswaram coast in Tamil Nadu say that the seaweeds rich in nutrients can be a part of the daily food. “Certain algae those thrive in the rocky intertidal and subtidal regions at a certain depth in low sunlight environment are low in calorie, but very rich in vitamin, protein and other bioactive compounds.
Though seaweeds are hardly used as food in India, they are very popular in China, Japan and Korea,” says Jesmi Debbarma, a scientist of CIFT, Vizag. A group of ICAR-CIFT scientists who did a research for two years have found that the seaweed extracts can be used as nutrient supplements in soups, noodles and other oriental cuisines. During the research, they procured seaweeds like Sargassum wightii (brown seaweed), Ulva lactuca (sea lettuce ) and Gracillaria edulis (red algae) and optimised the extraction of dietary fibre before incorporating them to fish sausage.
The sausage fortified with up to 3 percent of dietary fibre from Gracillaria edulis and Sargassum wightii, and 1 percent from Ulva lactuca, ensuring a better consumer acceptability. “A potential source of dietary fibre, seaweeds can be effectively used to fortify fish sausages. We also prepared noodles, adding puree prepared from Ulva lactuca and it increased the crude fibre content of the noodles which were well accepted by the consumers. Previous studies also have indicated that these dietary fibres can be used as potential functional ingredients in food processing,” says Jesmi Debbarma.
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