Seasonal variations in the amino acid profile and protein nutritional value of Saccharina latissima cultivated in a commercial IMTA system

Goncalo Silva Marinho, Susan Løvstad Holdt, Irini Angelidaki

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review


Seaweeds have potential for the provision of biomass for food and feed supplements. The demand is increasing especially for proteins as ingredients; however, the amino acid profile is essential for evaluation of the nutritional value of proteins. The year-round protein concentration and amino acid profiles of Saccharina latissima were determined, and the harvest time and nutritional potential were evaluated. Bi-monthly samples were analyzed from S. latissima (including epiphytes, when present) cultivated commercially at an integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) site and a reference site in Denmark in 2013–2014. Overall, there was no significant difference for the tested parameters between the two sampling sites; however, seasonal variations were found. The protein concentration varied markedly reaching a maximum of 10.8 % dry weight (DW) in November and a minimum of 1.3 % DW in May 2013. Aspartic and glutamic acids dominated the amino acid profile, accounting for up to 49 % of the total. Greatest seasonal differences in amino acid composition occurred in July, with leucine contributing most (22.7–26.7 %) of the observed differences. A maximal essential amino acid (EAA) score of 68.9 % (based on WHO/FAO/UNU requirements) was achieved in November 2013. The presence of epiphytes in July to November changed neither the amino acid content nor the EAA score. S. latissima is comparable with wheat as a protein ingredient for fish feed and appears to be a suitable protein/amino acid source for human consumption. This study proposes that there may be a mismatch between harvest time and nutritional value. The preferable harvest time for S. latissima is November, due to high protein content and EAA score. However, higher yield and cleaner biomass for human consumption would be found in May.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1991-2000
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Integratedmulti-trophic aquaculture
  • Epiphytes
  • Biomass composition
  • Marine proteins
  • Essential amino acid score
  • Fish feed supplment
  • Seasonal changes


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