Marine drugs

Employment of marine polysaccharides to manufacture functional biocomposites for aquaculture feeding applications.

PMID 25939036


In this study, polysaccharides of marine origin (agar, alginate and κ-carrageenan) were used to embed nutrients to fabricate biocomposites to be employed in animal feeding. The consistency of biocomposites in water has been evaluated up to 14 days, by several methods: swelling, nutrient release and granulometric analysis. Biocomposites were produced with varying percentages of nutrients (5%-25%) and polysaccharides (1%-2%-3%). All possible biopolymer combinations were tested in order to select those with the best network strength. The best performing biocomposites were those manufactured with agar 2% and nutrients 10%, showing the lowest percentage of water absorption and nutrient release. Biocomposites made of agar 2% and nutrients 10% were the most stable in water and were therefore used to analyze their behavior in water with respect to the release of quercetin, a phenolic compound with demonstrated high antibacterial and antioxidant activities. The leaching of such molecules in water was therefore employed as a further indicator of biocomposite water stability. Altogether, our results confirm the suitability of agar as a binder for biocomposites and provide a positive contribution to aquaculture.