Special Issue "Characterization of Bioactive Components in Edible Algae"

A special issue of Marine Drugs (ISSN 1660-3397).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 November 2019).

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Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Leonel Pereira
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Guest Editor
Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: Marine biotechnology, nutrition, phycocolloids, seaweeds, taxonomy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,                

Numerous factors affect the quality of modern life so that the population should be aware of the importance of food containing substances that help promote health, thereby bringing about an improvement in nutritional status. The incidence of death due to cancer, cardiovascular accidents, stroke, atherosclerosis, liver diseases, among others, can be minimized through good eating habits. Functional foods and nutraceuticals have commonly been considered synonyms, however, functional foods should be in the form of common food, consumed as part of the diet and produce specific health benefits, such as reducing the risk of various diseases and maintenance of physical and mental well-being. Biologically active substances found in functional foods can be classified such as probiotics and prebiotics, nitrogenated foods, pigments and vitamins, phenolic compounds, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and fibers.

The marine environment provides a huge source of many healthy foods including algae (seaweed – green, red, and brown macroalgae), an example of a marine product that has been part of the diet in several countries around the world. Furthermore, marine specimens are also sources of an abundance of chemicals many of them with biological properties and therefore called bioactive compounds. These chemicals can be extracted and incorporated in several food matrices leading to new potential functional foods.

Poor in fat, marine algae have polysaccharides that behave, for the most part, as non-caloric fibers. Algae therefore appear to be the best way to correct the current global nutrient deficiencies (in developed, emerging and / or underdeveloped countries) because of their varied range of essential constituents - minerals (iron and calcium), proteins (with all essential amino acids), vitamins and fibers - nutrients absolutely necessary for the primary human metabolism.

Prof. Leonel Pereira
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • edible algae
  • seaweeds
  • microalgae
  • minerals
  • vitamins
  • polysaccharides
  • proteins
  • amino acids
  • fatty acids
  • pigments
  • phenolic compounds

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Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Characterization of Bioactive Components in Edible Algae
Mar. Drugs 2020, 18(1), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/md18010065 - 19 Jan 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 790
Abstract
From the origin of our planet, about 4 [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
Antitumour Potential of Gigartina pistillata Carrageenans against Colorectal Cancer Stem Cell-Enriched Tumourspheres
Mar. Drugs 2020, 18(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/md18010050 - 12 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 959
Abstract
Gigartina pistillata is a red seaweed common in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Here, the antitumour potential of G. pistillata carrageenan, with a known variable of the life cycle, the female gametophyte (FG) and tetrasporophyte (T) was evaluated against colorectal cancer stem cell (CSC) [...] Read more.
Gigartina pistillata is a red seaweed common in Figueira da Foz, Portugal. Here, the antitumour potential of G. pistillata carrageenan, with a known variable of the life cycle, the female gametophyte (FG) and tetrasporophyte (T) was evaluated against colorectal cancer stem cell (CSC) -enriched tumourspheres. FTIR-ATR analysis of G. pistillata carrageenan extracts indicated differences between life cycle phases, being FG a κ/ι hybrid carrageenan and T a ʎ/ξ hybrid. Both carrageenan extracts presented IC50 values inferior to 1 μg/mL in HT29-derived CSC-enriched tumourspheres, as well as reduced tumoursphere area. The two extracts were also effective at reducing cellular viability in SW620- and SW480-derived tumourspheres. These results indicate that carrageenans extracted from two G. pistillata life cycle phases have antitumour potential against colorectal cancer stem-like cells, specially the T carrageenan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Carrageenans on Vegetable Jelly in Humans with Hypercholesterolemia
Mar. Drugs 2020, 18(1), 19; https://doi.org/10.3390/md18010019 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 976
Abstract
Changes in lipid profile constitute the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Algae extracted carrageenans are long-chain polysaccharides and their ability to form gels provides for the formation of vegetable jelly. The objective was to evaluate the bioactive potential of carrageenan (E407) in [...] Read more.
