The present study describes the variation in lipid components from 15 species of seaweeds belonging to the Chlorophyta, Ochrophyta, and Rhodophyta phyla collected in tropical (Indonesia) and temperate (Japan) areas. Analyses were performed of multiple components, including chlorophylls, carotenoids, n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and alpha tocopherol (α-Toc). Chlorophyll (Chl) and carotenoid contents varied among phyla, but not with the sampling location. Chl a and b were the major chlorophylls in Chlorophyta. Chl a and Chl c were the main chlorophylls in Ochrophyta, while Chl a was the dominant chlorophylls in Rhodophyta. β-Carotene and fucoxanthin were detected as major seaweed carotenoids. The former was present in all species in a variety of ranges, while the latter was mainly found in Ochrophyta and in small quantities in Rhodophyta, but not in Chlorophyta. The total lipids (TL) content and fatty acids composition were strongly affected by sampling location. The TL and n-3 PUFAs levels tended to be higher in temperate seaweeds compared with those in tropical seaweeds. The major n-3 PUFAs in different phyla, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) in Ochrophyta, α-linolenic acid (ALA) and SDA in Chlorophyta, and EPA in Rhodophyta, accumulated in temperate seaweeds. Chlorophylls, their derivatives, and carotenoids are known to have health benefits, such as antioxidant activities, while n-3 PUFAs are known to be essential nutrients that positively influence human nutrition and health. Therefore, seaweed lipids could be used as a source of ingredients with health benefits for functional foods and nutraceuticals.
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