Antioxidant properties and lipid composition of selected microalgae
Marine and freshwater microalgae were evaluated for their antioxidant properties and lipid composition. Both lipophilic (L) and hydrophilic (H) oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) values were measured. Among the tested microalgae, the marine microalga Nannochloropsis granulata showed the highest total ORAC value at 6948 μmol TE (100 g)−1, followed by the freshwater species Neochloris oleoabundans at 4508 μmol TE (100 g)−1 and Scenedesmus obliquus at 4406 μmol TE (100 g)−1 of algal biomass. Freeze-dried algal biomass was also examined for lipid content by the Folch method. Lipid content ranged from 30.9 to 49.3% and linear regression analysis revealed a statistically significant correlation between the lipid content and the ORAC values. Tested microalgae showed moderate and dose-dependent DPPH radical scavenging activity. The total phenol assay shows that marine microalga Tetraselmis chui had the highest phenolic content at 57.5 μmol GAE g−1 and N. oleoabundans had the lowest at 26.6 μmol GAE g−1 of MeOH extract. A statistically significant correlation was detected between DPPH radical scavenging activity and the phenolic content. Fatty acid analysis revealed that polyunsaturated fatty acids constituted > 45% of the total fatty acid content in N. oleoabundans, Phaeodactylum tricornutum, Porphyridium aerugineum, S. obliquus, and Scenedesmus sp. Total carotenoid concentration ranged from 1.1 to 29.5 mg g−1 of dry algal biomass. Lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene are common carotenoids found in most of the algae tested. P. tricornutum contains significant amount of fucoxanthin at 24.3 mg g−1 algal biomass. These carotenoids also contributed to the overall antioxidative activity of microalgae.
KeywordsMicroalgae ORAC Total phenolic DPPH radical Fatty acids Carotenoids
The authors are thankful to all NRC colleagues involved in algal biomass production which was used for this study. This is NRC publication no. 56282.
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