Changes in lipid profile constitute the main risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Algae extracted carrageenans are long-chain polysaccharides and their ability to form gels provides for the formation of vegetable jelly. The objective was to evaluate the bioactive potential of carrageenan (E407) in the lipid profile, after ingestion of jelly. A total of 30 volunteers of both sexes, aged 20–64 years and with total cholesterol (TC) values ≥200 mg/dL, who ingested 100 mL/day of jelly for 60 days, were studied. All had two venous blood collections: before starting the jelly intake and after 60 days. At both times, TC, high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglycerides (TG), were evaluated using commercial kits and spectrophotometer. The statistics were performed using the SPSS 25.0 software and p < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Serum values after 60 days of jelly intake revealed a statistically significant decrease in TC levels (5.3%; p = 0.001) and LDL-C concentration (5.4%; p = 0.048) in females. The daily intake of vegetable jelly for 60 days showed a reduction in serum TC and LDL-C levels in women, allowing us to conclude that carrageenan has bioactive potential in reducing TC concentration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development and Validation of an HPLC Method for the Quantitative Analysis of Bromophenolic Compounds in the Red Alga Vertebrata lanosa
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(12), 675; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17120675 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 913
Abstract
Bromophenols are a class of compounds occurring in red algae that are thought to play a role in chemical protection; however, their exact function is still not fully known. In order to investigate their occurrence, pure standards of seven bromophenols were isolated from [...] Read more.
Bromophenols are a class of compounds occurring in red algae that are thought to play a role in chemical protection; however, their exact function is still not fully known. In order to investigate their occurrence, pure standards of seven bromophenols were isolated from a methanolic extract of the epiphytic red alga Vertebrata lanosa collected in Brittany, France. The structures of all compounds were determined by NMR and MS. Among the isolated substances, one new natural product, namely, 2-amino-5-(3-(2,3-dibromo-4,5-dihydroxybenzyl)ureido)pentanoic acid was identified. An HPLC method for the separation of all isolated substances was developed using a Phenomenex C8(2) Luna column and a mobile phase comprising 0.05% trifluoroacetic acid in water and acetonitrile. Method validation showed that the applied procedure is selective, linear (R2 ≥ 0.999), precise (intra-day ≤ 6.28%, inter-day ≤ 5.21%), and accurate (with maximum displacement values of 4.93% for the high spikes, 4.80% for the medium spikes, and 4.30% for the low spikes). For all standards limits of detection (LOD) were lower than 0.04 μg/mL and limits of quantification (LOQ) lower than 0.12 μg/mL. Subsequently, the method was applied to determine the bromophenol content in Vertebrata lanosa samples from varying sampling sites and collection years showing values between 0.678 and 0.005 mg/g dry weight for different bromophenols with significant variations between the sampling years. Bioactivity of seven isolated bromophenols was tested in agar diffusion tests against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli bacteria. Three compounds showed a small zone of inhibition against both test organisms at a concentration of 100 µg/mL. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Variation in Lipid Components from 15 Species of Tropical and Temperate Seaweeds
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(11), 630; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17110630 - 06 Nov 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1232
Abstract
The present study describes the variation in lipid components from 15 species of seaweeds belonging to the Chlorophyta, Ochrophyta, and Rhodophyta phyla collected in tropical (Indonesia) and temperate (Japan) areas. Analyses were performed of multiple components, including chlorophylls, carotenoids, n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated [...] Read more.
