Nutritional evaluation

Protein quality is evaluated by different methods with various patterns of standard; hence it is very difficult to compare the published data. Chosen standard, which is used for the computation of these factors, strongly affects the limiting AA. Rama et al. (1964) identified the highly significant correlation with the biological value of 11 protein samples from 15.

In spite of this fact, in most studies, amino acid score (AAS), index of essential amino acid, and egg protein have been applied. Seaweeds have usually low AAS (about 20-67%); nevertheless, it is common similarly to other plants (Matanjun et al., 2009). Matanjun et al. (2009) showed that Sargassum polycystum had AAS higher (67%) than soybeans (47%) or casein (58%) and then this value could be compared with beef (69%).

As limiting acids depending on the species and standard protein, lysine was indicated (Matanjun et al., 2009, Misurcova et al., 2010; Norziah and Ching, 2000; Ortiz et al., 2006; Ramos et al., 2000), also leucine and isoleucine (Ortiz et al., 2006), and further as the second limiting amino acid, it was methionine (Ramos et al., 2000).

In comparison to the standard protein, seaweed proteins (as well as other plant proteins) are not full-valued proteins because of low amounts of some amino acids. Nevertheless, the presence of all EAAs in the considerable quantities indicates that seaweed proteins are nutritionally superior to the terrestrial plant proteins (Qasim, 1991). In Tables 24.3 and 24.4, there are presented protein contents of some seaweed demonstrating their variability.

In vitro protein digestibility of seaweed proteins is influenced by the species, seasonal period, and content of antinutritional factors such as phenolic and polysaccharides (Fleurence, 1999a; Mabeau and Fleurence, 1993). Activity of proteolytic enzymes may be reduced due to the reaction of amino acids with oxidized phenolic compound (Wong and Cheung, 2001). Differences between the prediction of protein quality (based on amino acid content/amino acid requirement ratios) and the actual protein quality (based on the performance in living organisms) seem to be a reason of variations in the utilization of the amino acids comprised in different proteins.

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