Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets

Date:
September 5, 2013
Source:
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)
Summary:
Brown algae contain phlorotannins, aromatic (phenolic) compounds that are unique in the plant kingdom. As natural antioxidants, phlorotannins are of great interest for the treatment and prevention of cancer and inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers have recently elucidated 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.

Ectocarpus siliculosus growing on the marine plant Zostera.
Credit: © 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 treatment and prevention of cancer and inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers at the 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 elucidated 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.

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 (1). 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.

This work was initiated with the support of the scientific interest group (GIS) Europole Mer. It culminated in the creation of IDEALG, a project launched in September 2011 as part of France's Investments for the Future program and led by the Station Biologique de Roscoff. IDEALG is a 10-year research scheme involving more than one hundred scientists. It aims to find biotechnology applications for genomic and post-genomic research, as well as exploit marine macroalgal bioresources. A CNRS patent has been filed and in-depth work on structural biology and controlled mutagenesis is being pursued as part of IDEALG. It should lead to new paths for protein engineering, which will make it possible to produce molecules of interest directly and more easily. This will be achieved using bacteria, thus avoiding the production of plant organic matter (biomass), whose purification is hampered by the difficult extracting process of natural phlorotannins.

(1) Phenolic compounds: aromatic chemical compounds from plants. Phenolic compounds represent a class of substances long known in French as matières tannoïques (tanoic substances). The tannins are one of the four main families of phenolic compounds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Laurence Meslet-Cladière, Ludovic Delage, Cédric Leroux, Sophie Goulitquer, Catherine Leblanc, Emeline Creis, Erwan Ar Gall, Valérie Stiger-Pouvreau, Mirjam Czjzek, Philippe Potin. Analysis of a Type III Polyketide Synthase Function and Structure in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus siliculosus Reveals a Previously Unknown Biochemical Pathway in Phlorotannin Monomer Biosynthesis. Plant Cell, 27/08/2013 DOI: 10.​1105/​tpc.​113.​111336

Cite This Page:

CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905085642.htm>.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2013, September 5). Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905085642.htm
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). "Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130905085642.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) — Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) — Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) — With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) — Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins