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Title:
SEAWEED-BASED POWDER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/183377
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G') of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and wherein said powder has a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%. Further described herein is composition comprising the seaweed-based powder and a method of producing the seaweed-based powder.

Inventors:
MAZOYER, Jacques, André, Christian (1 rue de Séves, Baupte, Baupte, Baupte, FR)
AGODA-TANDJAWA, Gueba (1 rue de Séves, Baupte, Baupte, Baupte, FR)
LEROY, Helene, Christelle, Odette (1 rue de Séves, Baupte, Baupte, Baupte, FR)
LOAEC, Aurélie (1 rue de Séves, Baupte, Baupte, Baupte, FR)
Application Number:
US2019/023405
Publication Date:
September 26, 2019
Filing Date:
March 21, 2019
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
CARGILL, INCORPORATED (15407 McGinty Road West, Wayzata, MN, 55311, US)
International Classes:
A23L29/256; A23C9/154; A23K20/163; A23L29/212; A23L29/238; A23L29/244; A23L29/269; A61K8/9706; C09J11/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO2017131510A12017-08-03
WO2008050945A12008-05-02
WO2015033331A12015-03-12
WO2017204617A12017-11-30
WO2014074592A12014-05-15
WO2016085322A12016-06-02
WO2009079002A12009-06-25
Foreign References:
FR2784549A12000-04-21
EP2230895A22010-09-29
EP3246292A12017-11-22
US20180000137A12018-01-04
Other References:
LAHAYE M ET AL: "Gelling properties of water-soluble polysaccharides from proliferating marine green seaweeds (Ulva spp.)", CARBOHYDRATE POLYMERS, APPLIED SCIENCE PUBLISHERS, LTD. BARKING, GB, vol. 22, no. 4, 1 January 1993 (1993-01-01), pages 261 - 265, XP024147507, ISSN: 0144-8617, [retrieved on 19930101], DOI: 10.1016/0144-8617(93)90129-R
C. W. SCHNEIDER; M. J. WYNNE, BOTANICA MARINA, vol. 50, 2007, pages 197 - 249
G. W. SAUDERS; M. H. HOMMERSAND, AMERICAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY, vol. 91, no. 10, 2004, pages 1494 - 1507
ATHANASIADIS, A., BOCCONEA, vol. 16, no. 1, 2003, pages 193 - 198, ISSN: 1120-4060
NASELLI-FLORES L; BARONE R: "Encyclopedia of Inland Waters", vol. 1, 2009, ELSEVIER, article "Green Algae", pages: 166 - 173
JOHN D. WEHR: "Freshwater Algae of North America - Ecology and Classification", ACADEMIC PRESS, pages: 757 - 773
"Properties and Uses", 1986, CRC PRESS, INC.
AGODA-TANDJAWA, G.; DIEUDE-FAUVEL, E.; GIRAULT, R.; BAUDEZ, J.-C., CHEMICAL ENGINEERING JOURNAL, vol. 228, 2013, pages 799 - 805
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JENKINS, Jihan, A., R. (15407 McGinty Road West, Wayzata, MN, 55311, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and wherein said powder has a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%.

2. The powder according to claim 1, having a moisture content of at most 25 wt% based on the total weight of the power.

3. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the G’ is at least 50 Pa,

4. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%.

5. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder having a CIELAB L* value of at least 50.

6. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder comprising at least 1 wt% of a dietary fibre component based on the powder’s total weight.

7. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder containing at least 0.1 wt% of a protein component based on the powder’s total weight.

8. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder having a CP content of at most 20 wt% relative to the weight of the powder.

9. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder having an amount of acid insoluble material (AIM) of at most 50 wt% relative to the weight of the powder.

10. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, said powder having an amount of acid insoluble ashes (AIA) of at most 5.0 wt% relative to the weight of the powder.

11. The powder according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the seaweed is chosen from the group of seaweeds consisting of Porphyra sp. , Palmaria palmata, Eucheuma spinosum, Eucheuma denticulatum, Eucheuma sp., Eucheuma cottonii (also known as Kappaphycus alvarezii ), Kappaphycus striatus, Kappaphycus sp., Chondrus crispus, Irish moss, Fucus crispus, Chondrus sp, Sarcothalia crispata, Mazzaella laminaroides, Mazzaella sp., Chondracanthus acicularis, Chondracanthus chamissoi, Chondracanthus sp., Gigartina pistilla, Gigartina mammillosa, Gigartina skottsbergii, Gigartina sp., Gracilaria sp, Gelidium sp., Mastocarpus stellatus and mixtures thereof.

12. A composition comprising the powder of any one of the preceding claims, and an additional compound, said compound being in a powdery or non-powdery form, said product being chosen from the group consisting of guar gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, cassia gum, tara gum, konjac gum, alginate, agar, carrageenan , beta 1,3 glucans, starch and combinations thereof.

13. A food, feed, personal care, pharmaceutical or industrial product comprising the powder or the composition of any one of the preceding claims.

14. The product of claim 13, said product being a dairy product.

15. A method of producing the seaweed-based powder of any one of claims 1-11, comprising the steps of:

a. Providing a biomass containing seaweed and water, and having a dry solids (DS) content of at least 5 wt%.

b. Subjecting the biomass to an exudation process to exude the water present inside the seaweed and obtaining an exudated biomass containing an exudated seaweed;

c. Optionally drying the exudated biomass to a moisture level of at most 40 wt% to obtain a dried, exudated biomass;

d. Cooking the exudated biomass in a brine solution to obtain a cooked biomass; e. Optionally washing and/or drying the cooked biomass; and

f. Transforming the cooked biomass of step d) or e) into a seaweed-based powder.

Description:
SEAWEED-BASED POWDER

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates to a seaweed-based powder for use in food, beverages, nutritional products, dietary supplements, feed, personal care applications, pharmaceutical applications and industrial applications. The present invention also relates to a method for the manufacturing of the seaweed-based powder.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] It is believed that the amount of seaweed production in the world is in the order of 20,000,000 t/year. Recently, improved ways of cultivating and harvesting of seaweeds were developed not only to increase production but also to enable a more efficient growth control. EP 2 230 895, EP 3 246 292 and WO 2017/131510 disclose examples of a cultivating system of seaweeds. However, in spite of recent developments in cultivating and harvesting seaweeds it is believed that the seaweeds produced still lack the versatility to be effectively used in a large range of applications.

[0003] Seaweeds are plant-like organisms that generally live attached to rock or other hard substrata in marine environments. Seaweeds may be microscopic such as microalgae but also enormous such as giant kelp that grows in“forests” and tower like underwater woods from their holdfasts at the bottom of the sea. Most of the seaweed species are either green (more than 6500 species), brown (about 2000 species), or red (about 7000 species) kinds.

[0004] Since hundreds of years, people recognized that seaweeds are beneficial for human as well as animal health and recently, various studies demonstrated that seaweeds are effective as fat substitutes. As people become more aware of the relation between diet and health, the consumption of seaweeds has been and is increasingly gaining attention. Nowadays, many new food products based on seaweeds have been developed and marketed, offering enhanced health benefits and the potential to decrease the risk of diseases. In addition to the vast health benefits when consumed directly or after minor pre-processing as dietary supplements, the seaweeds have a range of natural functional properties such as nutritional, physicochemical and textural properties; and when used as ingredients to manufacture various products, seaweeds may transfer to these products their advantageous functional properties. [0005] For example, seaweeds exhibit water holding and rheological properties and have a natural ability to increase viscosity, form gels and/or act as emulsifiers. However, despite their excellent properties, seaweeds are far from being regarded as a commodity and this is mainly due to their low processing suitability. Most often, seaweeds are used as harvested, i.e.

unprocessed, to modify or enhance various rheological properties of products manufactured therefrom. However, since freshly harvested seaweeds have a reduced shelf life, men used to dry them in order to extend their storage properties and grind or crush them into a powder, often called flour, in order to handle or pack the seaweeds more easily. US 2018/0000137 discloses a flour of crushed algae; WO 2008/050945, WO 2015/033331 and WO 2017/204617 disclose products such as bio-composites, personal care compositions and hard capsules made from grinded dry and wet seaweed; and several kinds of seaweed flours are available commercially and can even be ordered online.

[0006] One drawback of such processing is that a dried and crushed seaweed may lose its natural rheological properties. It was observed that the commercially available seaweed flours and those manufactured according to known processes may have a reduced ability to enhance viscosity and form gels. There are two main rheological requirements that define the capacity of a flour to form a gel suitable for being used in a large range of applications; and these are (i) the capability of the flour to produce a gel with an optimum strength, and (ii) the amount of the flour needed to produce the gel.

[0007] It seems that some of the commercial seaweed-based flours are able to provide a relatively strong gel. However, in order to produce the gel, large amounts of flour are needed. Using large amounts of a seaweed-based flour may deleteriously affect other properties of the products utilizing thereof, e.g. dispersability, colour, odour, taste, mouthfeel, consistency, appearance and smoothness.

[0008] On the other hand, some commercial seaweed-based flours can produce a gel even at relatively low amounts. However, it was observed that these flours only produce a weak gel. The disadvantage of not having an optimum gel strength is that such gels may have unsuitable characteristics for being utilized in most applications and hence the usefulness of the flour is reduced.

[0009] An alternative to using seaweeds is distilling various seaweed-extracts therefrom.

Such processes, as for example the one disclosed in WO 2014/074592, are typically using more or less harsh chemicals to produce extracts having particular functionalities, which can be stored for increased period of time and can be used as additives in relatively low quantities to improve or enhance the properties of products containing thereof. Examples of such extracts include various mucilaginous materials as for example alginate, agar and the like. These extracts have highly superior rheological properties when compared with those of the seaweeds from which they were extracted, and find good applications, e.g. as thickeners, in various industries.

However, the nutritional benefits of the seaweed extracts is much reduced when compared to those of the seaweeds.

[0010] There is therefore a need for a seaweed-based product which not only preserves the nutritional, physicochemical and health benefits of the unprocessed seaweeds but also has superior rheological properties. In particular, there is a need for a seaweed-based product which has the ability of producing a gel having an optimum strength and in addition it can be used in amounts which do not influence, or influence to a lesser extent, other properties of the products containing thereof. There is also a need for a natural, i.e. non-chemically modified, seaweed- based product having the above-mentioned desirable properties.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0011] The present invention provides a seaweed-based powder having improved functionality, i.e. having excellent rheological properties, as well as largely possessing the nutritional and health benefits of the seaweed utilized to make said powder. The seaweed-based powder of the present invention has the capacity to produce gels having an optimum strength for the intended application. Also to produce the gel, they can be used in amounts sufficiently low not to influence, or influence to a lesser extent, other properties of a product containing thereof.

