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Mar. Drugs 2013, 11(7), 2259-2281; doi:10.3390/md11072259
Review

Alternative Sources of n-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Marine Microalgae

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Received: 16 April 2013 / Revised: 16 May 2013 / Accepted: 21 May 2013 / Published: 27 June 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioactive Compounds from Marine Plankton)
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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.
Keywords: marine microalgae; n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; EPA; DHA marine microalgae; n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; EPA; DHA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Martins, D.A.; Custódio, L.; Barreira, L.; Pereira, H.; Ben-Hamadou, R.; Varela, J.; Abu-Salah, K.M. Alternative Sources of n-3 Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Marine Microalgae. Mar. Drugs 2013, 11, 2259-2281.

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