Main Article Content
Seaweed polysaccharides isolated from the cell walls of various species of algae, possess immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antitumor, antithrombotic, anticoagulant and antioxidant bioactivities.
Within the group of polysaccharides extracted from algae there are the phycocolloids. Colloids are extracted compounds that form colloidal solutions, an intermediate state between a solution and a suspension; they can be used commercially as thickeners, gelling agents and stabilizers for suspensions and emulsions. Hydrocolloids are carbohydrates that when dissolved in water form viscous solutions.
Sulfated galactans (e.g. agars, carrageenans, porphyrans) can be obtained from red algae, (e.g. ulvans) from green algae, alginates and other sulfated polysaccharides (e.g. ascophyllan, laminaran and fucoidan) are obtained from selected brown algae. The historic origin of the main phycocolloids and other seaweed polysaccharides (e.g. agar, carrageenan, alginic acid - alginates), their chemistry, uses and bioactivities are described in this review.