The total protein content and the (total and free) amino acid composition of nine edible species of red, brown and green seaweeds collected in the Portuguese North-Central coast were quantified to assess their potential contribution to the recommended dietary intake. Whenever possible, the protein and amino acid composition was compared with that of commercial European seaweeds. The protein content was the highest (P < 0.05) in red species (19.1–28.2 g/100 g dw), followed by the green seaweed Ulva spp. (20.5–23.3 g/100 g dw), with the lowest content found in brown seaweeds (6.90–19.5 g/100 g dw). Brown seaweeds presented the lowest mean contents of essential amino acids (EAAs) (41.0% protein) but significantly (P < 0.05) higher concentrations of non-essential amino acids (36.1% protein) and free amino acids (6.47–24.0% protein). Tryptophan, methionine and leucine were the limiting EAAs in all species. In contrast, lysine was found in high concentrations, especially in red (2.71–3.85% protein) and green (2.84–4.24% protein) seaweeds.
- North-Central coast of Portugal
- Protein quality
- Total and free amino acids