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Immunostimulant activity of an enzymatic protein hydrolysate from green microalga Chlorella vulgaris on undernourished mice

Enzymatic protein hydrolysates have been reported as suitable sources of protein for human nutrition because of their gastrointestinal absorption, which seems to be more effective than both intact protein and free amino acids. Therefore, protein hydrolysates have been widely used in specific formula-tions, in order to improve nutritional and functional properties. These uses include clinical applications, such as hypoaller-genic infant formula, biostimulating preparations, special foods, geriatric products, therapeutic diets and sport drinks.

The protein sources most commonly used in nutritional products are casein and whey proteins. However, plant proteins are finding commercial application as an alternative to proteins from animal sources. There is also a persistent demand for innovative proteinaceous food materials and single cell protein (SCP) production is a major step in this direction. In this context, microalgae provide through photosynthesis an efficient mean of converting solar energy into biomass and in recent years, microalgal biotechnology has gained impor-tance due to the development of new production technologies.