[0012] In particular, the invention provides a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and wherein said powder has a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%.

[0013] The invention also provides a natural process of producing the seaweed-based powder in accordance with the invention (hereinafter the“ inventive powder”). The natural process of the invention (hereinafter the“ inventive process”) utilizes only natural thermal and mechanical treatments and harmless ingredients and does not use harsh chemicals such as alkaline bases, oxidizing or bleaching agents, acids or alcohols. The only added products used are water and natural salts typically found in the sea and hence in the seaweed itself, e.g. KC1. An additional advantage of the inventive process may be that it may preserve the nutritious and health benefits of the seaweed. [0014] It is therefore believed that the utilization of the inventive powder in the manufacturing of various products, not only imparts those products with excellent rheological properties and textures, but may also improve the health-related properties of said products. In addition, the inventive powder has a lesser impact on other properties of products containing thereof such as colour, taste, odour, mouthfeel, appearance and the like.

[0015] For examples, in the case of food products, the utilization of the inventive powder may improve the resistance against different diseases (e.g. obesity, dyslipidaemia, hypertension, diabetes).

[0016] The inventors also observed that in accordance with the circumstances of utilization, the inventive powder may allow an optimum modulation, alteration and/or adaptation of the properties of products containing thereof, e.g. rheological properties, and may allow a designer of such products to reduce the number of ingredients in such products and hence simplify their recipes.

[0017] When used in food products for example, the inventive dispersion may positively influence not only the texture, flow, mouthfeel and/or ingestion of said products but it may also favourably impact the biological mechanisms of digestion and/or deliver desired physiological impacts.

[0018] When used in personal care products, the inventive dispersion may positively influence the appearance of the product and allow for an optimum transfer of active materials present in such products to hair, skin or other places in need of care. The same may be true for pharmaceutical products also.

[0019] Other advantages of the inventive dispersion will become apparent from the detailed description of the invention given hereunder.

EXPLANATION OF THE FIGURES

Figure 1 shows the methodology to determine the Co of a seaweed-based powder sample.

Figure 2 shows a comparison of rheological properties for creamy desserts manufactured with the inventive powder and with standard texturizers.

Figure 3 shows a comparison of rheological properties for gelled desserts manufactured with the inventive powder and with standard texturizers. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] The invention relates to a seaweed-based powder. The type of seaweed may be selected from numerous types of seaweeds. In the present context by“seaweed” is understood a macroscopic, multicellular, marine algae which can grow in the wild or can be farmed. Wild seaweeds typically grow in the benthic region of the sea or ocean without cultivation or care from humans. Farmed seaweeds are typically cultivated on various supports like ropes, fabrics, nets, tube-nets, etc., which are typically placed below the surface of the sea or ocean. Seaweeds may also be farmed in pools, ponds, tanks or reactors containing seawater and placed on the shore or inland. The term“seaweed” includes members of the red, brown and green seaweeds.

[0021] Throughout this document, certain taxonomies of seaweeds’ families, genera, etc. are used. The referred taxonomies are those typically used in the art of seaweed cultivation and harvesting and/or in the art of seaweed extracts. An explanation of the taxonomies of red seaweeds are for example given by C. W. Schneider and M. 1. Wynne in Botanica Marina 50 (2007): 197-249; by G. W. Sauders and M. H. Hommersand in American Journal of Botany 91 (10): 1494-1507, 2004; and by Athanasiadis, A. in Bocconea 16(1): 193-198.2003. - ISSN 1120-4060. An explanation of the taxonomies of green seaweeds is for example given by Naselli-Flores L and Barone R. (2009) Green Algae. In: Gene E. Likens, (Editor) Encyclopedia of Inland Waters volume 1, pp. 166-173 Oxford: Elsevier. An explanation of the taxonomies of brown seaweeds is for example given by John D. Wehr in Freshwater Algae of North America - Ecology and Classification, Edition: 1, Chapter: 22, Publisher: Academic Press, Editors: John D. Wehr, Robert G. Sheath, pp.757-773.

[0022] Preferably, the seaweed used in accordance with the invention is a red seaweed, i.e. a seaweed belonging to Rhodophyta phylum; or a brown seaweed, i.e. orders, families and genera in the class Phaeophycaeae. Red seaweeds have a characteristic red or purplish colour imparted by pigments present in the seaweed and called phycobilin, e.g. phycoerythrin.

[0023] More preferably, the seaweed is a red seaweed selected from the families of

Gigartinaceae, Bangiophyceae, Palmariaceae , Hypneaceae, Cystocloniaceae, Solieriaceae, Phyllophoraceae and Furcellariaceae or combinations thereof. Most preferably, the seaweed is selected from the genera of Bangiales, Chondrus, Iridaea, Palmaria, Gigartina, Gracilaria, Gelidium, Rhodoglossum, Hypnea, Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Agarchiella, Gymnogongrus, Sarcothalia, Phyllophora, Ahnfeltia, Mazzaella, Mastocarpus, Chondracanthus , Furcellaria and mixtures thereof. [0024] Best results were obtained when the seaweed was chosen from the group of seaweeds consisting of Porphyra sp., Palmaria palmata, Eucheuma spinosum, Eucheuma denticulatum, Eucheuma sp., Eucheuma cottonii (also known as Kappaphycus alvarezii), Kappaphycus striatus, Kappaphycus sp. , Chondrus crispus, Irish moss, Fucus crispus, Chondrus sp, Sarcothalia crispata, Mazzaella laminaroides, Mazzaella sp., Chondracanthus acicularis, Chondracanthus chamissoi, Chondracanthus sp., Gigartina pistilla, Gigartina mammillosa, Gigartina skottsbergii, Gigartina sp., Gracilaria sp, Gelidium sp., Mastocarpus stellatus and mixtures thereof.

[0025] It is known that some of the red seaweeds, e.g. Kappaphycus alvarezii, may have green or brown strains; however, within the context of the present invention when mentioning for example that the seaweed is a red seaweed, it is herein meant the phylum and not the colour of the strains.

[0026] Most preferred brown seaweeds are those chosen from the families Acsophyllum,

Durvillaea, Ecklonia, Hyperborea, Laminaria, Lessonia, Macrocystis, Fucus and Sargassum. Specific examples of brown seaweeds include Bull Kelp ( Durvillae potatorum), Durvillae species, D. antarctica and Knotted Kelp ( Ascophyllum nosodum).

[0027] The inventors observed that inventive powders obtained from green (i.e. the seaweeds belonging to the groups Chlorophyta and Charophyta) and brown seaweeds, were mostly advantageous in the manufacturing of feed or industrial products.

[0028] By seaweed-based powder is herein understood a collection of seaweed particles, i.e. said powder contains seaweed particles. Said particles may be obtained by processing the seaweed in accordance with the method of the invention. Preferably, the seaweed particles have a D50 of preferably at least 20 pm, more preferably at least 50 pm, even more preferably at least 75 pm, even more preferably at least 85 pm, most preferably at least 120 pm. Preferably, said D50 is at most 750 pm, more preferably at most 500 pm, even more preferably at most 350 pm, most preferably at most 250 pm. Preferably, said D50 is between 20 pm and 750 pm, more preferably between 50 pm and 350 pm, most preferably between 75 pm and 250 pm.

[0029] Preferably, the seaweed particles forming the inventive powder have a D90 of preferably at least 125 pm, more preferably at least 100 pm, even more preferably at least 175 pm, most preferably at least 220 pm. Preferably, said D90 is at most 800 pm, more preferably at most 600 pm, most preferably at most 400 pm. Preferably, said D90 is between 125 pm and 800 pm, more preferably between 175 pm and 600 pm, most preferably between 220 pm and 400 pm. [0030] Preferably, the seaweed particles have a D50 of at least 20 pm and a D90 of at least 125 pm, more preferably a D50 of at least 50 pm and a D90 of at least 175 pm, most preferably a D50 of at least 75 pm and a D90 of at least 220 pm.

[0031] Preferably, the inventive powder is a dry powder. By dry powder is herein understood a powder having a moisture content of at most 25 wt% based on the total weight of the powder. Preferably, the moisture content is at least 4 wt%, more preferably at least 6 wt%, even more preferably at least 8 wt%, most preferably at least 10 wt%. Preferably, said moisture content is at most 20 wt%, more preferably at most 15 wt%, most preferably at most 12 wt%. Preferably, said moisture content is between 4 wt% and 20 wt%, more preferably between 6 wt% and 15 wt%, most preferably between 8 wt% and 12 wt%. It was observed that a too dry powder in accordance with the invention may be costly to produce, while a too wet powder may have a slightly reduced shelf life.

[0032] Preferably, the seaweed-based powder of the invention contains at least 80% dry basis of seaweed particles, more preferably at least 90% dry basis, even more preferably at least 92% dry basis, most preferably at least 96% wt% dry basis. The remaining wt% up to 100 wt% may contain foreign materials other than the seaweed particles. Examples of foreign materials include impurities and/or unwanted minerals (i.e. minerals harmful to human or animal health) typically remaining between the seaweed particles after the processing of the seaweed. It is desirable that the presence of foreign materials is minimized, e.g. by carefully cleaning and processing the seaweed into the inventive powder.

[0033] The inventors observed that the inventive powder has functional properties when dispersed in an aqueous media, i.e. said powder helps in adjusting the rheological properties and stabilizing the products containing thereof to levels that couldn’t have been achieved hitherto by existing seaweed flours.

[0034] The inventive powder has a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%.

[0035] The inventive powder has a G’ of at least 30 Pa, Preferably, the inventive powder has a G’ of at least 35 Pa, more preferably at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. [0036] The invention also provides a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus

(G’) of at least 50 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and wherein said powder has a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%.

[0037] The functionality of the inventive powder can be varied within wide ranges depending on the type of seaweed used as the raw material in the production of said powder. For example, inventive powders having a G’ value at least 30 Pa and even at least 50 Pa may be obtained from Spinosum, while higher G’ of at least 120 Pa and even at least 180 Pa, can be obtained from Chondrus or Cottonii, respectively.

[0038] The storage modulus G’ is commonly used to analyse the rheological properties of products, most often said products being used to make dispersions. G’ is a measure of a deformation energy stored in the dispersion during the application of shear forces and provides an excellent indication of the capability of said product to influence dispersion’s viscoelastic behaviour. For the purpose of the invention, G’ was measured on an aqueous medium containing a reduced amount of 0.3 wt% of inventive powder relative to the total weight of the aqueous medium. It is highly desirable to achieve dispersions having G’ values as high as possible at powder concentrations as low as possible.

