Category Archives: ALGAE



Life began about 3.5 billion years ago in the oceans with the appearance of prokaryotes.

The oldest reliable date for the appearance of the eukaryotes is about 1.9 billion years ago, when the first members of a group of unicellular organisms called acritarchs appear in the fossil record  in China.

Acritarchs …
Are probably the remains of a group of ancient eukaryotes
Were plankton
Some resemble dinoflagellates while others resemble green algae
Their relationship among living organisms is uncertain

Eukaryotic cells came into existence probably by a process called endosymbiosis.

Mitochondria arose first, as an early eukaryotic cell engulfed but did not digest a bacterium capable of aerobic respiration. The two organisms lived together, one inside the other, and both benefited.

Fungi, plants and animals are all probably derived from protists.

Fungi and animals are eukaryotes organisms that lack plastids.

Another line of evolution, one that had mitochondria, entered another endosymbiosis with a photosynthetic cyanobacterium, which later evolved into a chloroplast.

This line gave rise to algae including green algae, which in turn produced true plants, the embryophytes.

Several clades exist that still have some extant members whose plastids have numerous prokaryotic characters. Chloroplasts of red algae especially resemble cyanobacteria.

The kingdom Protista contains eukaryotes that cannot be assigned with certainty to other kingdoms

The kingdom Protista is an artificial grouping and classification does not represent evolutionary relationships.

This kingdom is also known as Protoctista.

Protists covered in this course are those photosynthetic organisms that function like plants in ecosystems.

They are the “grass of the ocean”.

Protists to be studied include:

Algae: photosynthetic organisms studied by phycologists.
Slime molds and oomycetes: heterotrophic organisms that are traditionally studied by mycologists, although these organisms are not fungi.

Another group of protists not included in this course are the ciliates, flagellates, and other heterotrophs.

The phylogenetic relationship among the different groups of protists is controversial, e.g. the relationship between the green and brown algae.


DNA Structure

In prokaryotes, proteins do not surround the DNA. Its numerous negative charges are neutralized by calcium ions. In eukaryotes, the DNA is packaged with histones forming nucleosomes. The DNA condenses into chromosomes.

The genome is a short circle of DNA containing about 3,000 genes, and lack introns. In eukaryotes, the DNA molecule carries thousands of genes. The chromosomes of eukaryotes have a homologous and never occur as a single chromosome in normal circumstances. Eukaryotic genes have introns, which do not code for any type of RNA.

Nuclear structure and division

Prokaryotic cells lack nucleus. The DNA circle is attached to the plasma membrane. As the cell grows and the plasma membrane expands, the two daughter DNA molecules are separated.

The nuclei of plants, animals and fungi are very similar in structure, metabolism, mitosis and meiosis. Apparently these three clades diverged after the nucleus had achieved a high level of complexity.

In eukaryotes, most of the DNA is found in the nucleus.

The nucleus is surround by two double-layered membranes with nuclear pores.

A nucleolus is present.

The nuclei are typically haploid or diploid. Mitosis assures that each daughter cell receives one of each type of chromosome to maintain the species number of chromosomes.

Meiosis usually occurs as part of sexual reproduction. The pairing of paternal and maternal homologous chromosomes, followed by crossing over and genetic recombination assures genetic diversity.

Some groups of organisms have a unique mitotic process that may represent an earlier divergence in the history of eukaryotes.


Prokaryotes lack membrane bound organelles. They have ribosomes and storage granules, which are not-membrane bound organelles.

Photosynthetic prokaryotes have folded plasma membrane that projects into the cytoplasm.

Eukaryotes have membrane bound organelles that compartmentalize the cell and perform different functions simultaneously.

Ribosomes of prokaryotes are 70S, being smaller and denser than the 80S ribosomes of eukaryotes.

Flagella and cilia are uniform in eukaryotes having a 9 + 2 arrangement of microtubules. A few prokaryotes have flagella, and never have the 9+2 arrangement. They are not composed of microtubules or tubulin.

Endosymbiotic Theory.

This hypothesis attempts to explain the origin of eukaryotic organelles, mitochondria and chloroplasts.

In 1905, K. C. Mereschkowsky had speculated that plastids were prokaryotes living inside eukaryotic cells.

In the 1960s, plastids and mitochondria were discovered to have their own DNA and ribosomes, both with prokaryotic features.

Plastids and mitochondria divide similarly to prokaryotes.
They lack microtubules.
Their DNA is small and circular, contains a small number of genes, and is organized like prokaryotic DNA.
Their ribosomes are sensitive to the same antibiotics that interfere with prokaryotic ribosomes.

Chloroplasts and mitochondria could have originated from bacteria that were phagocytized by a large heterotrophic prokaryote.

Mitochondria could have derived from an aerobic prokaryote that was ingested but not digested.
Chloroplasts could have been derived from a photosynthetic prokaryote, probably a cyanobacterium.
Chloroplasts originated several times.
An endosymbionts is an organism that lives within another dissimilar organism.

These bacteria were then adopted as endosymbionts rather than being digested.

With time these endosymbionts became simplified and specialized to perform only photosynthesis or respiration.

The DNA of the endosymbionts and many or its functions were transferred to the nuclear DNA.

The nuclear membrane could have originated from an infolding of the plasma membrane of a prokaryote.

Prokaryotes have their single circular chromosome attached to the plasma membrane.

Infolding of other portions of the plasma membrane may have given origin to the ER and Golgi complex.

Primary endosymbiosis gave rise to a clade containing red algae, green algae and a small group called glaucophytes.

Glaucophyte chloroplasts still produce a thin film of cyanobacterial wall between themselves and the cell.
Red algal chloroplasts have chlorophyll a but not b, and the cyanobacterial pigment phycobilin, organized into particles called phycobilisomes.
Green algal cells do not have traces of bacterial wall or phycobilin, but instead have chlorophylls a and b, and carotenoid accessory pigments, all of which are similar to chloroplasts in true plants.

Chloroplasts have chlorophyll a but not bacteriochlorophyll. This suggests that the cyanobacteria and not photosynthetic bacteria is the ancestor of chloroplasts.

