Arthrospira platensis (Spirulina) has been credited with multiple beneficial effects, many of which are attributed to bioactive peptides produced during the gastrointestinal digestion of this micro-alga. Many Spirulina-based nutraceuticals have been produced, and numerous functional foods enriched with Spirulina are available on the market. These are subjected to checks aimed at verifying the amount of algae actually present, but few studies relating to the bioavailability of the bioactive compounds in these products have been carried out. However, such investigations could be very important to elucidate the possible critical effects exerted by food matrices on protein digestion and bioactive peptide production. Here, in order to assess the suitability of Spirulina-enriched foods as a source of potentially bioactive peptides, a simulated digestion protocol was used in combination with mass spectrometry quantitative analysis to analyze functionalized pasta and sorbets. In the case of the pasta enriched with Spirulina, the production of peptides was quite similar to that of the Spirulina powder. On the other hand, the type of fruit present in the food matrix influenced the digestion of Spirulina inside the sorbets. In particular, the high concentration of protease inhibitors in kiwifruit drastically reduced the production of peptides from Spirulina in kiwi sorbet.
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