[0039] By“aqueous dispersion” containing the inventive powder is herein understood a composition wherein said powder is dispersed in the aqueous medium, said aqueous medium preferably forming a continuous phase. Preferably, said powder is homogeneously dispersed in said medium. The powder may be dispersed inside the aqueous medium (i.e. in the bulk) but can also be present at any interface present in said aqueous medium, e.g. the interface between water and any component other than the powder, e.g. oil. Examples of dispersions include without limitation suspensions, emulsions, solutions and the like.

[0040] The term“aqueous medium” as used herein means a liquid medium which contains water, non-limiting example thereof including pure water, a water solution and a water suspension, but also aqueous liquid mediums such as those contained by dairy products, e.g. reconstituted skimmed milk, milk, yoghurt and the like; by personal care products such as lotions, creams, ointments and the like; and pharmaceutical products. Within the context of the present invention, most preferred aqueous medium for the determination of the G’ is reconstituted skimmed milk and therefore the G’ was measured on a solution of reconstituted skimmed milk containing 0.3 wt% of inventive powder relative to the total weight of the solution. [0041] The inventors observed that, due to its optimum rheological properties, when adding the inventive powder to food products and in particular to dairy products, the manufacturing of products having excellent textures is facilitated, obtaining e.g. smooth and/or shiny textures; excellent mouthfeel, e.g. creamy and/or thick mouthfeel. Moreover, due to its excellent functional properties, the inventive powder may facilitate the production of spoonable, semi-gelled or gelled products. When varying the amount of the inventive powder in products, the texture thereof may be adjusted to have the desired consistency, balance and character, therefore allowing the manufacturing of products with optimum appearances, textures and mouthfeel. Such advantageous properties were to inventors’ knowledge never achieved hitherto in products utilizing seaweed-based ingredients. The inventive powder may also have the necessary functionality needed to adjust and/or increase the viscosity, cohesiveness and firmness of products containing thereof but also to stabilize proteins and particulate matter inside said products.

[0042] A large variety of products and in particular food products can benefit from the advantageous properties of the inventive powder, non-limiting examples of food products including chilled or ambient stable desserts with gelled, aerated or creamy texture, e.g. flan, creme dessert, creme caramel, pudding, egg based-desserts, custard, Vla, mousses, whipped cream, aerated toppings, multi-layered desserts; coffee creamers; beverages and in particular dairy drinks e.g. flavoured milks and drinkable yoghurts, cocoa milks; creams and in particular dairy creams; and frozen desserts, these food products can be based on dairy or vegetable f at/protein sources.

[0043] Another indicator of the improved functionality of the inventive powder is its reduced critical gelling concentration (Co), i.e. a Co below 0.1 wt%. Co represents the lowest concentration of the inventive powder in an aqueous medium below which no gel-like behaviour can be observed. Co is also referred to as the critical concentration of gelation and is measured according to the methodology presented in the METHODS OF MEASUREMENT section of the description.

[0044] The inventive powder has therefore a Co of preferably at least 0.001 wt%, more preferably at least 0.005 wt%, even more preferably at least 0.010 wt%, most preferably at least 0.015 wt%. Preferably, said Co is at most 0.095 wt%, more preferably at most 0.090 wt%, even more preferably at most 0.085 wt%, most preferably at most 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%.

[0045] The present inventors noticed that the inventive powder has a combination of G’ and Co, in particular a high G’ and a low Co, that was never achieved hitherto for any seaweed- based powder or flour. In particular, the inventive powder may be used at lower concentrations to achieve increased G’ values, providing the food, feed and other product manufacturers with increased design freedom for their respective formulations, in that they may be able to add or remove constituents while maintaining optimum viscoelastic properties thereof.

[0046] The inventors also observed that the inventive powder is able to adjust the rheological properties of products containing thereof up to a desired consistency, behaviour, texture, stability. This ability is particularly important during said products’ transportation when the products may be subjected to shocks and high gravity forces (G-forces) which in turn may cause the various ingredients within said product to separate and even ooze out therefrom. This ability is also particularly important during storage and in particular long term storage since again ingredients’ separation and/or leakage may occur. Such unwanted effects may

deleteriously influence the texture, rheology and visual appearance of the products and is hence highly undesired.

[0047] The inventive powder has also an excellent appearance as expressed for example in terms of its whiteness. In particular, the inventive powder may have a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. Preferably, the inventive powder has a CIELAB a* value of at most 5.0, more preferably at most 3.5, most preferably at most 2.0. Preferably, the inventive powder has a CIELAB b* value of at most 20, more preferably at most 17, most preferably at most 15.

[0048] The inventive powder also has reduced odour and is largely tasteless. These are excellent attributes when a“neutral” ingredient is needed for the manufacturing of products with certain textures, mouthfeel, appearance and the like.

[0049] Another benefit of the inventive powder is the presence of dietary fibers in the seaweed forming the particles thereof and in particular the presence of soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Fibers come in two forms, soluble and insoluble, which are characterized by both their physical characteristics and their physiological effects. Soluble fibers are soluble in water and comprises constituents such as gums, being considered to provide added health benefits, e.g. coating the lining of the digestive track, delaying the emptying of stomach constituents and slowing the rate of sugar absorption. In contrast, insoluble fibers are comprised of substances like cellulose and hemicelluloses like glucomannan and glucans and are the indigestible portion. Such fibers add bulk and may improve the movement of food through the digestive track.

[0050] The inventive powder preferably comprises at least 1 wt% of a dietary fibre component based on the powder’s total weight, more preferably at least 5 wt%, most preferably at least 10 wt%. Preferably, the fibre content is at most 90 wt%, more preferably at most 80 wt%, most preferably at most 70 wt%. The dietary fibre content can be adjusted for example by choosing a specific seaweed having the desired dietary fibre content and/or utilizing blends of seaweeds to achieve thereof.

[0051] Another benefit of the inventive powder is the presence of proteins in the seaweed forming the particles thereof. Preferably, the inventive powder contains at least 0.1 wt% of a protein component based on the powder’s total weight, more preferably at least 0.5 wt%, most preferably at least 1.0 wt%. Preferably, the protein content is at most 70 wt%, more preferably at most 60 wt%, most preferably at most 50 wt%. The protein content can be adjusted for example by choosing a specific seaweed having the desired protein content and/or utilizing blends of seaweed to achieve thereof.

[0052] Depending on the type of seaweed used to manufacture the inventive powder, said powder may naturally contain (i.e. without addition) beneficial nutrients other than proteins and dietary fibers, e.g. colouring substances like b-carotene, vitamins, free fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, antioxidants like polyphenols, phytosterols etc.

[0053] Preferably, the inventive powder is gluten free. More preferably, the inventive powder is wheat-, grain-, nut- and gluten-free. Preferably, the inventive powder is a non- chemically modified powder. By non-chemically modified powder is herein understood a powder manufactured by a natural process, i.e. without the use of the harsh chemicals mentioned hereinabove, as for example the inventive process.

[0054] Preferably, the inventive powder has a Cl content of at most 20 wt% relative to the weight of the powder, more preferably at most 15 wt%, even more preferably at most 10 wt%, most preferably at most 5 wt%. Preferably, said Cl content is at least 0.01 wt%, more preferably at least 0.1 wt%, most preferably at least 1 wt%. It was observed that when the inventive powder has a Cl content within the preferred ranges, it’s functionality was improved.

[0055] Preferably, the inventive powder contains an amount of acid insoluble material

(AIM) of at most 50 wt% relative to the weight of the powder, more preferably at most 40 wt%, even more preferably at most 30 wt%, most preferably at most 20 wt%. Preferably, said AIM content is at least 1 wt%, more preferably at least 5 wt%, most preferably at least 10 wt%. It was observed that when the inventive powder has an AIM content within the preferred ranges, it’s nutritional properties were optimized.

[0056] Preferably, the inventive powder contains an amount of acid insoluble ashes (AIA) of at most 5.0 wt% relative to the weight of the powder, more preferably at most 3.0 wt%, even more preferably at most 1.0 wt%, most preferably at most 0.80 wt%. Preferably, said AIA content is at least 0.01 wt%, more preferably at least 0.05 wt%, most preferably at least 0.10 wt%. It was observed that an inventive powder having an AIA content within the preferred ranges, is more suitable for use in food, personal care and pharmaceutical products as it does not introduce, or introduce to a lesser extent, foreign materials into said products, which in turn may require additional purification steps of said products.

[0057] The invention further relates to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus

(G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%, wherein the seaweed is a red seaweed, i.e. a seaweed belonging to Rhodophyta phylum. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co of said powder is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 90 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 120 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. Preferably, the seaweed is a red seaweed selected from the families of Gigartinaceae, Bangiophyceae, Palmariaceae, Hypneaceae, Cystocloniaceae, Solieriaceae, Phyllophoraceae and Furcellariaceae or combinations thereof. Most preferably, the seaweed is selected from the genera of Bangiales, Chondrus, Iridaea, Palmaria, Gigartina, Gracilaria, Gelidium, Rhodoglossum, Hypnea, Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Agarchiella, Gymnogongrus, Sarcothalia, Phyllophora, Ahnfeltia, Mazzaella, Mastocarpus, Chondr acanthus, Furcellaria and mixtures thereof.

[0058] The invention further relates to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus

(G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%, wherein the seaweed is a red seaweed chosen from the group of seaweeds consisting of Porphyra sp. , Palmaria palmata, Eucheuma spinosum, Eucheuma denticulatum, Eucheuma sp., Eucheuma cottonii (also known as

Kappaphycus alvarezii ), Kappaphycus striatus, Kappaphycus sp., Chondrus crispus, Irish moss, Fucus crispus, Chondrus sp, Sarcothalia crispata, Mazzaella laminaroides, Mazzaella sp., Chondracanthus acicularis, Chondracanthus chamissoi, Chondracanthus sp., Gigartina pistilla, Gigartina mammillosa, Gigartina skottsbergii, Gigartina sp., Gracilaria sp, Gelidium sp., Mastocarpus stellatus and mixtures thereof. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co of said powder is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 90 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 120 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. Preferably, the seaweed is chosen from the group consisting of Eucheuma spinosum, Eucheuma cottonii (also known as Kappaphycus alvarezii), Chondrus crispus Irish moss and mixtures thereof. [0059] The invention further relates to (i) a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%, wherein the seaweed is Eucheuma spinosum; or (ii) to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%, wherein the seaweed is Eucheuma cottonii (also known as

Kappaphycus alvarezii), or (iii) to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder and a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.1 wt%, wherein the seaweed is Chondrus crispus. The following preferred ranges are applicable to each one (i)-(iii) of the 3 given variants. Preferably, the G’ of at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 40 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 90 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 120 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80.