The present study describes the variation in lipid components from 15 species of seaweeds belonging to the Chlorophyta, Ochrophyta, and Rhodophyta phyla collected in tropical (Indonesia) and temperate (Japan) areas. Analyses were performed of multiple components, including chlorophylls, carotenoids, n-3 and n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and alpha tocopherol (α-Toc). Chlorophyll (Chl) and carotenoid contents varied among phyla, but not with the sampling location. Chl a and b were the major chlorophylls in Chlorophyta. Chl a and Chl c were the main chlorophylls in Ochrophyta, while Chl a was the dominant chlorophylls in Rhodophyta. β-Carotene and fucoxanthin were detected as major seaweed carotenoids. The former was present in all species in a variety of ranges, while the latter was mainly found in Ochrophyta and in small quantities in Rhodophyta, but not in Chlorophyta. The total lipids (TL) content and fatty acids composition were strongly affected by sampling location. The TL and n-3 PUFAs levels tended to be higher in temperate seaweeds compared with those in tropical seaweeds. The major n-3 PUFAs in different phyla, namely, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and stearidonic acid (SDA) in Ochrophyta, α-linolenic acid (ALA) and SDA in Chlorophyta, and EPA in Rhodophyta, accumulated in temperate seaweeds. Chlorophylls, their derivatives, and carotenoids are known to have health benefits, such as antioxidant activities, while n-3 PUFAs are known to be essential nutrients that positively influence human nutrition and health. Therefore, seaweed lipids could be used as a source of ingredients with health benefits for functional foods and nutraceuticals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Phlorofucofuroeckol A from Edible Brown Alga Ecklonia Cava Enhances Osteoblastogenesis in Bone Marrow-Derived Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(10), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17100543 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
The deterioration of bone formation is a leading cause of age-related bone disorders. Lack of bone formation is induced by decreased osteoblastogenesis. In this study, osteoblastogenesis promoting effects of algal phlorotannin, phlorofucofuroeckol A (PFF-A), were evaluated. PFF-A was isolated from brown alga Ecklonia [...] Read more.
The deterioration of bone formation is a leading cause of age-related bone disorders. Lack of bone formation is induced by decreased osteoblastogenesis. In this study, osteoblastogenesis promoting effects of algal phlorotannin, phlorofucofuroeckol A (PFF-A), were evaluated. PFF-A was isolated from brown alga Ecklonia cava. The ability of PFF-A to enhance osteoblast differentiation was observed in murine pre-osteoblast cell line MC3T3-E1 and human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (huBM-MSCs). Proliferation and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of osteoblasts during differentiation was assayed following PFF-A treatment along extracellular mineralization. In addition, effect of PFF-A on osteoblast maturation pathways such as Runx2 and Smads was analyzed. Treatment of PFF-A was able to enhance the proliferation of differentiating osteoblasts. Also, ALP activity was observed to be increased. Osteoblasts showed increased extracellular mineralization, observed by Alizarin Red staining, following PFF-A treatment. In addition, expression levels of critical proteins in osteoblastogenesis such as ALP, bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), osteocalcin and β-catenin were stimulated after the introduction of PFF-A. In conclusion, PFF-A was suggested to be a potential natural product with osteoblastogenesis enhancing effects which can be utilized against bone-remodeling imbalances and osteoporosis-related complications. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Eckol Inhibits Particulate Matter 2.5-Induced Skin Keratinocyte Damage via MAPK Signaling Pathway
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(8), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17080444 - 27 Jul 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
Toxicity of particulate matter (PM) towards the epidermis has been well established in many epidemiological studies. It is manifested in cancer, aging, and skin damage. In this study, we aimed to show the mechanism underlying the protective effects of eckol, a phlorotannin isolated [...] Read more.
Toxicity of particulate matter (PM) towards the epidermis has been well established in many epidemiological studies. It is manifested in cancer, aging, and skin damage. In this study, we aimed to show the mechanism underlying the protective effects of eckol, a phlorotannin isolated from brown seaweed, on human HaCaT keratinocytes against PM2.5-induced cell damage. First, to elucidate the underlying mechanism of toxicity of PM2.5, we checked the reactive oxygen species (ROS) level, which contributed significantly to cell damage. Experimental data indicate that excessive ROS caused damage to lipids, proteins, and DNA and induced mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, eckol (30 μM) decreased ROS generation, ensuring the stability of molecules, and maintaining a steady mitochondrial state. The western blot analysis showed that PM2.5 promoted apoptosis-related protein levels and activated MAPK signaling pathway, whereas eckol protected cells from apoptosis by inhibiting MAPK signaling pathway. This was further reinforced by detailed investigations using MAPK inhibitors. Thus, our results demonstrated that inhibition of PM2.5-induced cell apoptosis by eckol was through MAPK signaling pathway. In conclusion, eckol could protect skin HaCaT cells from PM2.5-induced apoptosis via inhibiting ROS generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Extraction and Characterization of Alginate from an Edible Brown Seaweed (Cystoseira barbata) Harvested in the Romanian Black Sea
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(7), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17070405 - 08 Jul 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1528
Abstract
Cystoseira barbata is an edible brown seaweed, traditionally used in the Black Sea area as functional food. Both alginate and brown seaweed biomass are well known for their potential use as adsorbents for heavy metals. Alginate was extracted from C. barbata recovered from [...] Read more.
