Enzymatic pre-treatment increases the protein bioaccessibility and extractability in dulse (Palmaria palmata)
Several common protein extraction protocols have been applied on seaweeds, but extraction yields have been limited. The aims of this study were to further develop and optimize existing extraction protocols and to examine the effect of enzymatic pre-treatment on bioaccessibility and extractability of seaweed proteins. Enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweed samples resulted in a three-fold increase in amino acids available for extraction. Combining enzymatic pre-treatment with alkaline extraction resulted in a 1.6-fold increase in the protein extraction yield compared to a standard alkaline extraction protocol. A simulated in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model showed that enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweed increased the amount of amino acids available for intestinal absorption 3.2-fold. In conclusion, enzymatic pre-treatment of seaweeds is effective for increasing the amount of amino acids available for utilization and may thus be an effective means for increasing the utilization potential of seaweed proteins. However, both the enzymatic pre-treatment protocol and the protein extraction protocol need further optimization in order to obtain optimal cost-benefit and results from the in vitro gastrointestinal digestion model need to be confirmed in clinical models.