Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 797–823 | Cite as

Bioactive compounds against neglected diseases isolated from macroalgae: a review

  • Miriam Falkenberg
  • Eliana Nakano
  • Leonardo Zambotti-Villela
  • Gabriele A. Zatelli
  • Ana Claudia Philippus
  • Kely Braga Imamura
  • Angela Maria Arenas Velasquez
  • Rafaela Paula Freitas
  • Lenita de Freitas Tallarico
  • Pio Colepicolo
  • Marcia A. S. GraminhaEmail author


To survive in a very competitive environment, marine macroalgae had to evolve defense strategies, resulting in an enormous diversity of compounds from different metabolic pathways. These secondary metabolites have been explored by the pharmaceutical industries in order to generate new drugs to treat several diseases. Recent publications in drug research from natural sources have indicated algae as an interesting choice to provide novel drugs to fulfill this gap. This review highlights algal metabolites that showed bioactivities suggesting their potential against neglected diseases. Drug discovery for neglected diseases has been overlooked by the Big Pharmas, mainly because they affect poor people, most of them living in developing countries. Moreover, this review shows the commercial application of the most explored chemicals from algae such as terpenes, phenols, quinones, macrolides, alkaloids, lipids, chromones, and other related metabolites and an overview regarding the status of green extraction technologies for seaweeds and their concepts.


Algae Green extraction Pharmaceutical application Natural products Pharmacology Antibacterial Antifungal Antileishmanial Antiplasmodial Antiprotozoal 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Miriam Falkenberg
    • 1
  • Eliana Nakano
    • 2
  • Leonardo Zambotti-Villela
    • 3
  • Gabriele A. Zatelli
    • 1
  • Ana Claudia Philippus
    • 1
  • Kely Braga Imamura
    • 4
  • Angela Maria Arenas Velasquez
    • 4
  • Rafaela Paula Freitas
    • 2
  • Lenita de Freitas Tallarico
    • 2
  • Pio Colepicolo
    • 3
  • Marcia A. S. Graminha
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Postgraduate Program in Pharmacy, Health Sciences CenterFederal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)FlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.Parasitology LaboratoryButantan Institute (IB)São PauloBrazil
  3. 3.University of São Paulo (USP)Institute of Chemistry (USP)São PauloBrazil
  4. 4.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesSão Paulo State University (UNESP)AraraquaraBrazil

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