, Volume 219, Issue 4, pp 561-578

Exploitation of marine algae: biogenic compounds for potential antifouling applications

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Abstract

Marine algae are one of the largest producers of biomass in the marine environment. They produce a wide variety of chemically active metabolites in their surroundings, potentially as an aid to protect themselves against other settling organisms. These active metabolites, also known as biogenic compounds, produced by several species of marine macro- and micro-algae, have antibacterial, antialgal, antimacrofouling and antifungal properties, which are effective in the prevention of biofouling, and have other likely uses, e.g. in therapeutics. The isolated substances with potent antifouling activity belong to groups of fatty acids, lipopeptides, amides, alkaloids, terpenoids, lactones, pyrroles and steroids. These biogenic compounds have the potential to be produced commercially using metabolic engineering techniques. Therefore, isolation of biogenic compounds and determination of their structure could provide leads for future development of, for example, environmentally friendly antifouling paints. This paper mainly discusses the successes of such research, and the future applications in the context of understanding the systems biology of micro-algae and cyanobacteria.