Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Is a potential food supplement with the capacity to outperform chlorella and spirulina

Randa Darwish, Mohamed A. Gedi, Patchaniya Eakpetch, Hirut Assaye, Abdelrahman Zaky, David Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a green microalgae used as a model organism associated with biotechnological applications, yet its nutritional value has not been assessed. This study investigates the nutritional capacity of C. reinhardtii as an additional value for this species beyond its known potential in biofuels and bio-products production. The composition of key nutrients in C. reinhardtii was compared with Chlorella and Spirulina, the species widely regarded as a superfood. The results revealed that the protein content of C. reinhardtii (46.9%) was comparable with that of Chlorella (45.3) and Spirulina (50.4%) on a dry weight basis. C. reinhardtii contained all the essential amino acids with good scores based on FAO/WHO values (0.9–1.9) as in Chlorella and Spirulina. Unsaturated fatty acids predominated the total fatty acids profile of C. reinhardtii were ~74 of which ~48% are n-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) content in C. reinhardtii (42.4%) was significantly higher than that of Chlorella (23.4) and Spirulina (0.12%). For minerals, Spirulina was rich in iron (3.73 mg/g DW) followed by Chlorella (1.34 mg/g DW) and C. reinhardtii (0.96 mg/g DW). C. reinhardtii, unlike the other two species, consisted of selenium (10 µg/g DW), and had a remarkably lower heavy metal load. Moreover, C. reinhardtii contained relatively high concentrations of chlorophyll (a + b) and total carotenoids (28.6 mg/g DW and 6.9 mg/g DW, respectively) compared with Chlorella (12.0 mg/g DW and 1.8 mg/g DW, respectively) and Spirulina (8.6 mg/g DW and 0.8 mg/g DW, respectively). This study confirms that, based on its nutrient credentials, C. reinhardtii has great potential as a new superfood or ingredient for a food supplement.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6736
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • chlamydomonas
  • spirulina
  • chlorella
  • superfood
  • omega-3
  • selenium
  • microalgae


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