Drug Discovery From Marine Microalgae

Martínez Andrade, Kevin Andrés (2021). Drug Discovery From Marine Microalgae. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00012d32


Marine microalgae are protists that contribute up to 40% of global primary productivity. They have been shown to possess a broad range of biological activities, including antiproliferative (cancer cells), antimicrobial, antibiofilm and antiseizure activities that make them excellent candidates as new ocean medicines. They are also excellent sources of nutraceuticals and food supplements, can be easily cultivated in photo-bioreactors to obtain huge biomass and represent a renewable and poorly explored resource for human health benefits.

The general objective of this PhD project was to investigate eight marine microalgae strains (i.e. Amphidinium carterae FE102, Leptocylindrus danicus FE354, Chaetoceros pseudocurvisetus FE331, Dunaliella tertiolecta FE200, Asterionellopsis glacialis FE355, Asterionellopsis glacialis A4, Skeletonema costatum FE85, and Odontella sinensis B2) to identify secondary metabolites with anticancer, antimicrobial and antibiofilm properties which can become potential drug candidates. Different culturing conditions can lead to changes in biological activity so I also explored the potential of using this phenomenon during my thesis.

Of all the species tested, five displayed interesting biological activities and three of them were chemically studied in order to identify the source of the observed activity. From the bioassay-guided fractionation approach applied on A. carterae (Chapter 2), I isolated and identified a new marine polyketide with anticancer activity: amphidinol 22 (Chapter 3). From the extracts of L. danicus, I detected two different metabolites with potent antibiofilm activity (Chapter 4). Furthermore, the source of the antibacterial activity observed in C. pseudocurvisetus was unveiled (Chapter 4). The biological activity of the other species was assessed to identify those with potentially interesting bioactivity (Chapter 5).

There are still very few studies on bioactive metabolites from marine microalgae and this project allowed me to further exploit this niche and also to travel to other research institutions in order to complete such a multidisciplinary work.

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