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Keywords:

  • amino acids;
  • bioactive;
  • digestion;
  • extraction;
  • functional food;
  • peptides;
  • proteins

Macroalgae are a diverse group of marine organisms that have developed complex and unique metabolic pathways to ensure survival in highly competitive marine environments. As a result, these organisms have been targeted for mining of natural biologically active components. The exploration of marine organisms has revealed numerous bioactive compounds that are proteinaceous in nature. These include proteins, linear peptides, cyclic peptides and depsipeptides, peptide derivatives, amino acids, and amino acid–like components. Furthermore, some species of macroalgae have been shown to contain significant levels of protein. While some protein-derived bioactive peptides have been characterized from macroalgae, macroalgal proteins currently still represent good candidate raw materials for biofunctional peptide mining. This review will provide an overview of the important bioactive amino-acid-containing compounds that have been identified in macroalgae. Moreover, the potential of macroalgal proteins as substrates for the generation of biofunctional peptides for utilization as functional foods to provide specific health benefits will be discussed.