[0060] The invention further relates to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus

(G’) of at least 30 Pa. Preferably, the seaweed is a red seaweed, i.e. a seaweed belonging to Rhodophyta phylum. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co of said powder is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 90 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 120 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. Preferably, the seaweed is a red seaweed selected from the families of Gigartinaceae, Bangiophyceae, Palmariaceae, Hypneaceae, Cystocloniaceae, Solieriaceae, Phyllophoraceae and Furcellariaceae or combinations thereof. Most preferably, the seaweed is selected from the genera of Bangiales, Chondrus, Iridaea, Palmaria, Gigartina, Gracilaria, Gelidium, Rhodoglossum, Hypnea, Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Agarchiella, Gymnogongrus, Sarcothalia, Phyllophora, Ahnfeltia, Mazzaella, Mastocarpus, Chondr acanthus, Furcellaria and mixtures thereof.

[0061] The invention further relates to a seaweed-based powder having a critical gelling concentration (Co) of at most 0.05 wt%, wherein the seaweed is a red seaweed, i.e. a seaweed belonging to Rhodophyta phylum. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 30Pa, preferably at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co of said powder is between 0.001 and 0.050 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.045 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.040 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.035 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 40 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 90 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a G’ of at least 120 Pa and a Co of between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, said powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. Preferably, the seaweed is a red seaweed selected from the families of Gigartinaceae, Bangiophyceae, Palmariaceae, Hypneaceae, Cystocloniaceae, Solieriaceae, Phyllophoraceae and Furcellariaceae or combinations thereof. Most preferably, the seaweed is selected from the genera of Bangiales, Chondrus, Iridaea, Palmaria, Gigartina, Gracilaria, Gelidium, Rhodoglossum, Hypnea, Eucheuma, Kappaphycus, Agarchiella, Gymnogongrus, Sarcothalia, Phyllophora, Ahnfeltia, Mazzaella, Mastocarpus, Chondr acanthus, Furcellaria and mixtures thereof.

[0062] The invention further relates to (i) a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 25 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder, wherein the seaweed is Eucheuma spinosum; or (ii) to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 20 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder, wherein the seaweed is Eucheuma cottonii (also known as Kappaphycus alvarezii), or (iii) to a seaweed-based powder having a storage modulus (G’) of at least 30 Pa as determined on a 0.3 wt% aqueous dispersion of said powder, wherein the seaweed is Chondrus crispus. The following preferred ranges are applicable to each one (i)-(iii) of the 3 given variants. Preferably, the G’ is at least 30 Pa, preferably at least 40 Pa, more preferably at least 50 Pa, more preferably at least 60 Pa, more preferably at least 70 Pa, more preferably at least 90 Pa, even more preferably at least 110 Pa, most preferably at least 120 Pa. Preferably, said G’ is at most 500 Pa, more preferably at most 400 Pa, even more preferably at most 300 Pa, most preferably at most 200 Pa. Preferably, the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. More preferably, Co is between 0.001 and 0.080 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.060 wt%, even more preferably between 0.010 and 0.050 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.040 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 40 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 90 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the G’ is at least 120 Pa and the Co is between 0.001 and 0.100 wt%, more preferably between 0.005 and 0.090 wt%, most preferably between 0.010 and 0.080 wt%. Preferably, the powder has a CIELAB L* value of at least 50, preferably at least 60, preferably at least 70, preferably at least 74, more preferably at least 76, even more preferably at least 78, most preferably at least 80. [0063] The inventors also surprisingly observed that the inventive powder has properties that allow products containing thereof to maintain optimum palatability. Palatability includes factors such as taste, flavour and colour. The known seaweed-based flours have a seawater-like taste and odour and a dark brownish colour, which makes them unsuitable for utilisation in products which require neutral ingredients, e.g. dairy products. The inventors observed that the inventive powder does not have such drawbacks or has them to a lesser extent than the known flours. Such advantageous properties were to inventors’ knowledge never provided hitherto by any seaweed-based powder or flour.

[0064] The invention also provides a composition comprising the inventive powder and an additional compound, said compound being in a powdery or non-powdery form. The additional compound can be chosen from the group consisting of additives; preservatives; vitamins; sterols like phytosterols; antioxidants like polyphenols; beneficial minerals for human nutrition; whole vegetable extracts; hydrocolloids or gums like glucomannans, galactomannans, cellulose (microfibrillated cellulose, cellulose gel), alginate, carrageenan ulvan, laminarin and other 1,3 beta-glucans; starch; dextrins; sugars like sucrose, glucose; polyols like mannitol, erythritol, glycerol, sorbitol, xylitol, maltitol; protein or protein hydrolysate like plants or vegetables proteins and dairy proteins; oils and fat; surfactants; powdered lecithin and combinations thereof. The amount of the additional compound can vary widely depending on the application of the composition, for most applications said amount being typically between 0.01 wt% and 99 wt% based on the total weight of the composition.

[0065] The invention also provides a composition comprising the inventive powder and a gum, wherein the gum is preferably chosen from the group consisting of guar gum, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, cassia gum, tara gum, konjac gum, alginate, agar, carrageenan , beta 1,3 glucans, starch and combinations thereof. Preferably, the gum is used in an amount of at least 5 wt% based on the total weight of the composition, more preferably at least 20 wt%, even more preferably at least 30 wt%, most preferably at least 50 wt%. Preferably, the gum amount is at most 90 wt%, more preferably at most 70 wt%, even more preferably at most 50 wt%, most preferably at most 20 wt%.

[0066] The invention also provides a composition comprising the inventive powder and a starch. Preferably, the starch is used in an amount of at least 5 wt% based on the total weight of the composition, more preferably at least 20 wt%, even more preferably at least 30 wt%, most preferably at least 50 wt%. Preferably, the starch amount is at most 90 wt%, more preferably at most 70 wt%, even more preferably at most 50 wt%, most preferably at most 30 wt%. The starch used in this invention may be any starch derived from any native source. A native starch as used herein, is one as it is found in nature. Also suitable are starches derived from a plant obtained by any known breeding techniques. Typical sources for the starches are cereals, tubers and holdfasts, legumes and fruits. The native source can be any variety, including without limitation, com, potato, sweet potato, barley, wheat, rice, sago, amaranth, tapioca (cassava), arrow-holdfast, canna, pea, banana, oat, rye, triticale, and sorghum, as well as low amylose (waxy) and high amylose varieties thereof. Low amylose or waxy varieties is intended to mean a starch containing at most 10% amylose by weight, preferably at most 5%, more preferably at most 2% and most preferably at most 1% amylose by weight of the starch. High amylose varieties is intended to mean a starch which contains at least 30% amylose, preferably at least 50% amylose, more preferably at least 70% amylose, even more preferably at least 80% amylose, and most preferably at least 90% amylose, all by weight of the starch. The starch may be physically treated by any method known in the art to mechanically alter the starch, such as by shearing or by changing the granular or crystalline nature of the starch, and as used herein is intended to include conversion and pregelatinization. Methods of physical treatment known in the art include ball-milling, homogenization, high shear blending, high shear cooking such as jet cooking or in a homogenizer, drum drying, spray-drying, spray cooking, chilsonation, roll milling and extrusion, and thermal treatments of low (e.g. at most 2 wt%) and high (above 2 wt%) moisture containing starch. The starch may be also chemically modified by treatment with any reagent or combination of reagents known in the art. Chemical modifications are intended to include crosslinking, acetylation, organic esterification, organic etherification,

hydroxy alkylation (including hydroxypropylation and hydroxy ethylation), phosphorylation, inorganic esterification, ionic (cationic, anionic, nonionic, and zwitterionic) modification, succination and substituted succination of polysaccharides. Also included are oxidation and bleaching. Such modifications are known in the art, for example in Modified starches: Properties and Uses. Ed. Wurzburg, CRC Press, Inc., Florida (1986).

[0067] The inventors observed that the compositions in accordance with the invention may be useful in positively influencing mixing, sheeting, extrusion, baking, frying, and roasting characteristics of human and animal food; in advantageously modifying the rheology of sauces, dips, beverages, soups and other liquid, semi-liquid and/or semi-solid products; in providing products with interesting textures, good appearance and the like.

[0068] The present invention also relates to a dietary composition comprising the inventive powder and a therapeutic agent such as an absorption altering agent, an appetite altering agent, a metabolism altering agent, a cholesterol altering agent or any combination thereof. Examples of such agents are given in WO 2016/085322, the disclosure thereof being incorporated herein by reference.

[0069] The present invention also relates to a pharmaceutical composition comprising the inventive powder and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier and/or an excipient and/or a diluent. The excipient/diluent/carrier(s) must be“acceptable” in the sense of being compatible with the therapeutic agent and not deleterious to the recipients thereof.

[0070] The present invention relates further to a method (the“inventive method”) of producing a seaweed-based powder, in particular the inventive powder, comprising the steps of: a) Providing a biomass containing seaweed and water, and having a dry solids (DS) content of at least 5 wt%;

b) Subjecting the biomass to an exudation process to exude the water present inside the seaweed and obtaining an exudated biomass containing an exudated seaweed;

c) Optionally drying the exudated biomass to a moisture level of at most 40 wt% to obtain a dried, exudated biomass;

d) Cooking the exudated biomass in a brine solution to obtain a cooked biomass;

e) Optionally washing and/or drying the cooked biomass; and

f) Transforming the cooked biomass of step d) or e) into a seaweed-based powder.

[0071] As used herein, the term“dry solids” (DS) is the difference between the total weight of a sample containing solids and the weight of the moisture or water content in the sample.

[0072] It is preferred that the inventive method uses live seaweed essentially unaffected by decomposition and/or fermentation. It is therefore highly desirable that the inventive method does not involve fermentation of the seaweed, i.e. it is a non-fermentative method.

[0073] In step a) of the inventive method, all parts of the seaweed can be used, e.g.

holdfasts, stem and leaves, for making the biomass. The seaweed can be used whole, cut or otherwise mechanically manipulated. Advantageously, the seaweed is used as harvested, without further mechanical manipulation. Advantageously, the seaweed is harvested by cutting, and leaving the holdfasts intact, allowing for subsequent regrowth. Another advantage of such harvesting is that it guarantees a minimum or even no presence of foreign materials, in particular impurities such as sand, stones and the like in the seaweed. Lastly, such method allows the regeneration of the ecosystem (e.g. on the sea floor) and is therefore environmentally sustainable. Ideally, the seaweed is cultivated. Preferably, at step a) of the inventive method, the utilized seaweed is a live and fresh seaweed.

[0074] The water content of the biomass includes water that may be present inside the seaweed (internal seaweed water or water of hydration); water that may have been added onto the seaweed (e.g. during cleaning thereof); and/or water that may have remained on the seaweed during its harvesting. If the seaweed as harvested does not contain the necessary amount of water to provide the required biomass, additional fresh water or seawater may be added, preferably seawater is used, most preferably seawater from the location of the harvest is used.

