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Biotecnología

Identification, selection and characterization of bioactive substances

Bioactive substances

Description

Apart from the magnificent nutritional profile of microalgae: excellent protein profiles with a high percentage of essential amino acids, highly-digestible carbohydrates and a lipid content that varies between 1 and 70% according to species, with high percentages of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids on some occasions, these organisms contain substances capable of improving the operation of the organism, supplying well-being and reducing the risk of illness, which is the case of a number of compounds including vitamins, pigments and anti-oxidants.
From these we obtain top-quality functional elements for the preparation of designed foods. Furthermore, the biomass from certain species of microalgae is also a source of other compounds with anti-viral, anti-microbial or anti-fungal characteristics which promise to be of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. The potential is very high and to discover it, it is necessary to develop powerful techniques of screening which make it possible to increase the number of species tested in the search for these substances.
In order to speed up the tasks of screening we consider it fundamental to develop effective and rapid methods; there must be tools which make it possible to test a large number of species in short periods of time. One of the techniques which is giving the best results to the Department of Biotechnology for the search for lipogenic and carotenogenic strains is flow cytometry. In the future, we expect to develop screening methods for the detection of other molecules.

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