Effect of drying on the biological activities of a red microalgal polysaccharide

Ariel Ginzberg, Eli Korin, Shoshana Arad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The red microalga Porphyridium sp. produces a polysaccharide exhibiting a variety of biological activities with potential for medical and cosmetic uses. For this reason, it is important that the drying process, which is the end point of production, should not destroy the natural characteristics of the material. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of drying at temperatures ranging from 40 to 140°C on the bioactivities of the polysaccharide. Drying the polysaccharide at temperatures above 90°C caused a significant decline in its biological activities (antiviral and anti-cell proliferation) and reduced elasticity, viscosity, and intrinsic viscosity relative to lyophilized polysaccharide and to the starting product. The relationship between molecular weight and intrinsic viscosity indicated that the polysaccharide takes a rigid coil conformation, which stiffens as a result of drying. FTIR analysis revealed that drying caused both significant conformational alterations in the polymer chains and changes in the interaction between the polysaccharide and the glycoprotein to which it is noncovalently associated. Differential scanning calorimetry analysis of the water adsorbed on the charged groups of the polysaccharide showed that drying at higher temperatures increased the bound water content due to dissociation of the polymer chains. Thus, it is recommended that the polysaccharide be dried in a two-step process in which free water is removed by convection and bound freezing water is removed by lyphophilization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-420
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2008


  • DSC
  • Drying
  • FTIR
  • Intrinsic viscosity
  • Porphyridium sp.
  • Rheology
  • Sulfated polysaccharides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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