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Article

On the Health Benefits vs. Risks of Seaweeds and Their Constituents: The Curious Case of the Polymer Paradigm

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Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
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Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (MARE), Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, 3001-456 Coimbra, Portugal
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Federal Institute of Education, Science and Technology of Ceará—IFCE, Campus Aracati, CE 040, km 137,1, Aracati 62800-000, Ceara, Brazil
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Department of Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, ESTeSC-Coimbra Health School, Rua 5 de Outubro, S. Martinho do Bispo, Apartamento 7006, 3046-854 Coimbra, Portugal
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Verschuren Centre for Sustainability in Energy and the Environment, Sydney, NS B1P 6L2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: María Lourdes Mourelle
Mar. Drugs 2021, 19(3), 164; https://doi.org/10.3390/md19030164
Received: 19 February 2021 / Revised: 12 March 2021 / Accepted: 16 March 2021 / Published: 19 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutra-Cosmeceuticals from Algae for Health and Wellness)
To exploit the nutraceutical and biomedical potential of selected seaweed-derived polymers in an economically viable way, it is necessary to analyze and understand their quality and yield fluctuations throughout the seasons. In this study, the seasonal polysaccharide yield and respective quality were evaluated in three selected seaweeds, namely the agarophyte Gracilaria gracilis, the carrageenophyte Calliblepharis jubata (both red seaweeds) and the alginophyte Sargassum muticum (brown seaweed). It was found that the agar synthesis of G. gracilis did not significantly differ with the seasons (27.04% seaweed dry weight (DW)). In contrast, the carrageenan content in C. jubata varied seasonally, being synthesized in higher concentrations during the summer (18.73% DW). Meanwhile, the alginate synthesis of S. muticum exhibited a higher concentration (36.88% DW) during the winter. Therefore, there is a need to assess the threshold at which seaweed-derived polymers may have positive effects or negative impacts on human nutrition. Furthermore, this study highlights the three polymers, along with their known thresholds, at which they can have positive and/or negative health impacts. Such knowledge is key to recognizing the paradigm governing their successful deployment and related beneficial applications in humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: polysaccharides; health benefits; health risks; biomedical; polymer seasonal variation polysaccharides; health benefits; health risks; biomedical; polymer seasonal variation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cotas, J.; Pacheco, D.; Araujo, G.S.; Valado, A.; Critchley, A.T.; Pereira, L. On the Health Benefits vs. Risks of Seaweeds and Their Constituents: The Curious Case of the Polymer Paradigm. Mar. Drugs 2021, 19, 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19030164

AMA Style

Cotas J, Pacheco D, Araujo GS, Valado A, Critchley AT, Pereira L. On the Health Benefits vs. Risks of Seaweeds and Their Constituents: The Curious Case of the Polymer Paradigm. Marine Drugs. 2021; 19(3):164. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19030164

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cotas, João, Diana Pacheco, Glacio S. Araujo, Ana Valado, Alan T. Critchley, and Leonel Pereira. 2021. "On the Health Benefits vs. Risks of Seaweeds and Their Constituents: The Curious Case of the Polymer Paradigm" Marine Drugs 19, no. 3: 164. https://doi.org/10.3390/md19030164

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