Prochlorophytes are a type of cyanobacteria that have both chlorophyll a and b, and lack phycobilins.

The prochlorophytes Prochloron and Prochlorothryx are closely related to chloroplasts and are thought to have a common ancestor. Prochloron exists as an obligate endosymbiont of marine invertebrates called ascidians.

Secondary endosymbiosis happened when a eukaryote engulfed another eukaryote.

Euglenoids originated when a eukaryote engulfed a green alga. The green alga has become so reduced that only the chloroplast remains.

Heterokonts have two different flagella of different length and ornamentation. They appear to be monophyletic.

One flagellum is long and ornamented with distinctive hairs (tinsels).
The other flagellum is shorter and smooth (whiplash).

Heterokonts are also known as stramenopiles.

Molecular sequence and these unique flagella provide evidence for the close relationship of oomycetes, chrysophytes, diatoms, and brown algae.

They were involved in one or several endosymbiosis with entire cells of red algae.

Heterokonts appear to have diversified and then some entered into secondary endosymbiosis and became photosynthetic, whereas others did not. Lack of chloroplasts in these heterokonts is an ancestral condition.

Pigmented heterokonts may have originated through one or several secondary endosymbioses.

Most pigmented heterokonts have chlorophyll a and c, lack phycobilins, and have four chloroplast membranes instead of two as in red algae, green algae, glaucophytes and plants. Some have the remnant of red alga nucleus called the nucleopmorph, which still contains a nuclear envelope and a few genes.

These cells have four types of DNA; heterokont eukaryotic nucleus, red alga eukaryotic nucleomorph, chloroplast prokaryotic DNA circles, a mitochondrion prokaryotic DNA circles.

Types of cytokinesis

Several types of cytokinesis occur in algae.

Cytokinesis may occur by furrowing or by cell plate formation.

In almost all algae with wall, cytokinesis is similar to that of plants.

In some green algae, the phycoplast consists of microtubules oriented parallel to the plane where the new wall will form, which is perpendicular to the orientation of the spindle.

Embryophytes arose from green algae that divide with a phragmoplast rather than a phycoplast.


The following notes are base on Raven et al, 8th Edition, and Mauseth.


Also known as green algae.

A diverse group of about 17,000 species.

Most chlorophytes are aquatic, but some green algae can live on the surface of snow, on tree trunks, in soils, or symbiotically with protozoans, hydras or lichen-forming fungi.

Chlorophytes range in size from microscopic to quite large: unicellular, colonies, branched and unbranched filaments, thalloid.

Green algae have chlorophylls a and b and store starch as a food reserve inside their plastids.

Most green algae have firm cell walls composed of cellulose, hemicellulose and peptic substances.

The flagellated reproductive cells of some green algae resemble that of plant sperm.

Based on studies of mitosis, cytokinesis, reproductive cells and molecular similarities, the green algae have been divided into several classes. Three of these classes will be studied here:

Body construction in Green Algae

Motile colonies: aggregation of unspecialized cells; flagella present: this is considered to be an ancestral condition, a plesiomorphy.
Nonmotile colonies: similar to the motile colonies but cells have lost their flagella; this is considered an apomorphy.
Filamentous body: cells divide transversally, but sometimes producing a branch; some parts of their body may become specialized, e.g. holdfast for attachment.
Membranous body: cell division occurs in two planes forming a sheet of cells.
Parenchymatous body: cell division occurs in three planes; cells are interconnected by plasmodesmata and true parenchyma tissue is formed.
Coenocytic or siphonous body: karyokinesis occurs without cytokinesis resulting in a large multinucleate cell; the cell remains unspecialized.

Life cycles in Green Algae

The alternation of heteromorphic generations in angiosperms can be traced to green algae.

Monobiontic species consists of only one free-living generation. In some, the haploid phase represents the individual; in others, it is the diploid phase.

In dibiontic species, both stages of the alternation of generations are multicellular

The gametophyte is haploid and the sporophyte diploid.
The two phases may be isomorphic (similar) or heteromorphic (different body plan).
Sporophytes produce spores in sporangia (sing. sporangium).
The sporophyte usually produces spores by meiosis, but some by mitosis – these spores are diploid and produce a new sporophyte in a form of asexual reproduction.
Some gametophytes produce spores by mitosis, which develop into new gametophytes – asexual reproduction.
Gametes are produced in gametangia.
Gametes may be isogamous, anisogamous or oogamous.

Cytokinesis in the Chlorophyta

The following notes are based on Raven et al.

The classes Chlorophyceae and Ulvophyceae form a phycoplast during cell division, which is system of microtubules parallel to the plane of cell division.

Nuclear envelope persists during mitosis.
Mitotic spindle forms and then disappears at telophase.
Daughter nuclei are separated by the phycoplast in which the microtubules lie perpendicular to the axis of division.
The role of the phycoplast is presumed to ensure that the cleavage furrow will pass between the two daughter nuclei.
Cytokinesis is by cell plate formation or development of a furrow.
The Chlorophyceae form four narrow bands of microtubules known as flagellar roots, which are associated with the flagellar basal bodies (centrioles) of the flagella.
The Ulvophyceae have a persistent spindle but do not develop a phragmoplast or cell plate.

The class Charophyceae does not form a phycoplast but develop a phragmoplast like land plants.

Formation of a phragmoplast, which is parallel-aligned microtubules and microfilaments at right angles to the forming cell plate, is to generate a guiding and supporting matrix for the deposition of new cell plate.

The phragmoplast is a system of microtubules, microfilaments and ER vesicles that is oriented perpendicular to the plane of division.
It serves in the assembling of the cell plate and the cell wall.
As the cell plate matures in the center of the phragmoplast, the phragmoplast and developing cell plate grow outward until they reach the of the dividing cell. See pages 64-67in Raven et al.
Spindle is persistent through mitosis.
Cytokinesis is by cell plate formation or furrowing, just like bryophytes and vascular plants.

The flagellar root system of microtubules provides anchorage to the flagellum.
The multilayered structure is often associated with one of the flagellar roots.
The type of multilayered structure is often an important taxonomic character.
The flagellar root had multilayered structure of the Charophyceae is very similar to that found in the sperm of bryophytes and some vascular plants.

