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Microalgae as sustainable food and feed sources for animals and humans – Biotechnological and environmental aspects

Adi Kusmayadi
Yoong Kit Leong
Hong-Wei Yen
Chi-Yu Huang
Jo-Shu Chang

Chemosphere, Vol. 271, May 2021


Offering a potential solution for global food security and mitigating environmental issues caused by the expansion of land-based food production, the carbon-hunger and nutrient-rich microalgae emerged as a sustainable food source for both humans and animals. Other than as an alternative source for protein, microalgae offer its most valuable nutrients, omega-3 and 6 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids where the content can compete with that of marine fish with lower chemicals contamination and higher purity. Furthermore, the colorful pigments of microalgae can act as antioxidants together with many other health-improving properties as well as a natural colorant. In addition, the supplementation of algae as animal feed provides plentiful benefits, such as improved growth and body weight, reduced feed intake, enhanced immune response and durability towards illness, antibacterial and antiviral action as well as enrichment of livestock products with bioactive compounds. The significant breakthrough in algal biotechnology has made algae a powerful “cell factory” for food production and lead to the rapid growth of the algal bioeconomy in the food and feed industry. The first overview of this review was to present the general of microalgae and its potential capability. Subsequently, the nutritional compositions of microalgae were discussed together with its applications in human foods and animal feeds, followed by the exploration of their economic feasibility and sustainability as well as market trends. Lastly, both challenges and future perspectives were also discussed.

Keywords: Microalgae, Nutritional compounds, Food security, Animal feed, Human food

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