Biomaterials pp 307-331 | Cite as


  • Ian W. Sutherland


The main sources of alginates and the current source of all commercial alginate material are species of the brown algae (Phaeophyceae). These are found in coastal waters in cold and temperate areas of the world. Although some of these resources are potentially very large indeed, their commercial value cannot always be realized because of the remoteness of the location and the difficulties attending harvesting and shipment. It is however possible that some geographical areas with such resources may be developed in the future, as the alginate industry is expanding by about 10% per annum. Another problem is encountered with some algal species from which the alginate is less readily extracted and processed. Estimation of current annual production of alginate world-wide is extremely difficult, but is probably upwards of 25,000 tonnes. Successful attempts to cultivate seaweeds for alginate production have been made in the Republic of China, but the contribution of this source to total world production cannot be accurately determined and is probably not currently significant. It is probably unlikely that extensive production of alginate from such cultivated material will be seen in the foreseeable future.


Uronic Acid Algal Material Guluronic Acid Alginate Fibre Mannuronic Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Craigie, J.S., Morris, E.R., Rees, D.A. & Thom, D. (1984) Alginate block structure in Phaeophyceae from Nova Scotia: Variation with species, environment and tissue type. Carbohyd. Polymers 4: 237–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Morris, E.R., Rees, D.A. & Thom, D. (1980) Characterisation of alginate composition and block structure by circular dichroism. Carbohyd. Res. 81: 305–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Grasdalen, H. (1983) High field 1H-n.m.r. spectroscopy of alginate sequential structure and linkage conformations. Carbohyd. Res. 118: 255–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Martinsen, A., Skjaek-Braek, G., Smidsrod, O., Zanetti, F. & Paoletti, S. (1991) Comparison of different methods for determination of molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of alginates. Carbohyd. Polymers 15: 171–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Smidsrod, O. & Haug, A. (1968) Dependence upon uronic acid composition of some ion-exchange properties of alginates. Acta Chem. Scand. 22: 1989–1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rees, D.A. (1981) Polysaccharide shapes and interactions — some recent advances. Pure Appl. Chem. 53: 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Chitnis, C.E. & Ohman, D. (1990) Cloning of Pseudomonas aeruginosa algG which controls alginate structure. J. Bact. 172: 2894–2900.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Indergaard, M. & Skjaek-Braek, G. (1987) Characteristics of alginate from Laminaria digitata cultivated in a high phosphate environment. Hydrobiologia 151/152: 541–549.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Quatrano, R.S. (1982) Cell wall formation in Fucus zygotes: a model system to study the assembly and localization of wall polymers. In Cellulose and Other Natural Polymer Systems (ed. Brown, R.M.), pp. 45–49. Plenum.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Malmstrom, A. (1984) Biosynthesis of dermatan sulphate. II. Substrate specificity of the C-5 uronosyl epimerase. J. Biol. Chem. 259: 161–165.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Feingold, D.S. & Bentley, R. (1987) Conformational aspects of the reaction mechanisms of polysaccharide lyases and epimerases. FEBS Lett. 223: 207–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Skjaek-Braek, G., Smidsrod, O. & Larsen, B. (1986) Tailoring of alginates byenzymatic modification in vitro. Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 8: 330–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Larsen, B., Skjaek-Braek, G. & Painter, T. (1986) Action pattern of mannuronan C-5-epimerase: generation of block-copolymeric structures in alginates by a multiple attack mechanism. Carbohyd. Res. 146: 342–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Darzins, A. & Chakrabarty, A.M. (1984) Cloning of genes controlling alginate biosynthesis from a mucoid cystic fibrosis isolate of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. J. Bact. 159: 9–18.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Lynn, A.R. & Sokatch, J.R. (1984) J. Bact. 158: 1161–1162.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Blair, S.D., Jarvis, P. & McCollum, C. (1990) Clinical trial of calcium alginate haemostatic swabs. Br. J. Surg. 77: 568–570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Martinsen, A., Skjaek-Braek, G. & Smidsrod, O. (1989) Alginate as immobilization material. I. Correlation between chemical and physical properties of alginate gel beads. Biotechnol. Bioengng. 33: 79–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Draget, K.I., Ostgaard, K. & Smidsrod, O. (1991) Homogeneous alginate gels: a technical approach. Carbohyd. Polymers 14: 159–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Aspinall, G.O. (1983) The Polysaccharides, Vol. 2. Academic.Google Scholar
  20. Berry, A. et al. (1988) Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in Cystic Fibrosis: molecular approaches to a medical problem. Chimicaoggi, 13–19.Google Scholar
  21. Hoiby, N. et al. (1989) Pseudomonas aeruginosa Infection. Antibiotics Chemother. 42. Google Scholar
  22. Skjaek-Braek, G. (1988) Biosynthesis and structure-function relationships in alginates. Thesis, University of Trondheim NTH.Google Scholar
  23. Skjaek-Braek, G. & Martinsen, A. (1991) Applications of some algal polysaccharides in biotechnology. In Seaweed Resources in Europe: Uses and Potential. (eds Guiry, M.D. & Blunden, G.), Ch. 9, pp. 219–257. Wiley.Google Scholar
  24. Sutherland, I.W. (1990) Biotechnology of Microbial Exopolysaccharides. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Yalpani, M. (1987) Industrial Polysaccharides. Elsevier.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited and ICI Biological Products Business 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian W. Sutherland
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Cell and Molecular BiologyEdinburgh UniversityScotland, UK

Personalised recommendations