In recent years seaweeds have increasingly attracted interest in the search for new drugs and have been shown to be a primary source of bioactive natural compounds and biomaterials. In the present investigation, the biochemical composition of the red seaweed Gracilaria gracilis
, collected seasonally in the Lesina Lagoon (Southern Adriatic Sea, Lesina, Italy), was assayed by means of advanced analytical techniques, such as gas-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry and spectrophotometric tests. In particular, analysis of lipids, fatty acids, sterols, proteins, phycobiliproteins and carbohydrates as well as phenolic content, antioxidant and radical scavenging activity were performed. In winter extracts of G. gracilis
, a high content of R-phycoerythrin together with other valuable products such as arachidonic acid (PUFA ω-6), proteins and carbohydrates was observed. High antioxidant and radical scavenging activities were also detected in summer extracts of the seaweed together with a high content of total phenols. In conclusion, this study points out the possibility of using Gracilaria gracilis
as a multi products source
for biotechnological, nutraceutical and pharmaceutical applications even although more investigations are required for separating, purifying and characterizing these bioactive compounds.