Microalgae can be considered as an essential available source for producing functional compounds of biological importance under abiotic stress activities. These compounds are known as nutraceuticals as they exhibit nutritional and pharmaceutical properties. Some microalgae have significant anti-inflammatory and antitumor activity. Microalgae has simple growth requirements that are important from a biotechnological perspective for producing pharmaceutical compounds. Polyunsaturated fatty acids, components of renewable bioactive lipids, have been utilized in the pre- vention/treatment of heart diseases. Some derivatives of polyunsaturated fatty acids like eicosapen- taenoic acid (EPA), g-linolenic acid (ALA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been reported for the treatment of diseases like asthma, type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disorders and skin disorders. These compounds are also used as additives in cosmetic preparations. Some microalgae, like Chlorella, Spirulina, Dunaliella, and Haematococcus, have been known to produce bioactive compounds possessing high target specificity and for having therapeutic importance in the treatment of infectious and non-infectious diseases. The chemical composition of microalgae consists of a mixture of minerals, vitamins, primary and secondary products that offer a broad spectrum of numerous applications for human beings as a food supplement, antioxidant and anti-ageing. A schematic representation of various applications of algal nutraceuticals is given in Figure 14.3 and Table 14.3.

Antioxidant Properties of Algal Nutraceuticals

Numerous cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions, neurodegenerative disease and age- related degenerative conditions can be caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) which target important biological molecules like DNA, RNA, lipids and proteins (Kuda et al., 2005; Sheih et al., 2009; Zhang et ah, 2010). These oxidation processes can be inhibited with the aid of synthetic antioxidant drugs, namely butylated hydroxyanisole, butylated hydroxytoluene and propylgallate which pose various toxic side effects and should be administered under strict observation (Kuda et ah, 2005; Sheih et ah, 2009). These reasons made the development of alternative naturally synthesized antioxidant compounds imperative for the benefit of our health. Algae can survive in harsh environments and when they are exposed to extreme conditions, like UV radiations, elevated temperature and high oxygen levels, which eventually leads to the synthesis of strong oxidizing agents (Matsukawa et ah, 1997) and could be employed for antioxygenic activities (Tutour et ah, 1998). Algae produce many antioxidant substances that are used to provide defence mechanisms in order to cope up with high UV radiation and free radicals (Matsukawa et ah, 1997; Lopez et ah, 2011). Both microalgae and macroalgae used in the human diet have antioxidant organic substances and enzymes which limit oxidative damage (Cornish and Garbary, 2010). The two broad categories of the antioxidant activity of algae which decreases oxidative stress are on the gut microbiome by limiting reactive oxygen species within the digestive tract and the transportation of epithelial cells into the blood for distribution throughout the body (Gobler et ah, 2011). Natural antioxidants found in many algae play an important role against various diseases and ageing processes through the protection of cells from oxidative damage. The detected antioxidant compounds in algae have potential anti-ageing, dietary, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, cytotoxic, antimalarial, antiproliferative and anticancer properties (Zubia et ah, 2007). Many literatures on marine algae have confirmed that a diverse range of reactive antioxidant compounds, namely L-ascorbic acid, glutathione, polyphenols, phylopheophytin and fucoxantinein, are produced by the algae (Kuda et ah, 2005; Demirel et ah, 2009; Wang et ah, 2010; Lopez et ah, 2011). A broad range of secondary metabolites including carotenoids (a- and (1-carotene, fucoxanthin, astaxanthin), catechins (e.g. catechin, epigallocate- chin, epigallocatechin), gallate, phlorotannins (e.g. phloroglucinol), eckol and tocopherols («-,

An outline of various application of algal nutraceuticals

FIGURE 14.3 An outline of various application of algal nutraceuticals.

TABLE 14.3

Various Applications of Algal Nutraceuticals



Active Compound



Scytosiphon lomentaria, Papenfussiella kuromo, Nemacysltts decipiens


Kuda et al., 2005

Chlorella vulgaris


Sheih et al., 2009

Laminaria digitata, Himanthalia elongata, Fuats vesiculosus, Fuats serratus, Ascophyllum nodosum


Tutour et al., 1998

Colpomenia sinuosa, Dictyota dicliotoma, Petalonia fascia, Scytosiphon lomentaria


Demirel et al.. 2009


Sargassum tennerimu


Samee et al.. 2009

Eckolonia cava

Phloroglucinol derivatives,



Li et al.. 2008

Laurencia undulata


Jung et al., 2009

Eisenia arbore



Sugiura et al.. 2008

Eisenia bicyclis and Ecklonia kurome


Shibata et al.. 2008

Ecklonia cava


Le et al.. 2009


Undaria pinnatifida


Woo et al.. 2009 Meada et al., 2007

Ecklonia cava


Park et al.. 2012

Hematococcus pluvialis


Aninkumar et al., 2012


Fuats evanescens


Alekseyenko et al., 2007

£. binghamiae


Villarreal-Gomez et al., 2010

Green sea algae


Nakajima et al., 2009

Amphiroa zonata


Haradaand Kamei, 1997

Gracillaria corticata


Namvaret al., 2014

Dunaliella bardawil


Fujii et al.. 1993

Monostroma nitidum

Sulphated polysaccharides

Karnjanapratum and You, 2011

Cladophora glomerata


Laungsuwon and Chulalaksananukul, 2013

Eucheuma cotton 'd


Farideh et al.. 2012


Asparagopsis taxiformis, Cymopolia barbata, Osmundea hybrida

Gonzalez del Val et al.. 2001

Gracilaria chang 'd


Sasidharan et al., 2010

Cystoseira compressa, Cystoseira crinita, Cystoseira sedoides, Gelidium latifolium, Dictyopteris membranaceae and Halurus equisetifolius

Mhadhebi et al.. 2012

Scytosiphon lomentaria


Taskin et al., 2010

<5-tocopherols) have been found to be produced by algae (Matsukawa et al., 1997; Demirel et al.,

  • 2009) . Numerous sulphated polysaccharides, extracted from Laminaria japonica (brown algae), Porphyra haitanensis (red algae), Ulva pertusa and Enteromorpha linza, were found to exhibit antioxidant properties in certain assays (Zhang et ah, 2010). Some of the bioactive molecules from algal species like Stypocaulon scoparium (Lopez et ah, 2011), Palmaria palmata (Wang et ah,
  • 2010) and Chlorella vulgaris (Sheih et ah, 2009) were reported to possess antioxidant properties known as nutraceuticals.
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