Cystoseira barbata is an edible brown seaweed, traditionally used in the Black Sea area as functional food. Both alginate and brown seaweed biomass are well known for their potential use as adsorbents for heavy metals. Alginate was extracted from C. barbata recovered from the Romanian coast on the Black Sea with a yield of 19 ± 1.5% (w/w). The structural data for the polysaccharide was obtained by HPSEC-MALS, 1H-NMR. The M/G ratio was determined to be 0.64 with a molecular weight of 126.6 kDa with an intrinsic viscosity of 406.2 mL/g. Alginate beads were used and their adsorption capacity with respect to Pb2+ and Cu2+ ions was determined. The adsorption kinetics of C. barbata dry biomass was evaluated and it was shown to have an adsorption capacity of 279.2 ± 7.5 mg/g with respect to Pb2+, and 69.3 ± 2 with respect to Cu2+. Alginate in the form of beads adsorbs a maximum of 454 ± 4.7 mg/g of Pb2+ ions and 107.3 ± 1.7 mg/g of Cu2+ ions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anticoagulant Activity of Sulfated Ulvan Isolated from the Green Macroalga Ulva rigida
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(5), 291; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17050291 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1537
Abstract
(1) Background: Brown and red algal sulfated polysaccharides have been widely described as anticoagulant agents. However, data on green algae, especially on the Ulva genus, are limited. This study aimed at isolating ulvan from the green macroalga Ulva rigida using an acid- and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Brown and red algal sulfated polysaccharides have been widely described as anticoagulant agents. However, data on green algae, especially on the Ulva genus, are limited. This study aimed at isolating ulvan from the green macroalga Ulva rigida using an acid- and solvent-free procedure, and investigating the effect of sulfate content on the anticoagulant activity of this polysaccharide. (2) Methods: The obtained ulvan fraction was chemically sulfated, leading to a doubling of the polysaccharide sulfate content in a second ulvan fraction. The potential anticoagulant activity of both ulvan fractions was then assessed using different assays, targeting the intrinsic and/or common (activated partial thromboplastin time), extrinsic (prothrombin time), and common (thrombin time) pathways, and the specific antithrombin-dependent pathway (anti-Xa and anti-IIa), of the coagulation cascade. Furthermore, their anticoagulant properties were compared to those of commercial anticoagulants: heparin and Lovenox®. (3) Results: The anticoagulant activity of the chemically-sulfated ulvan fraction was stronger than that of Lovenox® against both the intrinsic and extrinsic coagulation pathways. (4) Conclusion: The chemically-sulfated ulvan fraction could be a very interesting alternative to heparins, with different targets and a high anticoagulant activity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sargassum muticum and Osmundea pinnatifida Enzymatic Extracts: Chemical, Structural, and Cytotoxic Characterization
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(4), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17040209 - 03 Apr 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1309
Abstract
Seaweeds, which have been widely used for human consumption, are considered a potential source of biological compounds, where enzyme-assisted extraction can be an efficient method to obtain multifunctional extracts. Chemical characterization of Sargassum muticum and Osmundea pinnatifida extracts obtained by Alcalase and Viscozyme [...] Read more.
