The lipidic extract of the seaweed Gracilariopsis longissima (Rhodophyta, Gracilariales): a potential resource for biotechnological purposes?
In recent years seaweeds increasingly attracted interest in the search for new drugs and have been shown to be a primary source of bioactive natural products including antibiotics. In the present investigation the antimicrobial activity of Gracilariopsis longissima lipidic extract was assayed and its chemical characterization was carried out by means of advanced analytical techniques such as gas-chromatography and multinuclear and multidimensional NMR spectroscopy. G. longissima lipidic extract showed an antibacterial activity against several Vibrio species. These results are interesting considering both the resistance against antibiotics developed by vibrios and the need to control fish and shellfish diseases due to vibriosis. Analysis of fatty acid methyl esters performed by gas-chromatography showed that palmitic acid methyl ester (16:0) was the predominant saturated fatty acid (42%), while, among monounsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid methyl ester (18:1) prevailed (8.5%). Because the palmitic acid represents the main component of fatty acids we hypothesized its involvement in the antibacterial activity observed. However, a pure sample of palmitic acid did not show an antibacterial activity. The fatty acid profile of G. longissima revealed also an interesting composition in polyunsaturated fatty acids and in particular the ratio of ω-3 to ω-6 fatty acids was >1 thus suggesting that this macroalga may be used as a natural source of ω3. Moreover, the 1H NMR spectrum in CDCl3 of algal lipid fraction shows the characteristic signals of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids as well as other metabolites. Interestingly, in the lipid extract the presence of polyhydroxybutyrate, a linear biodegradable and biocompatible polyester, was clearly identified by NMR spectroscopy. In conclusion, the lipidic extract of G. longissima on account of its antimicrobial activity, nutritional value and content in biodegradable and biocompatible polyester represents an interesting potential biotechnological resource.
► We report the composition of the seaweed Gracilariopsis longissima lipidic extract. ► The analyses were carried out by gas-chromatography and NMR spectroscopy. ► The antimicrobial activity of G. longissima lipidic extract was evidenced. ► The lipid extract showed a ratio of ω-3 to ω-6 fatty acids >1 and the presence of polyhydroxybutyrate. ► On the basis of these features the alga is an interesting potential biotechnological resource.
Journal: New Biotechnology - Volume 29, Issue 3, 15 February 2012, Pages 443–450