[0075] Preferably, the seaweed is cleaned to remove extraneous material, e.g. impurities such as stones, sand, shells, plastics, fish, crabs and other impurities that can contaminate the seaweed before or after harvest. The cleaning can be carried out by washing with fresh water or seawater, or any other cleaning method typically used for said purpose. Preferably, the cleaning is carried out with seawater from the location of harvest to preserve the seaweed. To remove eventual metallic impurities, the seaweed can pass in front of a magnet.

[0076] Preferably at step a), the biomass contains fresh seaweed and water, wherein the amount of non-intemal water is at least 5 wt% relative to the total weight of the biomass, more preferably at least 45 wt%, most preferably at least 85 wt% water.

[0077] Preferably, at step a) the biomass contains a cleaned seaweed and has a DS of at least 15 wt%, more preferably at least 30 wt%, most preferably at least 55 wt%. Preferably, the DS is at most 95 wt%, more preferably at most 85 wt%, most preferably at most 80 wt%.

Preferably, said DS is between 5 and 95 wt%, more preferably between 30 and 85 wt%, most preferably between 55 and 80 wt%.

[0078] Preferably, at step a) the biomass has a temperature of at least 5 °C, more preferably at least 10 °C, most preferably at least 20 °C. Preferably, said temperature is at most 40 °C, more preferably at most 35 °C, most preferably at most 30 °C. Preferably, said temperature is between 5 and 40 °C, more preferably between 10 and 35 °C, most preferably between 20 and 30 °C. The biomass is preferably kept at a temperature to ensure that in bulk, the biomass has a temperature within the above mentioned ranges.

[0079] It is desirable not to subject the seaweed to any chemical treatments that may degrade the seaweed, e.g. acid or alkali treatment or bleaching reagents. It is also desirable to maintain the seaweed in conditions that are ideal for the exudation process of step b) of the inventive method, such as conditions which do not expedite the desiccation of the seaweed.

Ideal conditions include storing the seaweed in shaded areas, in which the seaweed is piled together.

[0080] It is essential to carry out step b) of the inventive method on a biomass containing a seaweed capable of exuding. The process at step b) aims to exude in a carefully controlled environment the water present inside the seaweed (the water internal to the seaweed also known as the water of hydration of the seaweed), i.e. inside the holdfasts, stems and leaves thereof.

[0081] Preferably, step b) utilizes a live biomass, i.e. a biomass which was not dried between the harvest of the seaweed and the commencing of the exudation step. By“live, harvested” seaweed is herein understood a seaweed that is kept alive after harvest, has biological activity such as respiration and has the ability to exude. In clear distinction to live, harvested seaweed, dried seaweed is dead, has no biological activity such as respiration and is no longer capable of exudation. A dead seaweed may be rehydrated with water to some extent and in this case may be able to exude some of that water, however, utilizing rehydrated dead seaweed in step b) of the inventive method is less preferred. Preferably, the biomass is also fresh.

[0082] To ensure that the biomass utilized at step b) of the inventive method is a live and fresh biomass, preferably step b) takes place within 15 days from harvesting the seaweed, more preferably within 2 days from the harvest, even more preferably within 24 hours from the harvest, most preferably within 4 hours from the harvest. After carrying out step b), the exudated seaweed may still be recognizable as seaweed botanically and taxonomically as the exudation process used in the inventive method is a natural process.

[0083] Preferably, in step b), the seaweed undergoes a natural exudation process, i.e. the exudation of the seaweed is not impacted by the application of vacuum, pressure or mechanical treatments such as crushing, milling, pressing, filtering and the like. A natural exudation process is an active physiological process by which the plant cells transport components internally to the plant, i.e. mainly water, from inside to the surface of the seaweed as an exudate juice. The natural exudation process can be influenced by temperature and humidity and may take place faster when these are increased. The exudate juice typically contains water, protein, sea and seaweeds salts, pigments, phytohormones, gums, and other components. The natural exudation process is typically a healing and defensive action in response of being harvested. The escape of the juice from seaweed is comparable to sweating and occurs from vessels through pores and breaks in cell membranes. Since the exudated juice is a mineral-, protein-, gum-rich and natural juice, it can be further processed, e.g. utilized to make feed.

[0084] The exudation process at step b) preferably takes place under carefully adjusted conditions, e.g. in an environment (hereinafter the“exudation environment”) containing at least 50 wt% moisture, more preferably at least 70 wt% moisture, even more preferably at least 80 wt% moisture, even more preferably at least 90 wt% moisture, most preferably at least 95 wt% moisture. To reach the high moisture content of the exudation environment, water, preferable seawater, can be added or sprinkled onto the seaweed or inside the exudation environment.

[0085] Preferably, the exudation is carried out at an exudation temperature of at least 20 °C, more preferably of at least 30 °C, even more preferably of at least 40 °C, yet even more preferably at least 50 °C, yet even more preferably at least 60 °C, most preferably at least 70 °C. Preferably, said temperature is at most 150 °C, more preferably at most 120 °C, most preferably at most 90 °C. Preferably, said temperature is between 40 and 150 °C, more preferably between 50 and 120 °C, most preferably between 60 and 90 °C. Using such temperatures, guarantees an optimum exudation process.

[0086] The typical duration for exudation will vary by species, season of harvest, quantity of moisture present in the exudation environment and exudation temperature. Generally, the period of exudation will be at least 3 hours, preferably at least 8 hours, more preferably at least 12 hours, most preferably at least 24 hours. Preferably, the exudation period will be between 3 hours and 10 days, more preferably between 8 hours and 4 days, most preferably between 12 hours and 2 days.

[0087] The exudation process results in a biomass containing an exudated seaweed, i.e. a seaweed which is desiccated or dehydrated. Preferably said process is carried out to extract at least 5 wt% of the water present inside the seaweed, more preferably at least 10 wt%, most preferably at least 15 wt%. Preferably, the amount of extracted water is at most 50 wt% of the water present inside the seaweed, more preferably at most 30 wt%, most preferably at most 20 wt%. The amount of water inside the seaweed can be determined by taking samples of the seaweed at certain time intervals, and weighing the seaweed before and after drying it at a temperature of 120 °C until no weight change occurs. [0088] A preservative can be added to the seaweed and/or the exudate juice during the exudation process to reduce bacterial and microbial content and thereby assist the exudation process. If added, it is preferred that the preservative is used in an amount of up to 1 wt% of the seaweed or its juice. The preservative may be an anti-microbial agent, e.g. formaldehyde.

[0089] Preferably, the environment in which the exudation step is carried out is a closed environment, i.e. an environment wherein the flow of air is preferably below 1 m/s.

[0090] During the exudation process, the biomass is preferably spread evenly and too high piling up of seaweed is preferably prevented. The areal density of the biomass layer during exudation is preferably between 2 and 50 Kg/m 2 , more preferably between 5 and 20 Kg/m 2 , most preferably between 10 and 15 Kg/m 2 .

[0091] Preferably, in step b), the biomass is placed on a solid surface, which is preferably inclined to allow the exudation juice from being collected. The exudation environment is preferably created by enclosing the biomass placed on said surface within a closed,

accommodating space to prevent air flow. The accommodating space has a side part and a top part and can have any shape suitable for enclosing the biomass. Preferably, step b) takes place at the harvesting location by placing the exudation environment at a location under direct sunlight. Preferably, the accommodating space is created by using a tarpaulin, a plastic foil, glass or plastic sheets and the like. Preferably, the accommodating space is sufficiently transparent to allow for the sunlight to reach the biomass. To ensure that the humidity and temperature inside the accommodating space remain within the desired ranges, a cooling or heating device can be used. The inventors observed that such a simple setup provides excellent results.

[0092] The exudated biomass may be subjected to an optional drying process before being cooked in brine solution. The drying step preferably decreases the amount of moisture contained by the exudated biomass to at most 40 wt% based on the weight of the biomass. Preferably, the moisture content of the dried biomass is at most 35 wt%, even more preferably at most 30 wt%, most preferably at most 25 wt%. Preferably, the moisture content of said dried biomass is at least 5 wt%, more preferably at least 10 wt%, most preferably at least 15 wt%. Drying the exudated biomass before cooking, may allow an easier manipulation thereof.

[0093] After the optional drying and before being cooked, the exudated biomass is preferably rehydrated by the addition of water, which can be fresh or seaweed water. The rehydration preferably results in a rehydrated biomass having a DS of at least 20 wt%, more preferably at least 30 wt %, most preferably at least 40 wt%. Preferably, the DS is at most 80 wt%, more preferably at most 70 wt%, most preferably at most 60 wt%. Preferably, said DS is between 20 and 80 wt%, more preferably between 30 and 70 wt%, most preferably between 40 and 60 wt%.

[0094] Any drying method can be used to reduce the moisture content of the biomass. An advantageous drying method is low temperature drying using dehumidified air. Such drying method have the ability to preserve heat sensitive compounds of the seaweed such as proteins, fibers, starch and other nutrients and hence retaining seaweed quality. Other techniques may include ventilated chamber drying, oven drying, sun drying, (forced-flow) evaporation, flash drying, zeolite drying, fluidized bed drying, and the like.

[0095] The exudated biomass (whether or not dried and rehydrated), is subsequently cooked in a brine solution to obtain a cooked biomass. The brine is an aqueous solution containing at least one salt and having a salt concentration at room temperature (20 °C) of preferably at least 3 wt% relative to the total weight of the solution. Preferably, the

concentration of salts is at least 5 wt%, more preferably at least 7 wt%, most preferably at least 10 wt%. Preferably, said salt concentration is at most 50 wt%, more preferably at most 40 wt%, most preferably at most 30 wt%.

[0096] The cooking preferably takes place at a cooking temperature of at least 85 °C, more preferably at least 86 °C, even more preferably at least 88 °C, most preferably at least 90 °C. Preferably, the cooking temperature is at most 100 °C, more preferably at most 98 °C, even more preferably at most 96 °C, most preferably at most 95 °C. Preferably, the cooking temperature is between 85 and 100 °C, more preferably between 86 and 96 °C, even more preferably between 88 and 96 °C, most preferably between 90 and 95 °C.

[0097] The cooking time is preferably at least 25 minutes, more preferably at least 30 minutes most preferably at least 35 min. Preferably, the cooking time is at most 60 min, more preferably at most 55 min, even more preferably at most 50 min, most preferably at most 40 min. Preferably, the cooking time is between 25 and 60 min, more preferably between 30 and 55 min, even more preferably between 30 and 50 min, most preferably between 30 and 40 min. [0098] The cooking step can be carried out by contacting the biomass with brine solution in a bath of said solution or a succession of baths of said solution. During the cooking process, preferably enough brine solution is used to cover the seaweed entirely. Preferably care is taken to prevent evaporation of the brine solution and a change in the salt concentration, e.g. by carrying out the cooking in a closed vessel. Alternatively, water can be added during the cooking to prevent the seaweed from being exposed to air.