Seaweeds, which have been widely used for human consumption, are considered a potential source of biological compounds, where enzyme-assisted extraction can be an efficient method to obtain multifunctional extracts. Chemical characterization of Sargassum muticum and Osmundea pinnatifida extracts obtained by Alcalase and Viscozyme assisted extraction, respectively, showed an increment of macro/micro elements in comparison to the corresponding dry seaweeds, while the ratio of Na/K decreased in both extracts. Galactose, mannose, xylose, fucose, and glucuronic acid were the main monosaccharides (3.2–27.3 mg/glyophilized extract) present in variable molar ratios, whereas low free amino acids content and diversity (1.4–2.7 g/100 gprotein) characterized both extracts. FTIR-ATR and 1H NMR spectra confirmed the presence of important polysaccharide structures in the extracts, namely fucoidans from S. muticum or agarans as sulfated polysaccharides from O. pinnatifida. No cytotoxicity against normal mammalian cells was observed from 0 to 4 mglyophilized extract/mL for both extracts. The comprehensive characterization of the composition and safety of these two extracts fulfils an important step towards their authorized application for nutritional and/or nutraceutical purposes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Dietary Supplementation with Low-Molecular-Weight Fucoidan Enhances Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses and Protects against Mycoplasma pneumoniae Antigen Stimulation
Mar. Drugs 2019, 17(3), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/md17030175 - 18 Mar 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1485
Abstract
In this study, the low-molecular-weight (LMW) fucoidan, rich in fucose and sulfate, was extracted and purified from the edible brown seaweed, Laminaria japonica. In this study, we orally administered LMW fucoidan to mice for 6 weeks. We then examined fucoidan’s effects on [...] Read more.
In this study, the low-molecular-weight (LMW) fucoidan, rich in fucose and sulfate, was extracted and purified from the edible brown seaweed, Laminaria japonica. In this study, we orally administered LMW fucoidan to mice for 6 weeks. We then examined fucoidan’s effects on innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and Mycoplasma pneumoniae (MP)-antigen-stimulated immune responses. Our data showed that LMW fucoidan stimulated the innate immune system by increasing splenocyte proliferation, natural killer (NK) cell activity, and phagocytic activity. LMW fucoidan also increased interleukin (IL)-2, IL-4, and interferon (IFN)-γ secretion by splenocytes and immunoglobulin (Ig)-G and IgA content in serum, which help regulate adaptive immune cell functions, and decreased allergen-specific IgE. In MP-antigen-stimulated immune responses, the IgM and IgG content in the serum were significantly higher in the LMW fucoidan group after MP-antigen stimulation. Our study provides further information about the immunomodulatory effects of LMW fucoidan and highlights a potential role in preventing M. pneumoniae infection. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Diverse Applications of Marine Macroalgae
Mar. Drugs 2020, 18(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/md18010017 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 1504
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to review the multiplicity of the current uses of marine macroalgae. Seaweeds are already used in many products and for different purposes, from food products to medicine. They are a natural resource that can provide a number [...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to review the multiplicity of the current uses of marine macroalgae. Seaweeds are already used in many products and for different purposes, from food products to medicine. They are a natural resource that can provide a number of compounds with beneficial bioactivities like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging effects, among others. Despite studies directed in prospecting for their properties and the commodities already marketed, they could, surely, be even more researched and sustainably explored. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Health Functionality and Quality Control of Laver (Porphyra, Pyropia): Current Issues and Future Perspectives as an Edible Seaweed
Mar. Drugs 2020, 18(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/md18010014 - 23 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1187
Abstract
The growing interest in laver as a food product and as a source of substances beneficial to health has led to global consumer demand for laver produced in a limited area of northeastern Asia. Here we review research into the benefits of laver [...] Read more.
The growing interest in laver as a food product and as a source of substances beneficial to health has led to global consumer demand for laver produced in a limited area of northeastern Asia. Here we review research into the benefits of laver consumption and discuss future perspectives on the improvement of laver product quality. Variation in nutritional/functional values among product types (raw and processed (dried, roasted, or seasoned) laver) makes product-specific nutritional analysis a prerequisite for accurate prediction of health benefits. The effects of drying, roasting, and seasoning on the contents of both beneficial and harmful substances highlight the importance of managing laver processing conditions. Most research into health benefits has focused on substances present at high concentrations in laver (porphyran, Vitamin B12, taurine), with assessment of the expected effects of laver consumption. Mitigation of chemical/microbiological risks and the adoption of novel technologies to exploit under-reported biochemical characteristics of lavers are suggested as key strategies for the further improvement of laver product quality. Comprehensive analysis of the literature regarding laver as a food product and as a source of biomedical compounds highlights the possibilities and challenges for application of laver products. Full article
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