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DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13F511 Teagasc (NUIG, UU, UCC) €601,078

Project Title:

Seaweeds as a source of non-digestible complex polysaccharide components for the development of novel prebiotic ingredients for the functional food industry.

Project Coordinator:

Prof Paul Ross

Project Abstract

Seaweeds contain a high proportion of fibre (up to 50% dry mass) as a diverse range of polysaccharides (including xylan, fucoidan, alginate, laminarin, carrageenan and ulvan) which have been suggested to have potential prebiotic activity. This project will develop a low-cost industrial scale extraction process for polysaccharides from a range of sustainable Irish seaweeds (Fucus vesiculosus, Palmaria palmata, Ulva intestinalis and Laminaria digitata) for the purposes of developing a marine based prebiotic for incorporation into functional foods. Polysaccharide extraction protocols developed in the NutraMara programme will be modified for industrial scale application. Three extracts will be produced from each seaweed species – 1) relatively crude seaweed extract, 2) a polysaccharide-rich extract and 3) a depolymerised polysaccharide-rich extract. The prebiotic activity of these extracts will be screened using ex-vivo batch culture methods and the most suitable candidate selected for incorporation into an appropriate organoleptically tested food vehicle. Subsequently the candidate prebiotic will undergo validation using a human intervention study to provide information on the effect on the microbiota (including effect on bifidobacteria, a prime property of prebiotics) and generate data on other potential health benefits in the gut such as improvements in stool formation (laxation) in addition to beneficial effects on plasma lipid profiles and blood glucose levels.

Final Report:

Not available yet.