Microalgae-based products and their immunomodulatory activities
Microalgae are photosynthetic microorganisms that thrive in many different environments. They are present across ecosystems globally and possess bioactive compounds that can be exploited as natural products with potential application in many sectors. Microalgae are easily cultivated in large volumes to yield high biomass. Manipulating their cultivation conditions can improve the production of bioactive compounds of interest. These compounds include chemical families such as chlorophylls, carotenoids, polysaccharides, fatty acids, amino acids, and vitamins, among others. Studies have demonstrated that these compounds are able to strengthen the immune system in humans and animals, improving responses to diseases including cancer. In this chapter, we review microalgal-derived compounds that have been shown to have immunomodulatory properties, their mechanisms of action, and the cellular components related to the immune system. Given the growing interest from consumers in natural sources of pharmaceuticals, we also discuss future approaches to improve the production of microalgae enriched in compounds with immunomodulatory properties and to establish microalgae as a sustainable and efficient food source to meet the future demands of humanity.
Authors: Teoh, Ming-Li, Choo, Wu-Thong, Anuwar, Syazana, Wong, Ching-Yee, Convey, Peter ORCID record for Peter Convey