Ocean acidification affects biological activities of seaweeds: a case study of Sargassum vulgare from Ischia volcanic CO2 vents

Highlights

  • Bioactivities of S. vulgare from Ischia CO2 vents and nearby control site were analysed.
  • Elevated DIC increases polysaccharide content in the algae at CO2 vents.
  • Algal extract from acidified population showed higher antimicrobial, and antiprotozoal activity.
  • Acidified population showed pronounced antimutagenic potential and anticancer activities.

Abstract

We utilized volcanic CO2 vents at Castello Aragonese off Ischia Island as a natural laboratory to investigate the effect of lowered pH/elevated CO2 on the bioactivities of extracts from fleshy brown algae Sargassum vulgare C. Agardh. We analysed the carbohydrate levels, antioxidant capacity, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anticancer properties and antimutagenic potential of the algae growing at the acidified site (pH ∼ 6.7) and those of algae growing at the nearby control site Lacco Ameno (pH∼8.1). The results of the present study show that the levels of polysaccharides fucoidan and alginate were higher in the algal population at acidified site. In general, extracts for the algal population from the acidified site showed a higher antioxidant capacity, antilipidperoxidation, antibacterial, antifungal, antiprotozoal, anticancer activities and antimutagenic potential compared to the control population. The increased bioactivity in acidified population could be due to elevated levels of bioactive compounds of algae and/or associated microbial communities. In this snapshot study, we performed bioactivity assays but did not characterize the chemistry and source of presumptive bioactive compounds. Nevertheless, the observed improvement in the medicinal properties of S. vulgare in the acidified oceans provides a promising basis for future marine drug discovery.

Kumar A., Buia M. C., Palumbo A., Mohany M., Wadaan M. A. M., Hozzein W. N., Beemster G. T. S. & AbdElgawad H., in press. Ocean acidification affects biological activities of seaweeds: a case study of Sargassum vulgare from Ischia volcanic CO2 vents. Environmental Pollution. Article (subscription required).

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OA-ICC HIGHLIGHTS

Ocean acidification in the IPCC AR5 WG II

OUP book