Class Chlorophyceae

There are approximately 350 genera and 2650 living species of chlorophyceans.

Mostly freshwater species.

They come in a wide variety of shapes and forms, including free-swimming unicellular species, colonies, non-flagellate unicells, filaments, and more.

Cytokinesis may be by furrowing or by cell plate formation.

When flagellate, the flagella are apical and equal in length, and directed forward.

They also reproduce in a variety of ways, though all have a haploid life cycle, in which only the zygote cell is diploid.

The zygote will often serve as a resting spore, able to lie dormant though potentially damaging environmental changes such as desiccation.

Chlamydomonas is motile unicellular chlorophyte.

Two equal flagella.
One chloroplast with a red photosensitive eyespot, or stigma, aids in the detection of light.
Chloroplast has a pyrenoid, which is typically surrounded by a shell of starch.
The cell wall is made of a carbohydrate and protein complex inside which is the plasma membrane; there is no cellulose in the cell wall.
Reproduction is both sexually and asexually.
See the Life Cycle diagram on page 331 in Ravel et al.

Volvox is a motile colony.

The colony consists of a hollow sphere called the spheroid, made up of a single layer of 500 to 60,000 vegetative, biflagellated cells that serve primarily in photosynthesis.
Specialized reproductive cells undergo repeated mitoses to form many-celled spheroids, which are released after producing an enzyme that dissolves the parental matrix.
Sexual reproduction is oogamous.

Chlorococcum is a unicellular, non-motile chlorophyte.

Found in the soil.
Reproduces by forming biflagellated zoospores.
Sexual reproduction happens by the fusion of biflagellated gametes, which fuse in pairs to form zygotes.
Meiosis is zygotic.

Hydrodictyon is a non-motile colony.

The individual cells are cylindrical and initially uninucleated and eventually becoming multinucleated.
The cells form a hollow cylinder.
At maturity, the cells contain a large, central vacuole surrounded by the cytoplasm containing the nuclei and a large reticulate chloroplast with numerous pyrenoids.
It reproduces asexually through the formation of many uninucleated, biflagellated zoospores.
The zoospores are not released but form an arrangement within the parent cell, then lose their flagella and form the components of a mini-net.
Sexual reproduction is isogamous and meiosis is zygotic.

There are also filamentous and parenchymatous Chlorophyceae, e.g. Oedogonium, Stigeoclonium, and Fritschiella.

Class Ulvophyceae

Mostly marine algae with a few representatives in fresh water.

Filamentous septate, filamentous coenocytic (siphonous) or thalloid

Filamentous species have large multinucleate cells separated by septa; some may be netlike others straight chains. They have a netlike chloroplast.
Siphonous algae are characterized by very large, branched, coenocytic cells
Thalloid species have a single nucleus and chloroplast.

Majority has one plane of division, unlike the Ulva with three planes

Spindle and nuclear envelope persist through mitosis.

Flagellated cells may have two, four or many flagella directed forward

Alternation of generations with a haploid gametophyte and diploid sporophyte.

They have sporic meiosis or a diploid, dominant life history involving gametic meiosis.

Cladophora is a filamentous septate ulvophyte.

It forms large blooms in fresh water.
There are both marine and fresh water species of Cladophora.
Each cell is multinucleated and has one single, peripheral, net-like chloroplast with many pyrenoids. Marine species have an alternation of isomorphic generations.
Most of the fresh water species do not have an alternation of generations.

Ulva consists of a two-cell thick flat thallus that may grow up to a meter in length.
It is known as sea lettuce.
Ulva is anchored to the substrate by a holdfast produced by extensions of the cells at its base.
The cells of the thallus are uninucleate and have one chloroplast.
Ulva is anisogamous and has an alternation of isomorphic generations.

Codium and Halimeda are examples of siphonous marine algae.

Very large, coenocytic cells that are rarely septate characterize siphonous algae.
Cell walls are only produced during reproduction.
Siphonous green algae are diploid, with gametes being the only haploid stage.
Halimeda has calcified cell walls.

Examples to study:
Thalloid: Ulva.
Siphonous: Acetabularia, Codium, Ventricaria, Halimeda.
Filamentous septate: Cladophora.

Class Charophyceae

Growth habit may be unicellular, filamentous, colonial or thalloid (parenchymatous).

Considered closely related to plants due to structural, biochemical and genetic similarities.

The orders Coleochaetales and Charales have plant-like characteristics. These include:

Asymmetrical flagellated cells always have two flagella.
Breakdown of the nuclear envelope at mitosis
Persistent spindles or phragmoplast at cytokinesis.
Presence of phytochrome, flavonoids and chemical precursors of the cuticle.
Other molecular features.

Spirogyra is an unbranched, filamentous charophyte.

Found in fresh water, often forming blooms.
Cells uninucleate.
Filaments are surround by a watery sheath.
Chloroplasts one or more, flat ribbon-like with numerous pyrenoids.
Asexual reproduction occurs by fragmentation.
There are no flagellated cells at any stage of its life cycle.
Sexual reproduction takes place through the formation of a conjugation tube.
The cytoplasm of one cells migrates to the other cell and function as isogametes.
A thick wall of sporopollenin surrounds the zygote.
Meiosis is zygotic.

Desmids are a large group of fresh water charophytes.

Lack flagellated cells.
Desmid cells consist of two sections of semi-cells joined by a narrow constriction.
Sexual reproduction is similar to Spirogyra.

Two orders of Charophyceae, the Coleochaetales and the Charales, resemble bryophytes and vascular plants.

They have plant-like microtubular phragmoplast operating during cytokinesis.
They are oogamous and their sperm are ultrastructurally similar to those of bryophytes.

Morphological and molecular studies indicate that an early basal split in the green algae gave rise to a chlorophyte clade containing most of the green algae, and a streptophyte clade that includes the Coleochaetales and Charales, zygnematalean green algae, and land plants (bryophytes and vascular plants).


