Seaweed is an important food widely consumed in Asian countries. Seaweed has a diverse array of bioactive compounds, including dietary fiber, carbohydrate, protein, fatty acid, minerals and polyphenols, which contribute to the health benefits and commercial value of seaweed. Nevertheless, detailed information on polyphenol content in seaweeds is still limited. Therefore, the present work aimed to investigate the phenolic compounds present in eight seaweeds [Chlorophyta (green), Ulva
sp. and Codium
sp.; Rhodophyta (red), Dasya
sp. and Centroceras
sp.; Ochrophyta (brown), Ecklonia
sp.], using liquid chromatography electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS). The total phenolic content (TPC), total flavonoid content (TFC) and total tannin content (TTC) were determined. The antioxidant potential of seaweed was assessed using a 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging assay, a 2,2′-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid (ABTS) free radical scavenging assay and a ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay. Brown seaweed species showed the highest total polyphenol content, which correlated with the highest antioxidant potential. The LC-ESI-QTOF-MS/MS tentatively identified a total of 54 phenolic compounds present in the eight seaweeds. The largest number of phenolic compounds were present in Centroceras
sp. followed by Ecklonia
sp. and Caulerpa
sp. Using high-performance liquid chromatography-photodiode array (HPLC-PDA) quantification, the most abundant phenolic compound was p
-hydroxybenzoic acid, present in Ulva
sp. at 846.083 ± 0.02 μg/g fresh weight. The results obtained indicate the importance of seaweed as a promising source of polyphenols with antioxidant properties, consistent with the health potential of seaweed in food, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications.
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