Properties of polysaccharides in several seaweeds from Atlantic Canada and their potential anti-influenza viral activities
To explore the polysaccharides from selected seaweeds of Atlantic Canada and to evaluate their potential anti-influenza virus activities, polysaccharides were isolated from several Atlantic Canadian seaweeds, including three red algae (Polysiphonia lanosa, Furcellaria lumbricalis, and Palmaria palmata), two brown algae (Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus), and one green alga (Ulva lactuca) by sequential extraction with cold water, hot water, and alkali solutions. These polysaccharides were analyzed for monosaccharide composition and other general chemical properties, and they were evaluated for anti-influenza virus activities. Total sugar contents in these polysaccharides ranged from 15.4% (in U. lactuca) to 91.4% (in F. lumbricalis); sulfation level was as high as 17.6% in a polysaccharide from U. lactuca, whereas it could not be detected in an alikali-extract from P. palmaria. For polysaccharides from red seaweeds, the main sugar units were sulfated galactans (agar or carrageenan) for P. lanosa, F. lumbricalis, and xylans for P. palmata. In brown seaweeds, the polysaccharides largely contained sulfated fucans, whereas the polysaccharides in green seaweed were mainly composed of heteroglycuronans. Screening for antiviral activity against influenza A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) virus revealed that brown algal polysaccharides were particularly effective. Seaweeds from Atlantic Canada are a good source of marine polysaccharides with potential antiviral properties.