Include branched filamentous and discoid genera.
Growth occurs at the apex or peripheral cells, and the plant is anchored in mud or silt by translucent rhizoids.
Coleochaete has uninucleate vegetative cells that each contains one large chloroplast with an embedded pyrenoid.
It reproduces asexually by zoospores that are formed singly within cells.
Sexual reproduction is oogamous.
The zygotes remain attached to the parental thallus, which stimulate the growth of a layer of cells that covers the zygotes.
These parental cells have wall ingrowths are believed to function in nutrient transport between gametophyte and sporophyte.


The thallus in some stoneworts is encrusted with white lime, giving a crusty texture (hence the name brittlewort).
The Charales exhibit apical growth.
The thallus is differentiated into nodal and internodal regions.
The nodal regions have plasmodesmata.
Sperms are produced in multicellular antheridia.
Eggs are produced in oogonia enclosed by several long, tubular, twisted dells.
Sperms are the only flagellated cells in their life cycles.
Zygotes are surround by sporopollenin.

Examples to study:

Filamentous: Spirogyra, desmids.
Thalloid: Coleochaete.
Branched filamentous: Chara

Division Rhodophyta

Red algae are mostly marine organisms found in tropical and warm waters. Fewer than 100 species occur in fresh water. Some occur in cooler regions of the world.

Many species are found in very deep water.

There are 4100 to 6000 known species.

Red algae are mostly structurally complex multicellular organisms with very few species unicellular or microscopic filaments.

They may grow attached to the substrate, submerged vegetation and a few are free floating.

Unique Features Of Cells

Their cell wall lack plasmodesmata but they have pit connections. It is not known if these pits are used for intercellular transport.

Red algae do not produce flagellated cells, and lack centrioles.

Most red algae cell walls are made of cellulose microfibrils that are densely interwoven and are held together by mucilage.

The mucilage is a sulfonated polymer of galactose such as agar and carageenan.

Some species called coralline algae, deposit CaCO3 in their walls.

Coralline algae play an important role in coral reef building.

Many produce toxic terpenoids that deter herbivores.

Food reserves are stored as floridean starch in granules.

Floridean starch resembles glycogen.

Chloroplasts are reddish (rhodoplasts) and contain chlorophyll a, α and β-carotene, accessory water-soluble pigments called phycobilins (phycocyanin, phycoerythrin, allophycocyanin).

These pigments absorb well green and blue-green wavelengths that penetrate deep into the water.
Chloroplast chemicals resemble those found in cyanobacteria and may have originated from this group by endosymbiosis.

Complicated Life Histories

Many reproduce asexually by discharging spores, called monospores, into the water.

All red algae have complex life cycles, reproduce sexually and have no flagellated stages.

Gametophyte, carposporophyte, tetrasporophyte.

The simplest form of sexual reproduction involves the alternation of a haploid gametophyte and a diploid sporophyte.

The gametophyte produces spermatangia (sing. spermatangium) that release nonmotile
The female gamete or egg is produced in the carpogonium, on a same gametophyte.
The carpogonium develops a protuberance called the trichogyne for the reception of the spermatia.
The spermatium fuses with the trichogyne and the nucleus travels to the female nucleus and fuses with it.
The resultant diploid zygote then produces a few diploid carpospores, which are release into the water.
Carpospores produce sporophytes that form haploid spores, which in turn produce new gametophytes.

In some red algae, the zygote produces a carposporophyte generation, which remains attached to the parent gametophyte.

The carposporophyte divides mitotically and eventually produces carpospores.
The carpospores are released and settle onto a substrate, and grow into separate diploid sporophytes.

In many red algae, the diploid zygote is transferred to another cell of the gametophyte called the auxiliary cell where it proliferates into many carpospores.

The carpospores produce a new generation called the tetrasporophyte.
Meiosis occurs I in specialized cells of the tetrasporophyte, called the tetrasporangia.
Each tetraspore germinates into a gametophyte.

Division Phaeophyta

Phaeophytes are also known as brown algae

It is an entirely marine group especially abundant in temperate and cold waters.

Common in the intertidal and subtidal zones; dominant alga of rocky shores.

About 1,500 species.

The Thallus

Size – few are microscopic, most much larger – up to 60 m. Larger forms with complex structure.

There are no known unicellular or colonial representatives of this group.

The simplest form of plant is a branched, filamentous thallus (pl. thalli): a relatively undifferentiated vegetative body.

The thalli range in complexity from simple branched filaments to aggregation of branched filaments called pseudoparenchyma.

Adjacent cells are connected by plasmodesmata without desmotubules connecting the ER.


Cells contain numerous disk-shaped, golden-brown plastids that are similar both biochemically and structurally to those of chrysophytes and diatoms.

Chlorophyll a and c (no Chlorophyll b), ß-carotene, fucoxanthin and other xanthophylls.

Food reserves are typically complex polysaccharides, sugars and higher alcohols and sometimes fats.
Glucose and mannitol are polymerized together as laminarin.
Mannitol is a six-carbon sugar-alcohol; it is linked together with glucose in a beta-1,3 linkage.

The principal carbohydrate reserve is laminarin and true starch is absent.

There are two groups based on the presence or absence of pyrenoids.


Kelps (Macrocystis and Nereocystis) and rockweeds have a highly differentiated bodies

The walls are made of cellulose and algin, an alginic acid, a long-chained heteropolysaccharide.
Some have stem-like, root-like, leaf-like organs.
Since they do not have vascular systems, these structures are not true stems, roots, or leaves. Termed rhizoid, holdfast, stalk or stipe, and blade.
Kelps have a meristematic region between the stipe and the blade.
Sargassum and Fucus grow from repeated divisions from a single apical cell.
Some species have floatation bladders.
Some free-floating species have lost the holdfast.

Some of the kelps have modified elongated cells in the center of the stipe that are capable of conducting carbohydrates from the blades near the water surface to the lower parts of the alga.

Some brown algae have evolved sieve tubes comparable to those found in food-conducting tissue of vascular plants. These are called trumpet cells.

Sieve tube elements are joined end-on-end by the sieve plates.

Of great economic importance: fertilizer, food especially in Japan, source of algin – stabilizer & moisture retainer in many products such as ice cream, cake frosting, paint, pharmaceuticals, processing of natural and synthetic rubber.

