J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2006, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (9): -.DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2006.00333.x

• Research Articles •    

Nutritional Composition and Assessment of Gracilaria lemaneiformis Bory

Xue Wen, Changlian Peng, Houcheng Zhou, Zhifang Lin, Guizhu Lin,Shaowei Chen and Ping Li   

Abstract: The chemical composition, mineral elements, vitamins, free fatty acids and amino acid content of the edible red alga Gracilaria lemaneiformis Bory, grown in the sea near Nan’ao island, Guangdong Province, were analyzed in the present study. Gracilaria lemaneiformis Bory showed a total sugar content of 14.65%. The protein content was 21%, of which approximately 41% was determined to be essential amino acids (EAA). The major amino acid components were glutamic acid, leucine, arginine, and alanine. Of the EAA assayed, methionine and cysteine appeared to be the most limiting amino acids compared with the EAA pattern provided by Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. The total lipids content was 0.87% and comprised a high composition of unsaturated fatty acids (61%), mainly as linoleic acid and oleic acid, and a little amount of polyunsaturated fatty acid; palmitic acid was the main component (39%) of saturated acids. Relatively high levels of vitamin C, iodine, phosphorus, and zinc were also present in G. lemaneiformis. The nutritional composition between G. lemaneiformis and Nostoc flagelliforme, a rare alga that is widely eaten in Chinese society, was compared. The results suggest that N. flagelliforme can be substituted for by G. lemaneiformis, not only because of their similar shape, but also because of their approximate nutritional composition. Gracilaria lemaneiformis may possibly serve as a potential healthy food in human diets in the future.(*Author for correspondence. Tel: +86 (0)20 3725 2995; E-mail: pengchl@scib.ac.cn)

Key words: amino acids, fatty acids, Gracilaria lemaneiformis, mineral elements, protein, vitamins.

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