Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 1945–1956 | Cite as

Phaeodactylum tricornutum in finishing diets for gilthead seabream: effects on skin pigmentation, sensory properties and nutritional value

  • Ana Ramalho Ribeiro
  • Amparo Gonçalves
  • Mónica Barbeiro
  • Narcisa Bandarra
  • Maria Leonor Nunes
  • Maria Luísa Carvalho
  • Joana Silva
  • João Navalho
  • Maria Teresa Dinis
  • Tomé Silva
  • Jorge Dias


Microalgal biomasses are known to play a major role in fish pigmentation, which is particularly important in farmed fish, since colour and external appearance are the first cue for customers when choosing seafood. A study was undertaken to assess the potential of microalgae biomass from the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum as a functional ingredient for gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) feeds. Three experimental diets were designed: a control diet (CTRL), this same diet supplemented with 2.5% of P. tricornutum wild strain (diet MA20); and a third diet with 2.5% of P. tricornutum biomass (diet MA37) cultivated under different temperature and light regimes that resulted in higher levels of fucoxanthin. Microalgae diets led to a reduction (P < 0.05 in MA37) of whole-body fat and lower lipid retention (P < 0.05 in MA20 and MA37). Microalgae did not impact odour, flavour, whiteness, and fatness perception in cooked fillets. Overall, colour analysis showed that P. tricornutum biomass led to significant differences compared to control in specific areas: the MA37 diet induced a significantly (P < 0.05) lighter and more vivid yellow colouration of seabream operculum (ΔE* ≈ 5) perceptible to the human eye; ventral skin lightness was also affected by the dietary treatments (P = 0.040), being higher for microalgae-fed groups, though this difference was not perceptually strong (ΔE* ≈ 1.7). Phaeodactylum tricornutum biomass can be used as a functional ingredient, improving external pigmentation and thus contributing to meet consumer expectations in relation to farmed gilthead seabream.


Gilthead seabream Microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum Diatom Skin pigmentation Quality 



This work was partly funded under the EU FP7 by the GIAVAP project no. 266401: Genetic Improvement of Algae for Value Added Product. The views expressed in this work are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessary reflect the views of the European Commission. Ana Ramalho Ribeiro acknowledges the financial support by FCT/MCTES (Portugal) through grant (SFRH/BD/73452/2010). All authors revised and approved the final version of the manuscript. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Ramalho Ribeiro
    • 1
  • Amparo Gonçalves
    • 2
  • Mónica Barbeiro
    • 2
  • Narcisa Bandarra
    • 2
  • Maria Leonor Nunes
    • 2
  • Maria Luísa Carvalho
    • 3
  • Joana Silva
    • 4
  • João Navalho
    • 4
  • Maria Teresa Dinis
    • 1
  • Tomé Silva
    • 5
  • Jorge Dias
    • 5
  1. 1.Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve, Universidade do AlgarveFaroPortugal
  2. 2.IPMA, Portuguese Institute for the Sea and AtmosphereLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.LIBPhys-UNL, Universidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  4. 4.Necton, Companhia Portuguesa de Culturas MarinhasOlhãoPortugal
  5. 5.SPAROS Lda, Área Empresarial de MarimOlhãoPortugal

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