Research

Brown algae’s antioxidant properties investigated

September 12, 2013
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Ectocarpus siliculosus growing on the marine plant Zostera  © Akira Peters, Station Biologique Roscoff

Ectocarpus siliculosus growing on the marine plant Zostera
© Akira Peters, Station Biologique Roscoff

Brown algae contain phlorotannins, aromatic (phenolic) compounds that are unique in the plant kingdom. As natural antioxidants, phlorotannins are of great interest for the treament and prevention of cancer and inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers at France’s Végétaux marins et biomolécules (CNRS/UPMC) laboratory at the Station biologique de Roscoff, in collaboration with two colleagues at the Laboratoire des sciences de l’Environnement MARin (Laboratory of Marine Environment Sciences) in Brest (CNRS/UBO/IFREMER/IRD) have recently described the key step in the production of these compounds in Ectocarpus siliculosus, a small brown alga model species. The study also revealed the specific mechanism of an enzyme that synthesizes phenolic compounds with commercial applications.

These findings have been patented and should make it easier to produce the phlorotannins presently used as natural extracts in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The results have also been published online on the site of the journal The Plant Cell (“Structure/Function Analysis of a Type III Polyketide Synthase in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus siliculosus Reveals a Biochemical Pathway in Phlorotannin Monomer Biosynthesis”).

Until now, extracting phlorotannins from brown algae for use in industry was a complex process, and the biosynthesis pathways of these compounds were unknown. By studying the first genome sequenced from a brown alga, the team in Roscoff identified several genes homologous to those involved in phenolic compound biosynthesis in terrestrial plants.

Among these genes, the researchers found that at least one was directly involved in the synthesis of phlorotannins in brown algae. They then inserted these genes into a bacterium, which thus produced a large quantity of the enzymes that could synthesize the desired phenolic compounds.

One of these enzymes, a type III polyketide synthase (PKS III), was studied in detail and revealed how it produces phenolic compounds. PKS III is able, for example, to synthesize phloroglucinol (notably used in antispasmodic drugs and in explosives) and other phenolic compounds with commercial applications.

Besides this mechanism, results revealed that the compounds had other biological functions in the acclimation and adaptation of brown algae to salinity stress. Knowledge of these biosynthesis pathways would allow researchers to uncover the signaling mechanisms that regulate this metabolism. It would also be useful for understanding the biological and ecological functions of these compounds in other brown algae that are already used commercially.

Read More

More Like This…

HOME Algae Industry Jobs

Copyright ©2010-2013 AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com. All rights reserved. Permission required to reprint this article in its entirety. Must include copyright statement and live hyperlinks. Contact editorial@algaeindustrymagazine.com. A.I.M. accepts unsolicited manuscripts for consideration, and takes no responsibility for the validity of claims made in submitted editorial.

From The A.I.M. Archives

— Refresh Page for More Choices
SCHOTT AG, of Mitterteich, Germany, and Algatechnologies Ltd. (Algatech), based at Israel’s Kibbutz Ketura, have signed an R&D agreement to strengthen their partnersh...
U.S. farmers and biofuels makers are watching for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) final decision on the 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard rules, which will set t...
James “Jamie” Levine took over the reigns at Sapphire Energy in July of this year as former President and CEO Cynthia “CJ” Warner stepped down, retaining her role as chai...
Arizona is taking advantage of its open land and ample sunshine to assume a leadership position in the algae biofuel field. The state is home to two national algae testbe...
MicroBio Engineering, Inc., of San Luis Obispo, California, has introduced a full suite of open pond microalgae growth systems designed for quick deployment of research- ...
On September 25, 2014, a photobioreactor for the cultivation of algae was officially unveiled during a seminar at Thomas More University College in Mechelen, Belgium. Und...
Iran-based Qeshm Microalgae Biorefinery Co. (QMAB) has launched a biofuel being marketed as BAYA®, produced from a species of Nannochloropsis (strain 6016) isolated from ...
William Tucker writes in fullfreedom.org about the lure the oceans have for advocates of biofuel, particularly in Scandinavia. “Two-thirds of the globe is covered with wa...
Allan Koay writes in thestar.com about a Universiti Malaya research project paving the way for the commercial production of paper pulp and bioethanol from seaweed. The Al...
Much of the development of the algae industry in 2014 was driven by domestic and international alliances, partnerships, and mergers that brought complementary skills and ...
Green Star Products, Inc. (GSPI) has signed a contract to build a demonstration facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, to produce commercial quality algae. The Hybrid Algae Produ...
Fort Myers, FL-based Algenol has announced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved fuels made from Algenol’s process as an advanced biofuel, meet...
Kailua Kona, Hawaii-based Cyanotech has announced financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal year 2015, ended December 31, 2014. For the thir...
Nutritionaloutlook.com this month gives a well-rounded survey of how algae’s uses in food, beverage, and supplements keep expanding. Here is an excerpt: Thanks to the 201...
Kevin Valine at the Modesto Bee writes that the California city of Modesto may sell the algae that grows in its roughly 1,000 acres of sewer ponds at its Jennings Road wa...