Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 1311–1332 | Cite as

Combined effects of seasonal variation and drying methods on the physicochemical properties and antioxidant activity of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima)

  • Praveen Kumar Sappati
  • Balunkeswar NayakEmail author
  • G. Peter VanWalsum
  • Owen Thomas Mulrey


Sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima), a marine macroalga, is a rich source of fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. However, investigations on the effects of seasonal variation and the drying methods employed on the kelp composition and quality attributes are limited. In this study, the effects of seasonal variation and different drying methods (sun drying, freeze drying) and conditions (temperature, humidity) employed in a heat pump-based drying system on the physicochemical properties, phenolic activity, and antioxidant capacity of S. latissima grown in Maine, USA, were studied. Fresh sugar kelp samples were dried using sun drying, freeze drying, and heat pump-based drying systems at air temperatures of 30, 50, and 70 °C and relative air humidity levels of 25 and 50%. Seasonal variations in kelp harvest (i.e., early May and end of June) have significant effect (p < 0.05) on the proximate composition. Significant effects of the drying methods (p < 0.05) were also observed in the water and oil holding capacities (WHC and OHC), with the highest OHC and the lowest WHC exhibited in freeze dried sugar kelp. At lower drying humidity of 25%, the samples exhibited higher WHC and OHC as compared to higher humidity of 50%. Compared to the fresh kelp, irrespective of the drying method, the total phenolic content (TPC), antioxidant activity, and vitamin C content were observed to decrease by 5–10-fold. Overall, drying at lower temperature (< 50 °C) and lower humidity was found to be suitable in terms of the processing cost, functional properties, and preservation of the bioactive compounds in dried sugar kelp.


Sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) Phaeophyta Drying Heat pump Seasonal variation Physicochemical properties Antioxidant activity 



We would like to thank Maine Sea Farms of Maine for harvesting and donating fresh sugar kelp throughout the period of this research work. We would also like to thank John Belding, Director, Advanced Manufacturing Center, University of Maine for developing the heat pump-based convective dryer and Emily Duran-Frontera for helping in preliminary experimental work on the project.

Funding information

The National Science Foundation award #1355457 on Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) funded this project and a part of the project was also financially supported by the University of Maine System’s Research Reinvestment Fund.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Food Science and Human Nutrition, School of Food and AgricultureUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Chemical and Biomedical EngineeringUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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