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Proteins are key to the health and diet of humans—they are essential for creating enzymes, regulating hormones, moving oxygen throughout the body, building and repairing muscle, and fortifying bones and cartilage.

North American consumers have developed a tremendous appetite for protein—and not just from poultry, red meat, fish, and eggs. The high protein content in dulse (Palmaria palmata) is one of the main reasons for growing commercial interest of this seaweed for food applications.

Studies since the 1980s have reported that the total protein content for wild harvested dulse ranges from 8% to 35% but is most often around 20%. When dulse is cultivated in a land-based operation, protein content can be sustained at over 20% with every harvest. This means you can have confidence that you are receiving an excellent source of protein with every purchase.

Proteins are formed by molecules known as amino acids, 20 of which are considered essential for human health and function. Dulse contains significant amounts of essential amino acids (EAAs) that are often found in short supply in plant food sources. The most common amino acids in dulse, are alanine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, and glycine, giving the red seaweed its unique flavour.

Phycobiliproteins (PBPs) are the most common proteins in red seaweeds. These water-soluble proteins are associated with red pigments, responsible for capturing light energy, allowing photosynthesis to occur. and giving dulse and other red seaweeds their stunning red colouration.

The potential health benefits of PBPs from red algae have especially caught the attention of the food, biomedical, and cosmetic industries. Studies have shown there are numerous bioactive properties of PBPs, including antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activity.

In recent years, there’s also been a growing interest in natural colouring for food products. A study by García et al., for example, found that B-phycoerythrin extract from algae could be used as a reliable food colorant in milk-based products.

Harvesting wild dulse has become a challenge due to increasing water temperatures and the scarcity of harvesters willing to undertake this physically demanding undertaking. Recently, dulse has been domesticated and farmed in an on-land cultivation system that does not adversely affect the natural environment and is highly productive and traceable.

There’s been a growing interest in sustainable resources for food, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical products which dulse could play a key role in because of the proteins that it possesses.  

Are you looking to get your hands on the proteins in dulse? Reach out to the Acadian SeaPlus™ team and we’ll help you overcome the current market scarcity.

Want to include the power of dulse in your products? Let’s talk.


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