Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 2047–2060 | Cite as

Biomass soaking treatments to reduce potentially undesirable compounds in the edible seaweeds sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) and winged kelp (Alaria esculenta) and health risk estimation for human consumption

  • Pierrick StévantEmail author
  • Hélène Marfaing
  • Arne Duinker
  • Joël Fleurence
  • Turid Rustad
  • Ingrid Sandbakken
  • Annelise Chapman


Samples of cultivated edible kelps Alaria esculenta and Saccharina latissima were analysed for their cadmium, iodine and inorganic arsenic contents. The inorganic arsenic levels were low in both species but samples of A. esculenta had relatively high cadmium contents (up to 2.01 mg kg−1 dry weight (DW)), and iodine levels were high in S. latissima samples (up to 6568 mg kg−1 DW), exceeding the limits established by the French food safety authority for both elements. Simple soaking treatments in warm fresh water (32 °C) reduced the iodine in S. latissima and treatment of A. esculenta in hypersaline solution (2.0 M NaCl) reduced the relative cadmium content. However, both treatments affected the nutrient content of the biomass, illustrated by considerable variations in DW and the content of bioactive compounds (e.g. minerals, polyphenols, fucoxanthin). Health risks associated with the consumption of these seaweed species were estimated using risk factors based on established tolerable intake levels. The contribution of A. esculenta to dietary cadmium intake does not appear to pose a threat to the consumer while the daily consumption of S. latissima leads to excessive iodine intakes. The moderate consumption of these kelps will, on the other hand, improve the iodine status in iodine-deficient populations.


Bioactive compounds Cadmium Edible seaweeds Iodine Inorganic arsenic Processing 



This work was conducted as part of the PROMAC project (244244), funded by the Research Council of Norway, and as part of the Sustainable Innovation in Food- and Bio-based Industries Programme. Pierrick Stévant was supported by a doctoral fellowship from Sparebanken Møre. Thanks are due to the CEVA’s laboratory and pilot facility staff for valuable technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Møreforsking Ålesund ASÅlesundNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNUTrondheimNorway
  3. 3.CEVA (Centre d’Etude et de Valorisation des Algues)PleubianFrance
  4. 4.National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES)BergenNorway
  5. 5.Mer Molécule Santé, EA2160Université de NantesNantesFrance
  6. 6.Materials and ChemistrySINTEFTrondheimNorway

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