If you were to talk into your local GNC vitamin shop, you would quickly realize that there is a wide range of options for protein supplementation. Depending on your price range, dietary restrictions, and ethics, you can choose from a variety of protein sources: milk, soy, pea, egg, hemp, rice, and other plants.
Why don’t we see seaweed protein? Seaweeds are fast growing, rich in protein, and are highly sustainable. A recent publication in the Journal of Applied Phycology suggests that their complex polysaccharide matrix hinders protein extraction. Reported conventional methods for seaweed protein extraction include aqueous, acidic and alkaline methods where extraction yield varies from 24 to 59%. The study focused on using enzymes to enhance the extraction process and was able to extract 74% of the proteins from giant kelp (M. pyrifera)
These results establish a firm basis for further studies on seaweed protein extracts as potential functional ingredients, or towards the production of bioactive peptides through a straightforward, and environmentally sustainable methodology.