[0099] A brine solution which has been found to be very effective for the purpose of the invention is a solution of sodium or potassium chloride. It is however understood that any salts other than sodium or potassium chloride can be used, non-limiting examples including other chloride salts, sulphates, nitrates, carbonates, phosphates, salts of organic acids and

combinations thereof. The only qualification is that the salt should be sufficiently soluble to permit the formation of a brine solution at the required concentrations. It is also preferred that the salt is not excessively acidic nor basic in its reaction, namely, in aqueous solution, the pH of the solution is preferably between 6.0 and 10.0. If the produced seaweed-based powder is intended for being utilized in food, feed, personal care or pharma products, preferably the salt is a salt whose presence is allowed in such products.

[0100] The inventors observed that such careful cooking process may prevent the degradation of the seaweed and help in producing powders with excellent properties. Even more surprisingly, the inventors observed that the cooking step may improve the dispers ability of the inventive powder. It was observed that the inventive powder can be homogeneously dispersed inside an aqueous medium without the occurrence of lumps or particulates whereas non-cooked seaweeds produced visible particulates. After cooking, the biomass may be subjected to a filtration step to remove the water before the subsequent washing step. The filtration can be accomplished by any suitable type of equipment of which many are well known, e.g. filter press cylinder type filter, or the like. If desired, a centrifugal machine can also be used.

[0101] The inventors also observed that the combination of exudation and cooking led to a seaweed-based powder having an optimum combination of colour, taste and rheological properties.

[0102] According to step e) of the inventive process, the biomass is washed. Any washing method can be used as for example rinsing under a flow of water, placing the biomass in a volume of water and combinations thereof. The washing may be carried out in one or several water baths, in a tank provided with suitable agitator means or in any washing system such as batch or continuous systems, in co- or counter-current configurations. Good results were obtained when the biomass was rinsed several times with fresh water.

[0103] Before being dried, the washed biomass can be subjected to a filtration step to remove the water therefrom and aid drying. The filtration can be accomplished by any suitable type of equipment of which many are well known, e.g. filter press, cylinder type filter, presses, sieves, or the like. If desired, a centrifugal machine can also be used.

[0104] The washed biomass is dried to a moisture content suitable to permit mechanical manipulation of said biomass. Any types of driers can be used, like vacuum driers, drums driers, air lift driers, etc. Preferably, the moisture content of the dried biomass is at most 25 wt%, more preferably at most 20 wt%, even more preferably at most 15 wt%, most preferably at most 12 wt%. Preferably, the moisture content of said biomass is at least 4 wt%, more preferably at least 6 wt%, even more preferably at least 8 wt%, most preferably at least 10 wt%. Preferably, said moisture content is at most 20 wt%, more preferably at most 15 wt%, most preferably at most 12 wt%. Preferably, said moisture content is between 4 wt% and 20 wt%, more preferably between 6 wt% and 15 wt%, most preferably between 8 wt% and 12 wt%.

[0105] The dried biomass may be transformed into a seaweed-based powder by using a mechanical treatment. Mechanical treatments include for example cutting, milling, pressing, grinding, shearing and chopping. Milling may include for example, ball milling, hammer milling, conical or cone milling, disk milling, edge milling, rotor/stator dry or wet milling, or other types of milling. Other mechanical treatments may include stone grinding, cracking, mechanical ripping or tearing, pin grinding, burr grinding, or air attrition milling. The mechanical treatment can be configured to produce powders with specific morphology characteristics such as for example, surface area, porosity, bulk density, and in case of fibrous seaweed, fibre characteristics such as length-to- width ratio.

[0106] If desired, the obtained powder can be passed through a screen, e.g. having an average opening size of 0.25 mm or less.

[0107] The biomass may at any step during the process, but preferably after step b), be subjected to a sterilisation step to reduce the microbiota thereof and/or eliminate the harmful species. It is known that the surface of seaweeds supports a diverse microbiota (such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, spore forms, etc.), generally within biofilms, some species being harmful to humans, e.g. Escherichia coli and Enterococcus. Sterilisation may be achieved by applying the proper combination of heat, irradiation, high pressure and filtration. Heat treatments in the presence or absence of water are known to reduce the microbial levels. For example, a treatment of seaweed for at least 10 minutes at 121 °C in a humid environment is known to ensure sterility. Other sterilisation methods including irradiation with gamma rays or microwaves, ozone treatment, pulsed light treatment, disinfection with alcohol and combinations thereof may be used.

[0108] The powder obtained/obtainable by the inventive method has advantageous properties as indicated hereinbefore and can be used to enhance the properties of various products containing thereof. Thus the invention also relates to a seaweed-based powder obtained/obtainable by the inventive method.

[0109] The inventive powder or any of the compositions of the invention may form part of (or be) a food or feed ingredient or product. Thus, an aspect of the invention relates to a food or feed ingredient comprising the inventive powder or any of the compositions of the invention. In the present context“food” refers to eatable material suitable for human consumption, whereas feed refers to eatable material suitable for animal consumption. The food or feed ingredient may also form part of a food or feed product.

[0110] The invention further relates to a food or a feed product containing the inventive powder and a nutrient. Without being bound to any theory, the inventors believe that the dynamics and kinetics of the nutrient uptake by the one ingesting said food or feed product may be positively influenced by the advantageous properties of the inventive powder. In particular the inventive powder may enable an optimization of the transport, diffusion, and dissolution phenomena relevant to food functionalities (nutritional, sensory, and physicochemical).

Moreover, said products may be easily designed to have specific flow behaviors, textures and appearances. Thus, the ability of the inventive powder to optimize said food functionalities may be highly beneficial for the design of food structure, which together with the classic needs (e.g. texture and mouthfeel), may enhance the impact upon wellness and health, including modulated digestion to trigger different physiological responses. [0111] The inventive powder or any of the compositions of the invention may also be used in the manufacturing of industrial products, e.g. sealants, adhesives, paper, and other building materials.

[0112] The inventive powder is suitably used in the production of a large variety of food compositions. Examples of food compositions comprising thereof, to which the invention relates, include: beverages and luxury drinks, such as coffee, tea, e.g. black tea or green tea as well as powdered green tea or powdered black tea, cocoa, adzuki-bean soup, juice, soya-bean juice, etc.; milk component-containing drinks, such as raw milk, processed milk, lactic acid beverages, etc.; a variety of drinks including nutrition-enriched drinks, such as calcium-fortified drinks and the like and dietary fibre-containing drinks, etc.; dairy products, such as butter, cheese, yogurt, coffee whitener, whipping cream, custard cream, custard pudding, etc. ; iced products such as ice cream, soft cream, lacto-ice, ice milk, sherbet, frozen yogurt, etc.; processed fat food products, such as mayonnaise, margarine, spread, shortening, etc.; soups; stews;

seasonings such as sauce, TARE, (seasoning sauce), dressings, etc.; a variety of paste condiments represented by kneaded mustard; a variety of fillings typified by jam and flour paste; a variety or gel or paste-like food products including red bean-jam, jelly, and foods for swallowing impaired people; food products containing cereals as the main component, such as bread, noodles, pasta, pizza pie, corn flake, etc.; Japanese, US and European cakes, such as candy, cookie, biscuit, hot cake, chocolate, rice cake, etc.; kneaded marine products represented by a boiled fish cake, a fish cake, etc.; live-stock and meat-based products represented by ham, sausage, hamburger steak, etc.; daily dishes such as cream croquette, paste for Chinese foods, gratin, dumpling, etc.; foods of delicate flavour, such as salted fish guts, a vegetable pickled in sake lee, etc.; liquid diets such as tube feeding liquid food, etc.; supplements; and pet foods; creamers (dairy and non-dairy), condensed milk, alcoholic beverages, in particular those containing dairy products, e.g. Irish cream whiskey and the like; and sport drinks. These food products are all encompassed within the present invention, regardless of any difference in their forms and processing operation at the time of preparation, as seen in retort foods, frozen foods, microwave foods, etc. Due to its neutral taste and odour, such food products are not, or are less, affected by the natural taste or smell of the seaweed.

[0113] The present invention further relates to the use of the inventive powder in dairy products, e.g. yogurt [e.g., spoonable, drinkable, and frozen), sour cream, cheese products, sauces (cheese and white), pudding, and frozen desserts. Unexpectedly, it was observed that the inventive powder can be used in dairy products with a resulting smooth texture and essentially without any loss in viscosity or creaminess. Said inventive powder can be used as an ingredient or as an additive to dairy products, i.e. in addition to the fat contained by such products.

Alternatively, said inventive powder can be used to substitute some or even all of the fat in dairy products, to obtain reduced-fat or fat- free products in which case such use may result in a decreased caloric content of the final dairy product {e.g., a reduction of at least 10%, or at least 50%).

[0114] As used herein, additive means any substance added to a base material in low concentrations for a definite purpose. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration sets the allowable levels of food additives after evaluating the safety and toxicity of the additive. Additives may be essential to the existence of the end product, such as the use of emulsifiers in mayonnaise or leavening agents in bread products. Alternatively, additives may perform a secondary function, e.g. may function as thickeners, flavouring agents, or colouring agents. The inventive powder described herein may be used as additive in dairy products but also as an ingredient.

[0115] Dairy product as used herein means milk or any food product prepared from non vegetable milk (e.g., cow milk, sheep milk, goat milk, and the like), whether in a dry or a non dry form, including butter, cheese, ice cream, pudding, sour cream, yogurt (e.g., spoonable, drinkable, and frozen) and condensed milk. Also products manufactured with vegetable milk, e.g. soy milk, and vegetable milk-based products can also be used in the examples described herein.

[0116] Cheese is herein understood as a food prepared from the pressed curd of milk, often seasoned and aged.

[0117] Lipid is a term describing a product comprising fats and/or fat-derived materials.

Fat is herein understood as an ester of glycerol and three fatty acids. A fatty acid is a carboxylic acid typically having a carbon chain from 4-22 carbon atoms in length and usually having an even number of carbon atoms in the chain. The fatty acids can be saturated, i.e., containing no double bonds, or unsaturated, i.e., containing one or more double bonds. Fats can be found both in animal products and in some plant products. [0118] Ice cream is herein understood as a smooth, sweet, cold food prepared from a frozen mixture of milk products and flavourings. In the United States ice cream contains a minimum of 10% milkfat and 10% non-fat milk solids (see, 2 1 C.F.R. § 135.1 10). However, the disclosure is not limited to this specific range, as the required percentages of milkfat and non-fat milk solids in ice creams can vary in other countries or jurisdictions.

