Green extraction of proteins, umami and other free amino acids from brown macroalgae Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus

J Appl Phycol. 2021;33(6):4083-4091. doi: 10.1007/s10811-021-02569-y. Epub 2021 Aug 24.


Seaweeds are a valuable potential source of protein, as well as free amino acids (FAAs) with umami flavour which are in high demand by the food industry. The most commonly used flavouring agents in the food industry are chemically synthesised and therefore are subject to concerns regarding their safety and associated consumer resistance. This study focuses on the effects of extraction time (1 and 2 h) and solvents (0.1 M HCl, 1% citric acid and deionised water) on the extraction of protein and FAAs including umami FAAs from Irish brown seaweeds (Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus). Extraction yields were influenced by both the extraction solvent and time, and also varied according to the seaweed used. Both seaweeds investigated were found to be good sources of protein, FAAs including umami FAAs, demonstrating potential application as flavouring agents in the food industry. Overall, the use of green solvents (deionised water and citric acid) resulted in higher recoveries of compounds compared to HCl. The results of this study will facilitate the use of more sustainable solvents in industry for the extraction of proteins and flavouring agents from seaweed.

Keywords: Algae; Flavour industry; Flavouring agents; Free amino acids; Green solvents; Phaeophyta; Umami.