Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 2539–2548 | Cite as

Comparative study by GC-MS and chemometrics on the chemical and nutritional profile of Fucus spiralis L. juvenile and mature life-cycle phases

  • Ana M. L. Seca
  • Vera L. M. Gouveia
  • M. Carmo Barreto
  • Artur M. S. Silva
  • Diana C. G. A. Pinto


Fucus spiralis L. is an edible brown macroalga with a wide distribution range. It is very rich in fiber, phlorotannins, and sterols, which are associated with its nutritional value, and exhibits significant pharmacological properties, presenting not only antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities but also cardioprotective, anti-obesity, and antidiabetic effects. Nevertheless, the chemical profiles of F. spiralis life-cycle phases have not been explored. Therefore, the main goal of this research was to assess the F. spiralis chemical composition in juvenile and mature phases by GC-MS analysis, and to identify the differences and/or similarities using the principal component analysis (PCA) tool. The GC-MS profiles of each life-cycle phase hexane fraction as well as important data to improve the use of F. spiralis are disclosed. In both phases, alkanes, fatty acids, alditols, sterols, monoacylglycerides, and δ-tocopherol were identified, although the content of each compound and/or class of compounds is life-cycle phase dependent. For example, desmosterol and stearic acid are produced exclusively in the juvenile phase and the sterol content in the juvenile phase is lower than in mature phase, while the juvenile phase produces a greater variety of fatty acids. Moreover, the alkanes content is lower in juvenile phase while the most abundant alkane is produced exclusively in mature phase. Simultaneously, PCA allowed the differentiation between the life-cycle phases and the identification of the compounds that contribute to this distinction. Our study confirms F. spiralis as a source of phytochemicals with recognized health benefits so its dietary use is recommended. But, its life-cycle phase should be considered before the collection.


Fucus spiralis Phaeophyceae GC-MS profile Mature and juvenile phases Alditols Fatty acids Sterols 



We would like to thank also to A. I. Neto for harvesting and identifying seaweed and Paulo Silveira for PCA results.

Funding information

This study was financed by Portuguese National Funds, through FCT—Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, and as applicable co-financed by the FEDER within the PT2020 Partnership Agreement by funding the Organic Chemistry Research Unit (QOPNA) (UID/QUI/00062/2013) and the cE3c centre (UID/BIA/00329/2013).

Supplementary material

10811_2018_1447_MOESM1_ESM.docx (124 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 124 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana M. L. Seca
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vera L. M. Gouveia
    • 3
  • M. Carmo Barreto
    • 1
  • Artur M. S. Silva
    • 2
  • Diana C. G. A. Pinto
    • 2
  1. 1.cE3c- Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes/Azorean Biodiversity Group & Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AzoresPonta DelgadaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry & QOPNA-Organic Chemistry, Natural Products and Food StuffsUniversity of AveiroAveiroPortugal
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences and TechnologyUniversity of AzoresPonta DelgadaPortugal

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