Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 9153.
Autores/as: Carreira-Casais, A.; Otero, P.; Garcia-Perez, P.; Garcia-Oliveira, P.; Pereira, A.G.; Carpena, M.; Soria-Lopez, A.; Simal-Gandara, J.; Prieto, M.A.
The increase in life expectancy has led to the appearance of chronic diseases and interest in healthy aging, in turn promoting a growing interest in bioactive compounds (BCs) and functional ingredients. There are certain foods or products rich in functional ingredients, and algae are one of them. Algae consumption has been nominal in Europe until now. However, in recent years, it has grown significantly, partly due to globalization and the adoption of new food trends. With the aim of obtaining BCs from foods, multiple methods have been proposed, ranging from conventional ones, such as maceration or Soxhlet extraction, to more innovative methods, e.g., ultrasound-assisted extraction (UAE). UAE constitutes a novel method, belonging to so-called green chemistry, that enables the extraction of BCs requiring lower amounts of solvent and energy costs, preserving the integrity of such molecules. In recent years, this method has been often used for the extraction of different BCs from a wide range of algae, especially polysaccharides, such as carrageenans and alginate; pigments, including fucoxanthin, chlorophylls, or β-carotene; and phenolic compounds, among others. In this way, the application of UAE to marine algae is an efficient and sustainable strategy to pursue their deep characterization as a new source of BCs, especially suitable for vegetarian and vegan diets.