Seaweeds As a Component of the Human Diet

  • Izabela MichalakEmail author
  • Katarzyna Chojnacka
Part of the Developments in Applied Phycology book series (DAPH, volume 8)


Algae (microalgae and seaweeds) have been used for centuries as food, animal fodder and a source of chemicals for the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and chemical industries. In the last few decades, knowledge about the influence of algae in diet on health and well-being has increased. Algae still gain attention due to their unique composition. They are known to be a rich concentrate of biologically active compounds, such as carbohydrates, proteins, minerals, oils, fats, polyunsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants (polyphenols, tocopherols, vitamin C, mycosporine-like amino acids) and pigments. Besides the nutritional value of algae, bioactive compounds play a significant role in the promotion of human health and disease prevention, due to antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and antitumor properties. Algal products can be used for performance improvement and the reduction of pathogenic bacteria. Algae can be served in different forms – whole seaweed meal, powder, extract, homogenate or fermented. In this chapter, the advantages (nutritional value, accessibility, etc.) and disadvantages (toxic metals, sensory perception, etc.) of the application of seaweeds as a component of food are discussed. Special attention is paid to their application in cereals, dairy and meat products. Seaweeds can also serve as a natural salt, as well as a source of hydrocolloids, especially in the confectionery industry. Macroalgae can also deliver biologically active compounds to food products of plant and animal origin indirectly, through their application in plant cultivation and animal feeding. It is predicted that seaweeds as food and seaweed-derived food flavours, colours and nutrients will continue to attract considerable commercial attention.


Seaweeds Nutritional value Cereals Dairy and meat products Natural salt Hydrocolloids 



This project was financed in the framework of a grant entitled “The effect of bioactive algae enriched by biosorption on the certain minerals such as Cr(III), Mg(II) and Mn(II) on the status of glucose in the course of metabolic syndrome horses. Evaluation in vitro and in vivo” (2015/18/E/NZ9/00607), attributed by the National Science Centre in Poland.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Chemistry, Department of Advanced Material TechnologiesWrocław University of Science and TechnologyWrocławPoland

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