Life Cycle

Their life cycle involves an alternation of generation, and meiosis occurs during spore formation (sporic meiosis).

The ends of the branches are called receptacles and are swollen with large deposits of hydrophilic compounds. Scattered over the surface of the receptacles are small openings that lead to cavities called conceptacles. Gametangia develop in the conceptacles.

The gametophytes of the primitive brown algae produce reproductive structures called plurilocular gametangia. They may function as male or female gametangia or produce flagellated haploid spores that give rise to new gametophytes.

The diploid sporophyte produces both plurilocular and unilocular sporangia.
The plurilocular sporangia produce diploid zoospores that produce diploid sporophytes.
Meiosis takes place in the unilocular sporangia producing haploid zoospores that germinate to produce haploid gametophytes.

Zoospores have tinsel and whip flagella.

Some groups (e.g. Fucus) do not form spores and have a gametic life cycle without alternation of generations.

Phylum Bacillariophyta

An ancient group that appeared in the fossil record about 250 million years ago, and became abundant in the fossil record about 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous.

Diatoms are unicellular or colonial organisms that form an important component of the phytoplankton.

They may count for as much as 25% of the primary production of the earth.

There may be as many as 100,000 species, some of the most diverse and abundant algae on earth.

Diatoms are the primary source of food for many marine animals; they provide essential carbohydrates, fatty acids, sterols, and vitamins to the consumers.

Diatoms live in both freshwater and marine habitats, but are especially abundant in cold marine waters.

Diatoms can also inhabit terrestrial habitats such as damp cliff faces, moist tree trunks and on the surfaces of buildings.

The Walls Of Diatoms Consist Of Two Halves

Cell wall in two parts known as frustules, are made of polymerized silica (SiO2  H2O, 95%) and carbohydrates especially pectin (5%).

The shell is composed of an upper and lower half, with the lower half fitting neatly within the upper, like a Petri dish.

The shell is highly ornamented and perforated with microscopic holes so precisely spaced that they are used commercially to test the resolution of expensive microscope lenses.

These holes connect the living protoplast with the external environment.

Freshwater forms are usually cylindrical in shape: pennate.
Marine species are usually spherical or circular: centric.

Chrysophytes form sometimes “brown blooms” in fresh and salt water.

Diatoms have chlorophyll a and c, and the golden-brown carotenoid fucoxanthin.

Two large chloroplasts are present in pennate diatoms, and many discoid chloroplasts in centric species.

Food is stored in the form of oils and chrysolaminarin, a soluble polysaccharide stored in vacuoles.

Some species are heterotrophic absorbing organic molecules from the environment. Other heterotrophs live symbiotically in foraminiferans.

Fossil frustules make the diatomaceous earths mined for use as filters, insulating material and abrasive polish.

Reproduction In Diatoms Is Mainly Asexual

Reproduction is usually asexual. Changes in the environment or critical small size triggers sexual reproduction.

Yellow-green algae

Some phycologists as a division or class consider the yellow-green algae different from the chrysophytes. Others include them in the chrysophytes.

They have a variety of body shapes: unicellular, filamentous, siphonous or large multicellular body form.
They have chlorophyll c.
Asexual reproduction occurs by isogamy in Vaucheria.
Sexual reproduction consists of biflagellated sperms and a multinucleated egg.
The zygote breaks off and after a period of dormancy germinates forming a new “tube” filled with haploid nuclei.

Division Chrysophyta

Also know as the golden-brown algae.

Chrysophytes are photosynthetic, unicellular colonial organisms; some plasmodia, filamentous and tissue-like forms. About 1000 known species.

Abundant in freshwater and marine environments worldwide.

Chrysophytes contain chlorophylls a and c, and accessory pigment fucoxanthin, a carotenoid.

Cells usually have one or two chloroplasts.

They store food in a vacuole in the form of polysaccharide chrysolaminarin, which is stored in a vacuole usually found in the posterior of the cell.

Some species are heterotrophic ingesting bacteria, algal cells and organic particles.

Some species have cell wall containing cellulose and impregnated with minerals. Others are without walls. One group has silica plates on the cell surface.

Reproduction is mostly asexual by means of zoospores with unequal flagella of similar structure.

Some species can reproduce sexually.

Resting cysts are formed as a result of sexual reproduction at the end of the growing season.

In many ways, golden algae are biochemically and structurally similar to brown algae.

Division Dinophyta

The dinophyta are also known as dinoflagellates.

Molecular evidence indicates that the dinoflagellates are closely related to ciliate protozoa such as Paramecium and Vorticella, and to apicomplexans, a group of parasitic flagellates whose cells contain a non-pigmented plastid, e.g. Plasmodium that causes malaria.

Apicomplexans, dinoflagellates and others form a group called alveolates.

Most are unicellular biflagellates.

About 4000 known species, most of which are members of the marine phytoplankton.

Their flagella beat in two grooves, one encircles the cell and the other extends lengthwise.

The nonmotile dinoflagellates produce flagellated cells that beat in grooves.

Their chromatin is always condensed into chromosomes.

Many are covered with cellulose plates forming a theca.

About half of the dinoflagellates lack photosynthetic apparatus and feed by ingesting food particles or absorbing dissolved organic compounds.

They have chlorophyll a and c, β- and γ-carotenes, a carotenoid called peridinin,  fucoxanthin, a yellow-brown carotenoid, and other xanthins..

Some pigmented flagellates carry out photosynthesis and also feed by absorbing carbon compound through a protruded peduncle; this is called myxotrophy.

When dinoflagellates are symbionts, they lack theca, e.g. zooxanthellae of giant clams, corals, worms, etc.

Dinoflagellates store their food as oils and starch.

Under adverse periods of low nutrient levels, dinoflagellates form resting cysts that are carried by currents.

Reproduction is mostly asexual but sexual reproduction has been observed in some species.

Some species produce bioluminescence and powerful neurotoxins that are accumulated by fish and mollusks.

They have a characteristic type of nuclear and cell division.