[0119] Yogurt is herein understood as a dairy product produced by culturing cream, milk, partially skimmed milk, or skim milk with a characterizing bacterial culture that contains lactic acid-producing bacteria, such as Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. and Streptococcus thermophilus. Exemplary yogurts include, but are not limited to, spoonable yogurt, yogurt dip, frozen yogurt, and drinkable yogurt. By definition in 2 1 C.F.R. § 13 1.200, regular yogurt in the United States has a milkfat content of at least 3.25%. The fat content of regular yogurts typically ranges from 3.25% to about 3.8%, although there are yogurts on the market with a fat content of about 10%. As defined in 21 C.F.R. § 13 1.203, in the United States low-fat yogurts have not less than 0.5% milkfat and not more than 2% milkfat. A non-fat yogurt has less than 0.5% milkfat in the United States as defined in 2 1 C.F.R. § 131.206. However, other ranges maybe observed in other countries.

[0120] Dairy products may be prepared using methods known to those skilled in the art, e.g. W02009/079002, except that the inventive powder is added or used to replace some or all of the fat in said products. Said inventive powder can be added at one of several points during the manufacture of the dairy product, e.g. they may be added to the milk prior to pasteurization. Said inventive powder can be added in its dry form or, alternatively, an aqueous dispersion may be prepared by dispersing said inventive powder in an aqueous environment and then adding said dispersion to the milk.

[0121] The inventive powder can be used to substitute some or all of the fat in the dairy product. Preferably, said inventive powder are used in an amount sufficient to substitute at least 5% of the fat, more preferably said amount substitutes at least 10% of said fat, even more preferably at least 20%, yet more preferably at least 50%, yet more preferably at least 75%, most preferably essentially all fat is replaced by said inventive powder.

[0122] The inventive powder is preferably added to the dairy product in an amount of up to 10 wt% relative to the weight of the product, more preferably up to 7 wt%, even more preferably up to 5 wt%, most preferably up to 3 wt%. Preferably said amount is between 0.01 and 10 wt%, more preferably between 0.03 and 7 wt%, most preferably between 0.05 and 5 wt%.

[0123] The inventive powder and any composition in accordance with the invention may also be used in cosmetic formulations. The invention therefore relates to a cosmetic formulation comprising said powder or said compositions. Non-limiting examples of cosmetic formulations include basic cosmetics (facial toilet, milks, creams, ointments, lotions, oils and packs), facial washes, skin washes, hair cosmetics such as shampoo, rinse and the like, and makeup cosmetics such as lipstick, foundation, blush, eye shadow, mascara, and the like.

[0124] The inventive powder and any composition in accordance with the invention may also be utilized into bath salts, tooth paste, deodorizers, sanitary cottons, wet tissues, and the like. The invention therefore also relates to such products containing said powder or said compositions

[0125] Any feature of a particular embodiment of the present invention may be utilized in any other embodiment of the invention. The word“comprising” is intended to mean“including” but not necessarily“consisting of’ or“composed of.” In other words, the listed steps or options need not be exhaustive. It is noted that the examples given in the description below are intended to clarify the invention and are not intended to limit the invention to those examples per se. Similarly, all percentages are weight/weight percentages unless otherwise indicated. Except in the examples and comparative experiments, or where otherwise explicitly indicated, all numbers in this description indicating amounts of material or conditions of reaction, physical properties of materials and/or use are to be understood as modified by the word“about”. Unless specified otherwise, numerical ranges expressed in the format "from x to y" are understood to include x and y. When for a specific feature multiple preferred ranges are described in the format "from x to y", it is understood that all ranges combining the different endpoints are also contemplated. For the purpose of the invention ambient (or room) temperature is defined as a temperature of about 20 degrees Celsius.

METHODS OF MEASUREMENT

• Cl amount was measured by potentiometric titration (Metrohm) with AgNCb. 200 to 300 mg of the sample (W sampie ) were added to 150 ml osmosis water in a 250 ml beaker. The sample was stirred until a homogeneous dispersion of the sample was achieved. 4 to 5 drops of fuming nitric acid were added to the sample. The titration was carried out with a potentiometer (682 Titroprocessor, Metrohm) and a combined electrode Ag/AgNCb. The wt % of chlorides can be directly calculated with the formula: %Cl = V x C x M I C 11

with M[Cl] being 35.5 g/mol and where V is the volume of AgNCL (in

mL) solution utilized and C is its concentration, i.e. 0.1N.

• AIM was measured by dispersing 0.5 g of sample (W sa mpie) in 150 ml osmosis water in a 250 mL beaker. 1.5 mL of concentrated sulfuric acid were added thereto. The beaker was covered with plastic foil to prevent evaporation and heated on bain-marie at boiling temperature for 2 h. The dispersion was centrifuged at 4000 rpm (equivalent to 3250 g) for 10 minutes.

The total mass (Wmter+dish) of a AP 25 filter and a crystallizing dish was determined. The acidic dispersion was filtered and rinsed with osmosis water at 50°C until its pH remained neutral (as check with a pH paper) - about 500 mL water were used.

The filter with the sample was allowed to dry overnight at room temperature and further dried in an oven at 60 °C for a day and the total weight of the sample, filter and dish was determined (^ fmal)· AIM (%) = [(^ fmal ^Vfilter+dish)/ sample] x 100.

• AIA was measured as follows: 2.000 (two) grams (W sa mpie) of sample were placed on a silica or platinum crucible, burnt for about one hour on a hot plate at 500 °C and subsequently placed in a furnace at 550 °C forl6 h. The obtained ashes were added to a solution containing 10 ml concentrated HC1 and 20 ml demineralized water. The solution containing the ashes was heated to 80 °C for about half an hour and subsequently filtered using a Whatman N° 40 (ash free filter). The filter containing the ashes was rinsed with water until no Cl were detected in the sample. The presence of Cl in the sample was checked with AgNO (the precipitation of AgCl signifies the presence of Cl ).

A second silica or platinum crucible was placed in an oven at 550 °C for 10 minutes and then cooled to room temperature in a desiccator. Subsequently, the crucible was weighted (Wcmcibie) in a water-free environment. The filter with the ashes was placed on the crucible and heated progressively on a hot plate starting at room temperature up to 500 °C for a period of time of at least 1 hour. The crucible was then transferred to a furnace and heated at 800 °C for 16 h. After being cooled at room temperature in a desiccator, the crucible was weighted again (Wcmcibie+ash) in a water-free environment. 100.

• D50, D90, D10 and D[4,3] : The method of determining the particle size distributions is complying with method <429> of the United Stated Pharmacopeia (USP40), and is based on the ISO standard 13320-1. A sample powder is first poured inside a vibrating hopper to feed with a regular flow a Mastersizer 3000 (Malvern). Using an air disperser device, the powder particles were blown through a laser beam with an obscuration of the light between 1 and 15%, to reach a sufficient signal-to-noise ratio of detector and to avoid multiple scattering. The light scattered by particles at different angles is measured by a multi-element detector. The use of red and blue light, coupled to the Mie theory allows the calculation of the volumetric size distribution, where particles were considered as spheres and hence an equivalent sphere size was determined. From the obtained size distribution the cumulative volume fractions at 10, 50 and 90% were determined to give D10, D50 and D90, respectively. The median diameter D50 gives an idea of the particle size of the powder, while D10 and D90 allows to quantify finer and coarser particle sizes.

• CIELAB L*, a* and b* represent the most complete colour space specified by the

International Commission on Illumination ( Commission Internationale d’Eclairage). It describes all the colours visible to the human eye and was created to serve as a device independent model to be used as a reference. The L* and b* values of a sample are obtained by placing the sample in a glass cell (filled about half) of a colorimeter. The used colorimeter was a Minolta CR400 Colorimeter.

• Rheology measurements:

Sample preparation for rheology measurements:

Reconstituted skimmed milk was used as the aqueous medium. The skimmed milk in powdered form was provided by Isigny-Ste-Mere (Isigny, France). The skimmed milk was reconstituted by dissolving powdered skimmed milk at 10% w/w in ultrapure water (18.2 MW.ah resistivity) under stirring for 4 hours at room temperature. In particular, to prepare 1000 g of reconstituted skimmed milk, 108.66 g of skimmed milk powder (DS = 92.03 wt%) were dissolved in 891.34 g of ultrapure water. Dispersions of various seaweed-based powders were prepared in variable proportions (0.1 to 1 % w/w. dry matter basis) in reconstituted skimmed milk. The seaweed-based powders were weighed in the suitable final proportion thoroughly mixed with 5 wt% sucrose (to promote the rehydration) and slowly dispersed in the reconstituted skimmed milk under magnetic stirring (500 rpm). Stirring was maintained for 30 minutes at room temperature. Subsequently the sample was heated to 80°C for about 30 minutes under stirring at 500 rpm and held at this temperature for an additional 3 minutes. Measurements of storage modulus G’

Rheological measurements were carried out using a MCR 302 controlled-stress rheometer (Anton Paar Physica) equipped with a 50 mm plate-and-plate geometry with both upper and lower surface crosshatched. The rheometer is also equipped with a Peltier temperature controller. The gap was fixed at 1 mm. Before measurements samples were covered by a thin layer of paraffin oil on the edge of the sample to avoid evaporation during measurements. Dynamic oscillatory or viscoelastic measurements were selected to evaluate the gelation kinetics and texturizing properties of each formulated system. For these measurements, the sample was poured onto the MCR 302 plate pre-heated at 80°C and subjected to a temperature sweep test (2°C/min) from 80°C down to lO°C, followed by a time sweep experiment for 15 minutes at a frequency of 0.4 Hz to ensure that the system reach an equilibrium state after this considered time at l0°C due to reorganization (structural rearrangements). Subsequently, the sample was subjected to a frequency sweep from 100 to 0.01 Hz at a constant shear strain in the linear viscoelastic region (LVE) fixed at 0.2%. To ensure that viscoelastic measurements were carried out in the LVE domain, strain sweep experiments were conducted from 0.01% to 100% at 0.4 Hz.

In all these rheological experiments each measurement was performed at least in duplicate.

Data processing: G’

The G’ values considered in this patent were collected from the mechanical spectra (frequency sweep test) at 0.4Hz at l0°C. In fact as the mechanical spectra represents the real structural behaviour of the obtained gels, it appeared suitable to use this G’ value as the most appropriate parameter.

