Overview of Sea Vegetable Chemical Composition
Bulletin # 1-0202 Content by Great SeaVegetables (2001) c/o
david@surialink.com

Seavegetables are algae that come mainly from marine environments but also come from freshwater environments. They are distributed along the coasts of all oceans. They include micro algae [e.g. Spirulina, Chlorella, Dunaliella, etc.] and macro algae  [Green, Red & Brown]. Their sizes range from microscopic to over 25 m. They have no  defined structures such as those typical of land plants [e.g. roots, trunk, leaves] so each cell exchanges nutrients with the seawater. Most are attached to substrates but some are free-floating [e.g. Sargasso Sea]. Sea vegetables became adapted to the ocea by producing unique chemical compounds not found in land plants or animals. Some of these compounds are bioactive with terrestrial plants or animals.

General composition:

MACRO COMPONENTS
Proteins:  up to 40 %
Lipids:  up to 5 %, generally about 2%, high in PUFA
Carbohydrates: Soluble fiber [agar, carrageenan & alginate] up to 50 %
Insoluble fiber: [cellulose, xylans & others] 2 to 8 %
Oligosaccharides, sugars & sugar alcohols: up to 20%
Minerals:  up to 36 % Ca, P, Mg, Fe, Na, K, & Cl.
MICRO COMPONENTS
Essential oligoelements:  Zn, Cu, Mn, I, Se, Mo & Cr
Free Amino Acids: All essential AA generally present
Vitamins:  A, B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, & Folic Acid), C, & E
Carotenoids: several present

Sea Vegetables Comparative Composition

LAMINARIA

American

LAMINARIA

Japanese

GRACILARIA

ULVA

MACRO COMPONENTS/100g

 

 

 

 

Proteins g

16

19

11

24

Lipids g

02

04

03

01

Carbohydrates g

39

56

54

47

Total ash g

n d

28

17

14

Energy cal

240

n d

191

213

MINERALS/100 g

 

 

 

 

Sodium mg

4,460

3,100

5,340

3,420

Potassium mg

11,200

12,680

n d

n d

Calcium mg

940

880

4,100

730

Magnesium mg

900

760

n d

n d

Phosphorus mg

425

220

6,000

n d

Iron mg

42.6

43

21.8

87

OLIGOELEMENTS/100 g

 

 

 

 

Iodine mg

144.0

670

31

26

Copper mg

0.2

0.2

0.8

n d

Manganese mg

1.2

0.4

n d

n d

Chromium mg

0.2

n d

0.6

n d

Zinc mg

2.9

0.1

4.1

n d

VITAMINS/100 g

 

 

 

 

A   Retinal I U

560

430

n d

960

B1 Thiamin  mg

0.6

0.1

0.4

0.06

B2  Riboflavin mg

2.5

0.5

0.4

0.03

B3  Niacin mg

3.6

1.6

n d

8.0

B6 Pyridoxine mg

8.6

0.3

n d

n a

B12 Cobalamin mg

2.6

3.0

14.4

6.3

Folic Acid Pteroylglutamic acid mg

n d

0.1

2.8

11.8

C Ascorbic acid mg

4.2

28

1.1

10.0

E  Tocopherol I U

2.7

n d

n d

n d

Carbohydrate Composition 

RED

GREEN 

BROWN

Insoluble Fibers

Cellulose

Cellulose

Cellulose

 

Xylans

Xylans

 

 

Mannans

Mannans

 

Soluble Fibers

Agar

Hetero-complex

Alginate

 

Carrageenans

Charged/neutral

Fucoidan

 

Carragars

 

 

 

Sulfated Xylans

 

 

 

Others

 

 

Storage

Floridean starch

Starch

Laminaran

Low Mol. Weight

Floridoside

? ? ?

Mannitol

 

Iso-Floridoside

 

 

 

Sorbitol

 

 

 Protein Composition

RED

GREEN

BROWN

ovalbumin

Porphyra

Ulva

Undaria

 

Tryptophan

1.3 0.3 0.8 1.0

Lysine

4.5 4.5 4.3 7.7

Histidine

1.4 4.0 2.7 4.1

Arginine

16.4 14.9 7.5 11.7

Aspartate

7.0 6.5 5.6 6.2

Threonine

4.0 3.1 2.4 3.0

Serine

2.9 3.0 2.8 6.8

Glutamate

7.2 6.9 5.1 9.9

Proline

6.4 4.0 2.8 2.8

Glycine

7.2 5.2 4.4 3.4

Alanine

7.4 6.1 4.8 6.7

Cystine

0.3 1.2 0.5 1.4

Valine

6.4 4.9 4.1 5.4

Methionine

1.7 1.6 2.2 3.1

Isoleucine

4.0 3.5 2.9 4.8

Leucine

8.7 6.9 5.1 6.2

Tyrosine

2.4 1.4 1.6 1.8

Phenylalanine

3.9 3.9 3.7 4.1
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