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Mar Drugs. 2013 Jun 27;11(7):2259-81. doi: 10.3390/md11072259.

Alternative sources of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in marine microalgae.

Author information

1
Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Faro 8005-139, Portugal.alvesmartinsd@gmail.com

Abstract

The main source of n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) in human nutrition is currently seafood, especially oily fish. Nonetheless, due to cultural or individual preferences, convenience, geographic location, or awareness of risks associated to fatty fish consumption, the intake of fatty fish is far from supplying the recommended dietary levels. The end result observed in most western countries is not only a low supply of n-3 LC-PUFA, but also an unbalance towards the intake of n-6 fatty acids, resulting mostly from the consumption of vegetable oils. Awareness of the benefits of LC-PUFA in human health has led to the use of fish oils as food supplements. However, there is a need to explore alternatives sources of LC-PUFA, especially those of microbial origin. Microalgae species with potential to accumulate lipids in high amounts and to present elevated levels of n-3 LC-PUFA are known in marine phytoplankton. This review focuses on sources of n-3 LC-PUFA, namely eicosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids, in marine microalgae, as alternatives to fish oils. Based on current literature, examples of marketed products and potentially new species for commercial exploitation are presented.

PMID:
23807546
PMCID:
PMC3736422
DOI:
10.3390/md11072259
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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