Phylum Oomycota

Oomycetes is a distinct heterotrophic group of about 700 species.

Unicellular to highly branched, coenocytic and filamentous forms.

Oomycetes are either saprobes or symbionts.

They inhabit aquatic environments: marine, freshwater or moist terrestrial habitats.

Their cell wall is made of cellulose.

Their food reserve is in the form of glycogen.

Asexual reproduction is by means of motile zoospores, which have the characteristic two flagella of heterokonts.

Sexual reproduction is oogamous: one gamete large and nonmotile, the other small and motile.

Eggs are produced in the oogonia.
The antheridium contains many male nuclei.
The fertilized egg forms a thick-walled zygote called the oospore.
The oospore serves as a resting stage during stressful conditions.

Oomycetes are also called water molds, white rusts and downy mildew.

Water Molds Are Aquatic Oomycetes.

Abundant in fresh water.

Mostly saprophytic and a few parasitic including species that cause diseases to fish and fish eggs.

Species may be homothallic or heterothallic.

Saprolegnia and Achlya are common water molds that reproduce sexually and asexually.

Some Terrestrial Oomycetes Are Important Plant Pathogens

Terrestrial oomycetes produce motile zoospores when water is available.

Terrestrial oomycetes are important plant pathogens; the genus Phytophthora is particularly destructive to plants.

They attack important crops like grapes, pineapples, onions, strawberries, apples, citrus fruits, cacao, etc.

Phytophthora cinnamomi killed millions of avocado trees in southern California, and destroyed thousands of hectares of Eucalyptus timberland in Australia.
Phytophthora ramorum was the cause of the disease called “the sudden oak death.” It attacks many species of oaks and also 26 other species of plants including firs and coastal redwoods.
The great potato famine in Ireland (1846) was caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans.
A gene has been found in a species of wild potato, Solanum ulbocastanum, from Mexico, that is resistant to potato blight. The resistant gene has now been inserted in the commercial potatoes, Solanum tuberosum.
The genus Pythium attacks and rot seeds in the wild (preemergence damping-off) and seedling (postemergence damping-off)

Before a diatom can undergo mitosis, it must be living in an environment with sufficient silicon to allow it to construct a new shell.
The diploid protoplast undergoes typical mitosis within the shell, and then the two-shell halves separate.
One protoplast gets the top half, and the other gets the bottom half.
In either case, the protoplast then secretes a new “bottom” to the “Petri dish”(i.e., a new half fitting inside the old half).
This means that after every mitotic division, one of the resulting diatoms is smaller than the original. This can go on for several generations.
Eventually, the protoplast inside the tiny shell undergoes meiosis rather than mitosis. Four haploid gametes are released from the shell, which is discarded.
When two gametes meet and fuse, the resulting diploid cell is called an auxospore (zygote).
The auxospore grows into a normal size of the species.
It then secretes a silica case of the original size…and the cycle begins anew.
Sexual reproduction in centric diatoms is usually oogamous, and in pennate diatoms non-motile isogamous.

Division Euglenophyta.

Mostly unicellular fresh water organisms; one colonial genus.

Molecular evidence indicates that earlier euglenoids were phagocytic.

About one third of euglenoids contain chloroplasts; their chloroplasts resemble those of the green algae and suggest that they were formed from endosymbiotic green algae.

About two thirds of the genera are colorless heterotrophs that depend on particle feeding and absorption of dissolved organic compounds.

They are mostly freshwater organisms living in waters rich in organic compounds and particles.

Cell structure:

Cell membrane, with pellicle immediately beneath the membrane.
Lack cell wall; one genus has a wall-like covering made of manganese and iron minerals.
The pellicle is made of  protein strips arranged in the form of a helix; it may be rigid or flexible.
Single flagellum for movement coming from the reservoir, and a second non-emergent flagellum.
Flagellar swelling and the stigma or eyespot makes the light-sensing system.
Contractile vacuole used in maintaining water balance.
Pyrenoids are found in chloroplasts. It is a region where rubisco is found and paramylon, a polysaccharide is stored.
Pigments present: chlorophylls a and b, carotenoids and several xanthophylls.
Euglenoids grown in absence of light have been known to lose their chloroplasts and become heterotrophic.
Reproduction in euglenoids is asexual, by mitotic cell division. Sexual reproduction is unknown.
The nuclear membrane remains intact during mitosis in a way similar to the fungi.
About 900 species are known.

An intact mitotic nuclear envelope is probably a primitive condition. The break down of the nuclear membrane is probably a derived condition that appeared after euglenoids separated from the main stack of protists.


The Ecology of the algae is not found in your textbook.

Algae are dominant in salt and fresh water habitat.

Everywhere they grow, they play a role similar to that of plants in terrestrial habitats.

Along rocky shores, the large and more complex members of the brown, red and green algae grow forming bands that reflect the ability of the seaweeds to withstand exposure.

Seaweeds in this intertidal zone are exposed twice a day to large fluctuations of humidity, salinity and light, in addition to pounding action of the surf and forceful, abrasive water motions.

Polar seaweeds endure months of darkness under the sea ice.

Seaweeds are the food source to a host of herbivores and parasites.

Large beds of seaweeds provide a safe habitat for many aquatic organisms, e.g. kelp beds off the coast of California.

Plankton refers to all suspended drifting organisms found in all bodies of water.

Planktonic algae and cyanobacteria constitute the phytoplankton found in oceans and fresh water.
Heterotrophic plankton and usually swimming microorganisms are called zooplankton.
Bacteria and some heterotrophic protists form the bacterioplankton.

Phytoplankton is found at the base of the food chain.

Colonial and single-celled chrysophytes, dinoflagellates, diatoms and green algae are the most important organisms at the base of the food chain in freshwater habitats.
Unicellular and colonial haptophytes, dinoflagellates and diatoms are the primary producers of the ocean.

In both marine and freshwater habitats, phytoplankton populations are kept in check by seasonal climatic changes, nutrient limitation and predation.

Phytoplankton is the major producers of oxygen in the atmosphere.

Phytoplankton reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by fixing it during photosynthesis.

Phytoplankton is important in the deposition of CaCO3 deposits on the ocean floor.

