Ulva fenestrata protein – Comparison of three extraction methods with respect to protein yield and protein quality
Journal article, 2021

Seaweed is gaining attention as a possible alternative and sustainable source of proteins. This study investigates three protein extraction methods and their effect on protein yield and quality when applied to Ulva fenestrata. Two of the methods included alkaline extractions (pH-shifts); one version solubilizing the proteins at pH 8.5 and one solubilizing them at pH 8.5 followed by pH 12 (pH 8.5 + 12). The third method was a mechanical pressing, using a double screw press. All extraction methods were followed by isoelectric precipitation to concentrate the proteins. Extraction at pH 8.5 gave the significantly highest total protein yield after the isoelectric precipitation, followed by extraction at pH 8.5 + 12 and lastly mechanical extraction gave the lowest yield. Proteins extracted with both alkaline methods had a significantly higher solubility at pH 7 and pH 9, compared to proteins from the mechanical pressing. There were no significant differences between the three methods in total D/L-amino acid ratio. Amino acid cross-links measured as lysinoalanine (LAL) and lanthionine (LAN) where found in significantly higher amounts in alkali-extracted proteins compared to mechanically extracted, however not to a degree that expect to compromise functional or nutritional quality. Further, no significant difference in protein in vitro digestibility was found between extraction methods. In conclusion, results indicated that protein extraction at pH 8.5 can be recommended, especially regarding total protein yield and solubility of the final protein extract.

Protein extraction




Process-induced modifications

Mechanical pressing


Louise Juul

Aarhus University

M. Danielsen

Aarhus University

C. Nebel

Aarhus University

Sophie Steinhagen

University of Gothenburg

A. Bruhn

Aarhus University

S. K. Jensen

Aarhus University

Ingrid Undeland

Chalmers, Biology and Biological Engineering, Food and Nutrition Science

T. K. Dalsgaard

Aarhus University

Algal Research

2211-9264 (ISSN)

Vol. 60 102496

Subject Categories

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Other Basic Medicine

Other Industrial Biotechnology



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