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Fatty acids components of marine macroalgae and their medicinal applications

Abstract
Fatty acids (FA) are important nutritional substances and metabolites in living organism. Degenerative diseases related to inappropriate FA consumption form a potential death cause for two thirds of the population living in affluent, industrialized nations. Marine algae represent a considerable part of the littoral biomass. Many algal species have long been used as human food, animal fodder and source of valuable substances. In addition, algal components are of interest from a pharmaceutical point of view. Marine algae are rich in fatty acids (FAs) especially polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and are of potential value as sources of essential fatty acids (n-3 and n-6 series),which are important in the nutrition of humans and animals. Also the n-6/n-3 ratio of macroalgae, because of their high n-3 content, is lower than 10 which is congruent with WHO recommended. Although each phylum of marine macrophytic algae has its characteristic FA pattern but up to now, only a limited number of algal species have been investigated for their FAs composition. Hence, the objective of this review is to explain briefly synthesis and structure of FAs and also to assess the potential of several Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta and Rhodophyta macroalgae as a source of FAs especially PUFAs and very long chain PUFAs (VLCPUFAs).
Keywords
Fatty acid, Omega-3, Polyusaturated fatty acids, macroalgae, Chlorophyta, Phaeophyta, Rhodophyta

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