The CO2 fixed by photosynthesis and the calcification process is replaced by atmospheric CO2

Several types of multicellular algae are important members of coral reefs and deposit a substantial amount of calcium compound important in coral building.

Some haptophyte protists produce substantial amounts of sulfur oxides that are added to the atmosphere and reflect sunlight helping to maintain a cooler temperature.

part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

Tagged , , , , , , ,



Fucus vesiculosus, may be an effective alternative treatment for hypothyroidism for some people as it contains iodine found naturally in the sea. Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone. This results in one’s metabolism falling outside of the desired range. There are a wide range of thyroid medications available, both natural and pharmaceutical. As with all medicines, Fucus can occasionally cause side effects, so always consult your healthcare practitioner before starting treatment.


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common form of hypothyroidism. It is considered to be an autoimmune disease as the body mistakes the thyroid gland for a foreign body and sends antibodies to attack it which eventually destroy it over time. This leaves the body without essential thyroid hormones that are required for controlling body temperature, appetite and rate of metabolism. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to serious health disorders that could prove fatal.


Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include tiredness, reduced heart rate and pulse, weight gain, dry skin and hair, hair loss, sensitivity to cold, confusion, anxiety, depression, joint pain, headaches, numbness in the extremities and menstrual problems. However, as these symptoms can be attributed to any number of health problems they are often overlooked. If you are experiencing a combination of the aforementioned symptoms without any obvious cause, contact your doctor immediately for a check-up.


According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, those who experience hypothyroidism due to a iodine deficiency may be able to treat their condition with kelp. Iodine, found naturally in kelp, is required to enable the thyroid gland to function correctly. The majority of people in the western world use iodized salt and therefore do not need to supplement with iodine unless they suffer from hypothyroidism.


Fucus is rich in iodine and is available in many different forms including tinctures and standardized extracts. According to the NYU Langone Medical Center, fucus is often referred to as kelp as it is present in a large number of kelp tablets. However, kelp is not considered to be the same as fucus as it is actually a different form of seaweed. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a dose of 600mg fucus one to three times per day to stimulate thyroid activity. It is not recommended to self-treat hypothyroidism with fucus.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Palmaria Palmata Fights Ebola


P A L M A R I A   P A L M A T A

is a cold water algae species that is found in the middle to lower shore in many parts of Europe and the North Atlantic Coasts of America. It can grow in depths of up to 20m on both exposed and sheltered shores. It is found growing on rocks and on the stipes of L. hyperborea and Fucus serratus as an epiphyte.

Palmaria palmata can be eaten raw, roasted, fried, dried, or roasted, or as a thickening agent for soups.

Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, calcium, chromium, cobalt, iodine, iron, lutein, manganese, magnesium, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, riboflavin, selenium, silicon, sodium, tin, vitamin C, zeaxanthin, and zinc.

The entire plant, dried and cut.

Added to food in the form of dried flakes or powder for a slightly salty flavor, can be drunk as a tea. Also suitable as an extract or capsule.

Palmaria palmata is an excellent source of phytochemicals and minerals, and a superior source of iodine.
Don’t overdue, and avoid it entirely if you suffer hyperthyroidism. You only need a few flakes, or as little as a quarter-teaspoon a day, to get your mineral needs, and it is best to get your minerals from a variety of whole food and whole herb sources. Don’t use on a daily basis for more than 2 weeks at a time, taking a 2 week break before using again. This will prevent you from overdosing iodine with potential imbalance in thyroid function. For periodic use only and not to be taken for extended periods of time. Not to be used while pregnant.
For educational purposes only.
part of 
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Tagged , , , ,

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Hypertension

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Hypertension



Astaxanthin Reduces Hypertension

Astaxanthin Reduces Hypertension 

Epidemiological and clinical data suggest that dietary carotenoids such as astaxanthin may protect against cardiovascular disease (CVD) which includes hypertension. This condition is associated with blood vessel dysfunction, altered contractility and tone; mediated by relaxant (nitric oxide NO; prostacyclin) and constrictor factors (thromboxane; endothelin) in the blood. Furthermore, blood flow properties serve an important role in the pathological complications seen in atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Research presented here suggests that astaxanthin may be useful as part of an antioxidant therapy to alleviate hypertension (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Mechanisms by which Astaxanthin reduces hypertension Figure 1. Mechanisms by which Astaxanthin reduces hypertension

Reduction of Arterial Blood Pressure

An early study involving a composition of carotenoids have been used against hypertension or high blood pressure (BP), but Hussein et al., (2005a) published the first study involving astaxanthin with spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) and stroke prone (SHR-SP). This study investigated the effects of astaxanthin on the aortic vessel blood pressure (BP) in relation to endothelium and nitric oxide (NO) to elucidate mechanism and response.

Figure 2. Astaxanthin (5mg/kg/day) treated SHR reduced mean blood pressure. Hussein et al., 2005b. Figure 2. Astaxanthin (5mg/kg/day) treated SHR reduced mean blood pressure. Hussein <em>et al.</em>, 2005b.

In a double blind controlled placebo study conducted in Japan, 20 healthy postmenopausal women, who ingested 12 mg everyday for 4 weeks, reduced their systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 7% and 4%
In another study, 15 healthy subjects, between 27-50 of age, who received 9mg/day of astaxanthin for 12 weeks had their diastolic blood pressure decreased by 6% (Matsuyama et al., 2010).
A series of animal studies have largely replicated the effects of astaxanthin found in human studies (Ruiz et al., 2010; Preuss, 2009; Preuss, 2011).

Figure 3. Open Label Clinical Study. 73 subjects between 20-60 years of age received 4mg of astaxanthin x day for 4 weeks (Sato et al 2009) Figure 3. Open Label Clinical Study. 73 subjects between 20-60 years of age received 4mg of astaxanthin x day for 4 weeks (Sato et al 2009)

Mechanism of Anti-hypertension

The antihypertensive mechanism may be in part explained by the changes of vascular reactivity and hemorheology.
Microchannel Array Flow Analysis (MC-FAN) measured a significant increase of blood flow of 11% (Figure 3) in the astaxanthin treated group.

