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Lundquist, Louise, 2019. Algae and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. First cycle, G2E. 2019: SLU, Department of Molecular Sciences



The human body cannot produce enough amounts of long chain polyunsaturated fatty
acids (LC-PUFA), on its own, to sustain the biological functions they have. Consuming
essential fatty acids is fundamental for well-functioning bodily processes. The
essential fatty acids are linoleic acid (LA) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is
the precursor to the LC-PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic
acid (DHA). The metabolism of EPA and DHA in the human body is very limited
and it is therefore important to have these fatty acids in our diet. The essential fatty
acids can be found in some nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, they are most prominent
in canola oil and linseed oil. EPA and DHA cannot be found in nuts, seeds or vegetable
oils but are instead found in algae and fish.
ALA, EPA, and DHA are categorised as omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids
have an important role in the cell membrane and in retinal tissue. The omega-3 makes
the cell membrane fluid and flexible, facilitates the cellular functions and cell signals.
EPA is a precursor for the hormone like biochemical substances called eicosanoids.
Eicosanoids help aid multiple bodily functions, such as immune functions and inflammatory
responses as well as blood pressure regulations and muscle activity. The
health benefits of consuming PUFAs are many. They have shown to aid both mental
and cardiovascular health. Visual functions have shown risks of being compromised
when PUFAs were limited during the infant years. In algae, EPA and DHA are maintaining
the photosynthetic functions and may aid cell signalling.
Algae have been utilized for over thousands of years. Asians have been the primary
consumers, but the consumption of algae is spreading all over the world. Algae are
the base, the lowest trophic level, in the aquatic food chain. In modern day they are
primarily used as food, but they are also used as biofuel and to purify waste waters.
Not all algae are high producers of PUFAs, the most common ones, nori, spirulina
etc., are richer in protein and nutrients. The Schizochytrium spp are microalgal species
rich in DHA. Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Odontella aurita are two microalgae
rich in EPA. The aim of this literature study was to introduce PUFAs and their
biological functions. The study also covers the role algae have in the production of
EPA and DHA.

Main title:Algae and Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
Authors:Lundquist, Louise
Supervisor:Pickova, Jana
Examiner:Sampels, Sabine
Series:Molecular Sciences
Volume/Sequential designation:2019:4
Year of Publication:2019
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY010 Agronomprogrammet - livsmedel, för antagna fr.o.m. 2016 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Department of Molecular Sciences
Keywords:Algae, polyunsaturated fatty acids, EPA, DHA, omega-3
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Food science and technology
Deposited On:17 Sep 2019 08:29
Metadata Last Modified:04 Jun 2020 11:28

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