Antioxidant activity of the polysaccharide of the red microalga Porphyridium sp.

Tehila Tannin-Spitz, Margalit Bergman, Dorit Van-Moppes, Shlomo Grossman, Shoshana Arad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

194 Scopus citations


The cells of the red microalga Porphyridium UTEX 637 are encapsulated within a sulfated polysaccharide whose external part (i.e., the soluble fraction) dissolves into the medium. It is thought that the main function of the polysaccharide is to protect the algal cells from the extreme environmental conditions, such as drought and high light, prevailing in their native sea-sand habitat. In this study, we evaluated the antioxidant properties of the water-soluble polysaccharide of Porphyridium sp. by determining the ability of a polysaccharide solution to inhibit: (1) autooxidation of linoleic acid, as determined by the standard thiobarbituric acid (TBA) and ferrous oxidation (FOX) assays; and (2) oxidative damage to 3T3 cells as determined by the dichlorofluorescein (DCFH) assay. In all three assays, the polysaccharide inhibited oxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner. Antioxidant activity was also exhibited by fractions of the polysaccharide obtained by sonication followed by separation on a reverse-phase HPLC with a C8 semi-preparative column. It is suggested that the antioxidant activity of the sulfated polysaccharide protects the alga against reactive oxygen species produced under high solar irradiation, possibly by scavenging the free radicals produced in the cell under stress conditions and transporting them from the cell to the medium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-222
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2005


  • Antioxidant
  • Porphyridium
  • Reactive oxygen species
  • Red microalgae
  • Sulfated polysaccharide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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