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Fucoxanthin is a xanthophyll pigment which occurs in marine brown algae (Phaeophyceae). The anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties of fucoxanthin have been widely reported. Macroalgae, particularly brown seaweeds, grow prolifically around Irish coasts, representing a valuable resource of nutraceuticals such as fucoxanthin for functional food applications. The aim of this study was to maximise the solvent extraction yield from three anatomically discrete regions of the seaweed thallus: blade, stipe, and holdfast. Response surface methodology was applied to determine optimum parameters for extraction of fucoxanthin from the seaweed, Fucus vesiculosus, as a model species. A central composite design was applied with four extraction variables: time (30–70 min), temperature (30–70 °C), solvent pH (5.0–9.0), and percentage acetone (30–70 %). Fucoxanthin content of extracts was quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. Percentage acetone was found to have the most significant (P = 0.0002) effect on fucoxanthin yield, followed by pH (P = 0.028) and temperature (P = 0.049). Multiple response optimisation determined that fucoxanthin yield from F. vesiculosus may be maximised by incubating at 30.0 °C for 36.5 min, pH 5.7, with 62.2 % acetone. Optimised responses were applied to a further nine Phaeophyceae: Alaria esculenta, Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus serratus, Himanthalia elongata, Laminaria digitata, Laminaria hyperborea, Pelvetia canaliculata, Saccharina latissima, and Saccorhiza polyschides. In all species, the blades contained significantly more fucoxanthin than stipes, while holdfasts contained the least. Alaria esculenta blade had the greatest yield (0.870 mg g−1 dry mass), followed by F. vesiculosus blade (0.699 mg g−1) and L. digitata blade (0.650 mg g−1).
Shannon, E. and Abu-ghannam, N. (2016) Optimisation of fucoxanthin extraction from Irish seaweeds by response surface methodology. Journal of Applied Phycology, Nov. 2016. doi:10.1007/s10811-016-0983-4