Safety and quality of the green tide algal species Ulva prolifera for option of human consumption: A nutrition and contamination study

Juan Ying Li, Fengyuan Yang, Ling Jin, Qian Wang, Jie Yin, Peimin He, Yiqin Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


This study sampled U. prolifera and surface seawater from the same locations where green tide broke out in the southern Yellow Sea, in both the year 2016 and 2017. The revealed nutritive components of U. prolifera samples characterized U. prolifera as a high-protein, high-Fe, high ratio of unsaturated lipid acids and low-fat seaweed food, with an ideal ratio of essential and nonessential amino acids. The concentrations and health risk assessment of major micropollutants (heavy metals, pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAHs)) in U. prolifera were also analyzed, respectively. The results showed that the Target Hazard Quotient values of five heavy metals (<1.0 × 10−1) and the total hazard index of 13 pesticides (<1.5 × 10−8) were lower than the unity, respectively, and the incremental lifetime cancer risk values of PAHs (<7.4 × 10−7) were lower than the USEPA limit (1.0 × 10−6). It suggested that consuming U. prolifera is safe as a food-source option, with PAHs causing relatively higher risks. PAHs from the sites closer to the shore were also found more originated from pyrolysis. We further confirmed the PAH congeners were partly in equilibrium between seawater and U. prolifera. It suggested the possibility that the food safety-risk turned to be above the USEPA limit was not high regardless of the sample collecting time. However, the sources of PAHs and their contributions to the accumulation in U. prolifera need further investigation. This study favored that U. prolifera of the green tide from the southern Yellow Sea has a potential for a nutritious-food production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1028
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Food-resource option
  • Green tides
  • Heavy metals
  • PAHs
  • Pesticides
  • U. Prolifera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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