Paris, 30 August 2013

Brown algae reveal antioxidant production secrets

Brown algae contain phlorotannins, aromatic (phenolic) compounds that are unique in the plant kingdom. As natural antioxidants, phlorotannins are of great interest for the treament and prevention of cancer and inflammatory, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers at the Végétaux marins et biomolécules (CNRS/UPMC) laboratory at the Station biologique de Roscoff, in collaboration with two colleagues at the Laboratoire des sciences de l'Environnement MARin (Laboratory of Marine Environment Sciences) in Brest (CNRS/UBO/IFREMER/IRD) have recently elucidated the key step in the production of these compounds in Ectocarpus siliculosus, a small brown alga model species. The study also revealed the specific mechanism of an enzyme that synthesizes phenolic compounds with commercial applications. These findings have been patented and should make it easier to produce the phlorotannins presently used as natural extracts in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The results have also been published online on the site of the journal The Plant Cell.

To download the press release : Algues brunes


Analysis of a Type III Polyketide Synthase Function and Structure in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus siliculosus Reveals a Previously Unknown Biochemical Pathway in Phlorotannin Monomer Biosynthesis. Laurence Meslet-Cladière, Ludovic Delage, Cédric Leroux, Sophie Goulitquer, Catherine Leblanc, Emeline Creis, Erwan Ar Gall, Valérie Stiger-Pouvreau, Mirjam Czjzek, Philippe Potin, Plant Cell, 27/08/2013, doi: View web site

CNRS Patent: Delage L, Meslet−Cladière L, Potin P, Goulitquer S 2011 « Utilisation de "polyketide synthases de type lll (PKS lll) recombinantes d'algues brunes marines », Brevet N° deposit/publication 11 58728 Date of deposit 29/09/2011).


CNRS Researcher l Philippe Potin l
Telephone: +33 2 98 29 23 75 / +33 6 35 95 27 39

CNRS Press Officer l Laetitia Louis l
Telephone: +33 1 44 96 51 37 l


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