2013 Volume 47 Issue 1 Pages 53-63
Many kinds of fermented products are now being consumed as food and dietary items, although those produced from algae have yet to be developed. A recent observation that seaweed could be used as a substrate for lactic acid fermentation opened the possibility of obtaining such products as foods, diets and fertilizers by algal fermentation. This manuscript reviews past studies on the lactic acid fermentation of algae. Both macroalgae (seaweeds) and microalgae can be used as the materials for lactic acid fermentation, as successful fermentation has been observed regarding all the seaweed species tested to date. Saccharification by cellulase treatment is considered a significant element for inducing algal fermentation. The addition of a starter culture of lactic acid bacteria and salt also promotes successful fermentation. A wide range of Lactobacillus species can be used for inducing algal fermentation, with Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus plantarum in particular showing a superior ability to dominate in seaweed fermentation cultures. A starter culture of halophilic lactic acid bacteria that is now being developed will make it possible to prepare algal fermented products containing a high (>10%) salt content and having long-term preservation. As for application, a prototype of ‘seaweed sauce’ containing a high quantity of amino acids was obtained from Porphyla sp. (Rhodophyta). Some functional effects are also demonstrated when fish and animals were fed algal fermented products.
Studies on the ethanol fermentation of seaweeds are also making progress. All these advances in algal fermentation are expected to lead to the creation of a new genre of algal fermentation industry.