Algae as Source of Natural Flavour Enhancers - A Mini Review
Algae are popular sources of food, fodder, feed, fuel, fertilizers, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products, and other co-products. The reason for preferring algae as source of a wide array of commercial products is that provisions for algal biomass production for application in different fields are long-term, pro-environmental and sustainable. This is related to the numerous varieties of ways and places in which algae can grow naturally or can be cultivated for commercialization. The fact that different species of algae have traditionally been used as preferred food or delicacy throughout the world speaks volumes about the taste attributes of edible algae. However, the use of algae or its derivatives as taste or flavour enhancers has not been explored enough, though sporadic works and reports can be found worldwide. This review attempts to scout the role of algae in imparting flavours in various cuisines made from algae or algae derived products. Also a number of fish and marine organisms have been reported to have flavours which are considered to contain flavour-enhancing compounds derived from algae, with uniqueness in such tastes been attributed to algae. Contrary to this, few algae have also been reported to impart “off-flavour” in some marine organisms. The present review brings together all such available reports to open avenues in bio-prospecting algae for extracting natural flavour enhancing products to enhance flavours of food items deficit in these appetite-stimulating flavours. Further, this review could stimulate research on “off-flavour” producing algae to remove distaste or toxicity imparting compounds by modification of biochemical pathways.
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