Seaweed (macroalgae) is considered as a sustainable bioresource rich in high-quality nutrients such as protein. Seaweed protein can be used as an alternative to other protein sources. Furthermore, these proteins are natural reservoirs of bioactive peptides (BAPs) associated with various health benefits such as antioxidant, antihypertensive, and antidiabetic activities. However, seaweed-derived BAPs remain underexploited due to challenges that arise during protein extraction from algal biomass. Coupled with this, limited proteomic information exists regarding certain seaweed species. This review highlights the current state of the art of seaweed protein extraction techniques, e.g., liquid, ultrasound, microwave, pulsed electric field, and high hydrostatic pressure assisted extraction. The review also focuses on the enzymatic hydrolysis of seaweed proteins and characterization of the resultant hydrolysates/peptides using electrophoretic and chromatographic techniques. This includes reference to methods employed for separation, fractionation, and purification of seaweed BAPs, as well as the methodologies used for identification, e.g., analysis by mass spectrometry. Furthermore, a bioinformatics or in silico approach to aid discovery of seaweed BAPs is discussed herein. Based on the information available to date, it is suggested that further research is required in this area for the development of seaweed BAPs for nutraceutical applications.
Keywords: identification; peptides; protein extraction; purification; seaweed.
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