Studying the Relationship between the Antiviral Activity and the Structure of ἰ-Carrageenan Using Ultrasonication

Oshrat Levy-Ontman, Eiman Abu-Galiyun, Mahmoud Huleihel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


ἰ-carrageenan is a linear macroalgal polysaccharide that is well known for its antiviral bioactivity. Although it is considered a candidate for antiviral therapeutics, its application is highly limited due to its low solubility and high viscosity, which lower its adsorption efficiency. With the aim of deriving an active ἰ-carrageenan fragment with an improved adsorption capacity, we studied the effects of ultrasonication on structural changes in ἰ-carrageenan with respect to changes in its bioactivity against herpesviruses. An FTIR analysis revealed that ultrasonication increased the hydrophilicity of ἰ-carrageenan without changing its functional groups, and a rheological analysis demonstrated that it gradually decreased the strength of the polysaccharide gel, which completely lost its gel structure and formed small nanoparticles after 30 min of ultrasonication. Concomitantly with these physicochemical changes, a plaque assay revealed that longer ultrasonication increased the antiviral activity of ἰ-carrageenan against two herpesviruses, namely, HSV-1 and VZV. Finally, we separated the 30-min ultrasonicated ἰ-carrageenan into four fractions and found that fractions with a lower molecular weight were significantly less active against both herpesviruses than those with a higher molecular weight. Our findings show that ultrasonication induces physicochemical changes in ἰ-carrageenan that increase its antiviral bioactivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14200
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - 17 Sep 2023


  • antiviral
  • carrageenan
  • herpesvirus
  • physicochemical
  • ultrasonication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Catalysis
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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