(spirulina), a filamentous fresh-water planktonic cyanobacterium, possesses diverse biological activities and a unique nutritional profile, due to its high content of valuable nutrients. This study aimed to further improve the bioactive profile of spirulina, by fermenting it with the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum
. In vitro comparison of the total phenolic content (TPC), C-phycocyanin, free methionine, DPPH radical scavenging capacity, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) and protein fragmentation via SDS-PAGE in untreated versus 12 to 72 h fermented spirulina is reported here. After 36 h fermentation, TPC was enhanced by 112%, FRAP by 85% and ORAC by 36%. After 24 h, the DPPH radical scavenging capacity increased 60%, while the free methionine content increased by 94%, after 72 h. Past 36 h of fermentation, the total antioxidant capacity (TAC) diminished, possibly due to deterioration of the heat-sensitive antioxidants. However, protein fragmentation and free methionine content increased, linearly, with the fermentation time. Cyanobacterial peptides and other bioactive compounds trapped within the spirulina cell wall are released during fermentation and have a significant potential as a functional ingredient in nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals, in addition to their nutritive value.
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