Based on the G’ values obtained for all investigated samples at various concentrations, a power-law relationship (see Formula 1) was used to describe the data. Note that c* represents the lowest concentration below which there is no gel-like behavior or implicitly the critical gelling concentration. C is the seaweed-based powder concentration (dry matter basis); n represents the exponent value of the fitting model; k and k’ are constant factors of the fitting model

G’ = k’* (C-Cof Formula 1 To compare samples, Formulas 2-4 were used:

G’=p * k * C" Formula 2 G sample A k C Formula 3

G’ sample B = p * k * C n Formula 4 where p is a translational shifting factor. If p = 1, that means sample A displays similar gel strength as sample B; if p > 1. that means sample B displays higher G’ than Sample A; if p <1 that means sample B displays lower G’ than Sample A.

Data processing: Co

For the determination of Co, the following steps were respected:

(i) The storage modulus G’ values collected from the mechanical spectra as described above were plotted as a function of seaweed-based powder concentration, C (%, DS), in logarithmic scales (see Figure 1).

In Figure 1, the dashed lines and the solid lines represent the fitting of the power law formulas 3 and 1, respectively, to the experimental data (raw data) and to the estimated data. The data utilized in Figure 1, belongs to Example 1 and Comparative Example 1, respectively.

(ii) Following the approach described in literature (e.g. Agoda-Tandjawa, G., Dieude- Fauvel, E., Girault, R. & Baudez, J.-C. (2013). Chemical Engineering Journal, 228, 799- 805) equation G’= kC" was mathematically transformed in the form G’= k '(C- Co) n using linear regression. In this second equation, k’ represents the scaling factor, and Co the concentration below which no gel-like behaviour can be achieved. Note that the linear regression was performed for all investigated seaweed-based powders following the condition G’= kC" = k '(C- Co) n , with both exponents (n) values being identical and C > Co.

The validation of Co determined using the above fitting model was verified by evaluating the rheological behaviour of all seaweed-based powders in similar conditions as described previously in other to evidence the gel-like behaviour.

[0126] The invention will now be described with the help of the following examples and comparative experiments, without being however limited thereto.

EXAMPLE 1 : Kappaphycus alvarezii based powder

[0127] Fresh harvested (less than 6 h from the harvest) Kappaphycus alvarezii ( Eucheuma Cottonii ) seaweed was rinsed with seawater and used to make a biomass having a DS of about 10 wt%. Seawater from the location of the harvest was used. The biomass was placed on a wooden table to form a biomass bed having an areal density of about 10 Kg/m 2 . The table was placed in a sunny location and covered with a transparent tarpaulin to fully enclose it and prevent air flow. Due to the action of the sun, the temperature under the tarpaulin reached about 60 °C and a humidity over 90%. The seaweed was allowed to naturally exude in this environment for a period of time between 24 h and 72 h depending on the weather.

[0128] After exudation, the tarpaulin was removed and the biomass was kept for another

24 h in open air under the sun for drying to reach a DS of about 78 wt%.

[0129] The dried biomass was subsequently placed in volume of tap water sufficient to cover the seaweed entirely and the seaweed was allowed to rehydrate for lh at room temperature without stirring The rehydrated seaweed was then collected using a filter and a biomass having a DS around 40 wt% was obtained.

[0130] The biomass containing the rehydrated seaweed was cooked in brine solution (100 g/L of KC1) at 90°C for 30 minutes. The weight of the brine solution used for cooking was about 6 times the mass of the seaweed. After cooking, the brine solution was drained and the recovered seaweed was washed twice by placing it in a volume of tap water at room temperature for 10 minutes. Enough water was used to completely cover the seaweed.

[0131] The seaweed was then collected using a filter and dried using a belt dryer for 30 minutes at 60°C and led to a final product of about 94.9% DS. The dried product was milled into a powder with a Retsch mill (final sieve at 0.25 mm). The properties of the obtained seaweed- based powder are given in Table 1:

Table 1

EXAMPLE 2: Kappaphycus alvarezii based powder

[0132] Example 1 was repeated with the difference that the weight of the brine solution used for cooking was 10 times the mass of the seaweed and after cooking the recovered seaweed was washed 2 times like in Example 1. The cooked seaweed was dried to a final DS of about 91.5 wt%. The properties of the obtained seaweed-based powder are given in Table 2:

Table 2

EXAMPLE 3 Chondrus crispus seaweed-based powder

[0133] A fresh Chondrus crispus was harvested from the wild. It was processed like in Example 1 and was kept between 3 and 72 hours under a tarpaulin. In some instances, the seaweed was turned over during the exudation to allow a homogeneous exposure to sunlight. The seaweed was then sun dried over a period ranging from 1 to 3.5 days, depending on the weather, to reach a DS of about 65 wt% (approximatively 35 wt% moisture). The seaweed was further processed as in Example 1.

[0134] The dried biomass was subsequently placed in volume of tap water sufficient to cover the seaweed entirely and the seaweed was allowed to rehydrate for lh at room temperature without stirring. The rehydrated seaweed was then collected using a filter and a biomass having a DS around 40 wt% was obtained.

[0135] The biomass containing the rehydrated seaweed was cooked twice in brine solution

(350 g/L of KC1) at 90°C for 30 minutes. The weight of the brine solution used for cooking was about 16 times the mass of the seaweed. After cooking, the brine solution was drained and the recovered seaweed was washed by placing it in a volume of tap water at room temperature for 10 minutes. Enough water was used to completely cover the seaweed.

[0136] The seaweed was then collected using a filter and dried using a belt dryer for 30 minutes at 60°C and led to a final product of about 94.3% DS. The dried product was milled into a powder with a Retsch mill (final sieve at 0.25 mm) and sieved at 0.25 mm. The properties of the obtained seaweed-based powder are given in Table 3:

Table 3

EXAMPLE 4 Eucheuma spinosum seaweed-based powder

Example 1 was repeated with the difference that the seaweed was Eucheuma spinosum, the brine solution contained 250 g/L KC1 and the cooked biomass was washed three times in water. The properties of the obtained seaweed-based powder are given in Table 4:

Table 4

COMPARATIVE EXPERIMENTS 1 - 3

[0137] Fresh harvested (less than 6h from the harvest) seaweeds were kept for 24 h in open air under the sun for drying to reach a DS between 60 and 95 wt%.

[0138] The seaweeds were then further dried in an oven at 60°C overnight.

[0139] The dried seaweeds were milled into a powder with a Retsch mill (final sieve at

0.25 mm) and sieved at 0.25 mm. The properties of the obtained powders are given in Table 6 below. Table 6

RESULTS

[0140] The inventors observed that the investigated seaweed-based powders made in accordance with the invention exhibited a true gel-like behaviour in skimmed milk with G’>lOG’’ and relatively frequency-independent moduli even when reduced amounts (about 0.3 wt% dry matter basis) of powders were used. An overview of the properties of the investigated powders is given in Table 7.

[0141] Upon increasing the seaweed-based powder concentrations, G’ increased following a power law as indicated by Formula 1, where C 0 is the critical concentration bellow which each powder exhibited no gel like behaviour in skimmed milk. It appeared that irrespective of the utilized seaweed ( Cottonii or Chondrus ), the inventive powders displayed higher functionality (or texturizing properties) than the grinded samples. For example, on the basis of dry matter content, the Co for a powder obtained by grinding Cottonii seaweed is 2 times higher than the inventive powder based on Cottonii. COMPARISON BETWEEN INVENTIVE POWDERS AND COMMERCIALLY AVAILABLE SEAWEED FLOURS.

[0142] It was observed that commercial seaweed flours based on Cottonii and Chondrus seaweeds, had reduced texturizing properties. For example, inventive powders based on Cottonii were 2.5 times more functional than the corresponding commercial seaweed flours, for the investigated concentration range. Also, inventive powders based on Chondrus seaweed were 3 times more functional than the corresponding commercial seaweed flours for the investigated concentration range.

[0143] In addition, the Co of the commercial Cottonii-based flour was 4 times higher than the corresponding inventive powder, while the commercial Chondrus- based flour had a Co that was 2 times higher than the corresponding inventive powder.

Table 7

EXAMPLES OF DAIRY PRODUCTS WITH INVENTIVE POWDERS

The Cottonii powder of Example 2 has been tested in dairy desserts (creamy and gelled texture).

Creamy desserts recipes

The following process and recipe were used:

Process steps:

1. All dry ingredients were pre-blended and dispersed into cold milk and cream;

2. Hydration 30 min

3. Pre -heating 63 °C

4. Homogenization at 80 Bars

5. Pasteurization 95 °C during 2 minutes

6. Sterilization l35°c during 15 sec

7. Pre-cooling 75 °c

8. Cooling lO°C

9. Storage in“a buffer tank” during 4 hours at lO°C

10. Filling in pots

Ingredients:

Table A: Recipe of dairy creamy dessert

Measurements of Viscosity

Viscosity was measured on desserts samples at lO°C with a Brookfield RV viscometer and Helipath™ system. The Brookfield Helipath™ was designed to slowly lower a Brookfield Viscometer so that its rotating special T-bar type spindle would describe a helical path through the dessert sample. Rotation speed was set at 5 rpm and viscosity has been measured at day 7 and 21 in relative centipoise values by calculating the average of 6 rotations values. Figure 2 demonstrated that the viscosity measurements of 2 creamy desserts samples were similar and showed that the inventive powders had the capability to match the functionality of commercial texturizers.

Sensory evaluation has shown that creamy desserts using the inventive powders show very good creamy texture close to reference with a smooth and shiny texture and a creamy mouthfeel.

Gelled dessert recipe

Gelled desserts have been made with the following process and using the ingredients given in Table B, using the powder of Example 2 and a powder made from Spinosum with a process similar to that of Example 1.

Process:

1. All dry ingredients were pre-blended and dispersed into cold milk and cream;

2. Hydration 30 min

3. Pre-heating 63 °C

4. Homogenization at 80 Bars

5. Pasteurization 95 °C during 2 minutes

6. Sterilization l35°c during 15 sec

7. Pre-cooling 75°c

8. Filling in“a buffer tank” at 70°C during 4 Hours 9. Filling in pots

Ingredients:

Table B: Recipe of dairy gelled dessert

Measurements of firmness with Texturometer TAXT +

The TA.XTplus Texture Analyser plus has been employed to measure force, gel strength profile in gram of gelled dairy dessert. Following test parameters are used: 1 inch diameter cylinder probe; test sample temperature: 5°C; 3 test samples; Test speed 1 mm/s; Distance on 20 mm.

Figure 3 plots the average of the 3 measurements done one each dessert trial and shows that the gel strength of samples made with the inventive powders are largely similar with those where commercial texturizers were used. Sensory evaluation has shown that gelled desserts based on the inventive powders have very good texture with smooth surface, creamy mouthfeel and medium firmness similar to the commercial ones.