Nutritional evaluation of Australian microalgae as potential human health supplements

PLoS One. 2015 Feb 27;10(2):e0118985. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0118985. eCollection 2015.


This study investigated the biochemical suitability of Australian native microalgal species Scenedesmus sp., Nannochloropsis sp., Dunaliella sp., and a chlorophytic polyculture as nutritional supplements for human health. The four microalgal cultures were harvested during exponential growth, lyophilized, and analysed for proximate composition (moisture, ash, lipid, carbohydrates, and protein), pigments, and amino acid and fatty acid profiles. The resulting nutritional value, based on biochemical composition, was compared to commercial Spirulina and Chlorella products. The Australian native microalgae exhibited similar, and in several cases superior, organic nutritional properties relative to the assessed commercial products, with biochemical profiles rich in high-quality protein, nutritious polyunsaturated fats (such as α-linolenic acid, arachidonic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid), and antioxidant pigments. These findings indicate that the microalgae assessed have great potential as multi-nutrient human health supplements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / analysis
  • Antioxidants / analysis
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Fatty Acids / analysis
  • Microalgae / chemistry*
  • Nutritive Value*


  • Amino Acids
  • Antioxidants
  • Fatty Acids

Grants and funding

This research was part of the Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre federal funding scheme which was co-funded by MBD Energy Ltd. Dr. Arnold Mangott, a co-author of this work, is employed by MBD Energy Ltd., Melbourne, Australia. MBD Energy Ltd. provided support in the form of salary for author AM, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific role of this author is articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.