Nutrients and bioactive compounds of the Lemna gibba and Ulva lactuca as possible ingredients to functional foods
ABSTRACT Lemna gibba freshwater macrophyte and seaweeds Ulva lactuca of the middle basin Papaloapan River, southeast of Mexico were chemically characterized in their nutrients and bioactive compounds for possible use in the formulation of functional foods. The proximate chemical analysis showed that ashes contents (g 100 g−1 sample) of L. gibba and U. lactuca were 20.10 and 33.07, crude protein 21.5 and 17.2, lipids 4.45 and 1.7, nitrogen-free extract 32.4 and 38.34, respectively. Significant differences (P < 0.05) were found in the chemical composition between the two species of aquatic plants. L. gibba resulted in a protein source, and U. lactuca resulted in an energy source. They had eight essential amino acids for fish and other aquatic species and were abundant in lysine and methionine. Both aquatic plants had an essential quantity of inulin (functional fiber) this data not been reported. Also, they had xanthophyll and variety of antioxidant (β-carotenes, lutein, lycopene and neoxanthin). L gibba had only had one polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA; α-linolenic (ALA) 30.31 mg g−1). U. lactuca had a variety of essential PUFA's (ALA, LA, AA; 3.93, 6.73 and 0.41 mg g−1 of fatty acids, respectively). Based on these results, both of the aquatic plants of the middle basin Papaloapan River studied are susceptible to take advantage in the formulation of functional food, since according to the literature the compounds identified have shown beneficial effects as immunonutrients, immunostimulants, antioxidants or modulators of intestinal flora. In aquaculture production, it is suggested to prove the combined use of these two plants as functional ingredients or some particular component in the diets as prevention strategy of diseases as well as to promote aquaculture sustainable through the use of these plants in the productions.