Polysaccharides and algal biomass as new sources of dietary fibers and their physiological effects in rats

I. Dvir, O. Geva, R. Chavoth, U. Sod-Moriah, S. Shan V, S. Arad, Z. Madar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Unicellular red algae are encapsulated within sulfated polysaccharides (ca. 50% of the biomass), the external part of which dissolves in the medium. These polysaccharides are heteropolymers, in which the main sugars are xylose, glucose, and galactose. Sulfate groups and glucuronic acid confer acidic properties on the poiysaccharide. To examine the possibility that the sulfated polysaccharides act as dietary fibers, algal biomass or the poiysaccharide alone was fed to rats, and various metabolic parameters were followed. When poiysaccharide or algal biomass (5%) was added to the rats' diet, serum cholesterol and triglycérides levels were lower by 22-30% than those of rats fed with pectin (5%) or cellulose (2%). Moreover, in rats fed with a high-cholesterol (1%) diet, both the poiysaccharide and the biomass caused a 28-39% decrease in cholesterol and triglycéride levels. The poiysaccharide was not fermented by fecal microflora; inhibited starch digestion; and caused an increase in the length of the small and large intestines,whereas the algal biomass shortened the transit time of the food in the digestive tract. It is worth noting that feeding with the hiomass significantly elevates the cholecystokinin (CCK) level. The soluble poiysaccharide and the algal biomass-which probably have different modes of action-both constitute new and unique dietary fibers derived from red alga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A523
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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