Algae and Their Extracts in Medical Treatment

  • Karolina KorzeniowskaEmail author
  • Bogusława Górka
  • Jacek Lipok
  • Piotr P. Wieczorek
Part of the Developments in Applied Phycology book series (DAPH, volume 8)


Scientific efforts undertaken in recent decades have undoubtedly proven that algae are an inestimable and, what is more, important renewable source of hundreds of chemical compounds characterized by a wide spectrum of biological activity. Polysaccharides, phenolic compounds and their derivatives, pigments, proteins, lipids, and fatty acids are the substances that can be isolated from seaweeds, possessing antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, antilipidemic, antitumor, antidiabetic, anticoagulant, antioxidant, and antiallergic properties, which can be successfully utilized for human needs. The majority of attention has been focused on marine polysaccharides and their application in medicine and pharmacology. Biodegradability into environmentally harmless products, excellent biocompatibility, the lack of toxicity, and physiological indifference make them bioactive compounds of huge therapeutic potential in the pharmaceutical and biomedicinal fields. Many of them are key components for the production of medical devices and pharmaceuticals and play an important role in biomedical applications, such as wound healing/dressing, drug delivery, and controlled release. A relatively high content of phlorotannins and fatty acids, especially omega-3 acids, makes algae a natural and functional food or diet supplement, rich in vitamins that support the nervous system and lower the glucose level in blood. Although several of these properties have been proven by significant amounts of research or in many clinical trials, there are still many possibilities for using biologically active compounds from seaweeds in ways that improve human health and wellness.


Algae in medicine Seaweed polysaccharides Bioactive compounds Antioxidant activity Phlorotannins Fatty acids 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karolina Korzeniowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bogusława Górka
    • 1
  • Jacek Lipok
    • 1
  • Piotr P. Wieczorek
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Chemistry, Department of Analytical and Ecological ChemistryOpole UniversityOpolePoland

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