Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 431–443 | Cite as

Biological activities and potential cosmeceutical applications of bioactive components from brown seaweeds: a review

  • W. A. J. P. Wijesinghe
  • You-Jin JeonEmail author


Seaweeds are the primary producers of all aquatic ecosystems. Chemical constituents isolated from diverse classes of seaweeds exert a wide range of nutritional, functional and biological activities. Unique metabolites of seaweeds possess specific biological properties that make them potential ingredients of many industrial applications such as functional foods, pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals. Cosmeceuticals of natural origin are becoming more popular than synthetic cosmetics. Hence, the investigation of new seaweeds derived functional components, a different source of natural products, has proven to be a promising area of cosmeceutical studies. Brown seaweeds also produce a range of active components including unique secondary metabolites such as phlorotannins and many of which have specific biological activities that give possibilities for their economic utilization. Brown seaweeds derived active compounds have been shown various functional properties including, antioxidant, antiwrinkling, whitening, antiinflammatory and antiallergy. It is well-known that these kind of biological effects are closely associated with cosmeceutical preparations. This communication reviews the current knowledge on brown seaweeds derived metabolites with various biological activities and the potential use as cosmeceutical ingredients. It is hoped that the reviewed literature on multifunctional properties of brown seaweeds will improve access to the seaweed based natural products specially the ability to incorporate these functional properties in cosmeceutical applications.


Biological properties Natural products Phaeophyceae Phytochemicals Secondary metabolites 


Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Marine Biomedical SciencesJeju National UniversityJejuRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Marine and Environmental Research InstituteJeju National UniversityJejuRepublic of Korea

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