Figure 4. Open Label Clinical Study 35 healthy postmenopausal women (BMI 22.1) were included in the study, treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks Figure 4. Open Label Clinical Study 35 healthy postmenopausal women (BMI 22.1) were included in the study, treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks

In a human study conducted by Iwabayashi, (2009) , 20 healthy women who ingested 6mg / day for 8 weeks increased ABI (ankle brachial pressure index) by 4% suggesting a reduction of lower limb vascular resistance. Another human study also prove that oral administration of 6 mg/day of astaxanthin for 10 days enhanced capillary blood flow by 10%.

Figure 5. Astaxanthin (6 mg/day) supplementation for 10 days improves blood flow in humans as tested by MC-FAN. Miyawaki et al., 2005. Figure 5. Astaxanthin (6 mg/day) supplementation for 10 days improves blood flow in humans as tested by MC-FAN. Miyawaki <em>et al.</em>, 2005.
Figure 6. Astaxanthin increases relaxant and reduces constrictor mechanisms to help reduce blood pressure in SHR.
  Figure 6. Astaxanthin increases relaxant and reduces constrictor mechanisms to help reduce blood pressure in SHR.

Indeed, Hussein et al., (2006b) demonstrated that 5 mg/day of astaxanthin for 7 weeks decreased vascular wall thickness by 47%.

Figure 7. A) Coronary artery wall is thinner and lumen is wider in astaxanthin treated rats. B) Elastin bands are also fewer in number and less elastic compared to the control groups which also show intense and branched elastine feature (C). Hussein et al., (2006a). Figure 7. A) Coronary artery wall is thinner and lumen is wider in astaxanthin treated rats. B) Elastin bands are also fewer in number and less elastic compared to the control groups which also show intense and branched elastine feature (C). Hussein <em>et al.</em>, (2006a).


The oxidative status and physiological condition during hypertension are successfully mediated by astaxanthin. The mechanisms of action include improved blood rheology, modulation of constrictor and dilator factors and blood vessel remodelling. Although, these findings are based on spontaneous hypertensive rat models, these serve as a solid basis for extending the hypothesis to human clinical trials.


  1. Hussein G, Nakamura M, Zhao Q, Iguchi T, Goto H, Sankawa U, Watanabe H. (2005)a. Antihypertensive and neuroprotective effects of astaxanthin in experimental animals. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(1):47-52.
  2. Hussein G, Goto H, Oda S, Iguchi T, Sankawa U, Matsumoto K, Watanabe H. (2005)b. Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin II. Vascular reactivity and hemorheology in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(6):967-971.
  3. Hussein G, Goto H, Oda S, Sankawa U, Matsumoto K, Watanabe H. (2006)a. Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin: III. Antioxidant and histopathological effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull. 29(4):684-688.
  4. Hussein G, Sankawa U, Goto H, Matsumoto K, Watanabe H. (2006)b. Astaxanthin, a Carotenoid with Potential in Human Health and Nutrition. J. Nat. Prod., 69(3):443 – 449.
  5. Iwabayashi M, Fujioka N, Nomoto K, Miyazaki R, Takahashi H, Hibino S, Takahashi Y, Nishikawa K, Nishida M, Yonei Y. (2009). Efficacy and safety of eight-week treatment with astaxanthin in individuals screened for increased oxidative stress burden. J. Anti Aging Med., 6 (4):15-21.
  6. Kudo Y, Nakajima R, Matsumoto N. (2002). Effects of astaxanthin on brain damages due to ischemia. Carotenoid Science (5):25.
  7. Li W, Hellsten A, Jacobsson LS, Blomqvist HM, Olsson AG, Yuan XM. (2004). Alpha-tocopherol and astaxanthin decrease macrophage infiltration, apoptosis and vulnerability in atheroma of hyperlipidaemic rabbits. J. Mol. Cell. Cardio., 37(5):969-978.
  8. Miyawaki H, Takahashi J, Tsukahara H, Takehara I. (2005). Effects of astaxanthin on human blood rheology. J. Clin. Thera. Med., 21(4):421-429.
  9. Preuss H, Echard B, Bagchi D, Perricone VN, Yamashita E. (2009). Astaxanthin lowers blood pressure and lessens the activity of the renin-angiotensin system in Zucker Fatty Rats. J. Funct. Foods, I:13-22.

CCRES special thanks to 
  Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) 


The Effects of Astaxanthin – Gastric Health

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Gastric Health



Astaxanthin for Dyspepsia and Helicobacter pylori

Helicobacter pylori 

Dyspepsia is the general term given to a variety of digestive problems localized in the upper abdominal region. Typical symptoms for example include stomach pain, gas, acid-reflux or bloating. Dyspepsia is like the stomach version of the irritable bowel syndrome and its symptoms may appear at any age or to any gender. The medical approach to dyspepsia involves looking for treatable causes and addressing them if identified. Failing that, doctors suggest treatments by trial-and-error. The problem associated with this non-standardized approach involves drugs that may not work, may cause side effects and exacerbate the patient’s condition brought on by stressful attempts to cure symptoms.
To understand the benefits of astaxanthin in dyspepsia, it is necessary to categorize specific types; most common forms are either non-ulcer dyspepsia or gastric dyspepsia. Non-ulcer dyspepsia problems usually do not have an identifiable cause, but fortunately, for most cases it is non-disease related and therefore temporary. On the other hand, gastric type dyspepsia is more severe and linked to identifiable causes. For example, the bacterial infection of Helicobacter pylori is a commonly known cause. Pathological symptoms of H. pylori infection include high levels of oxidative stress and inflammation in the stomach lining and symptoms like gastric pain and acid reflux., H. pylori can contribute to mild and severe kinds of symptoms, but on the other hand, people who are H. pylori positive can remain asymptomatic whereas others may develop into clinical problems. It is still unclear what triggers the severe form of infection and how the bacteria is passed on, but scientists suggested using strong antioxidants like astaxanthin for therapy and better long term protection.

Helicobacter pylori in Gastric Dyspepsia

This Gram-negative bacterium is present in approximately half of the world population, and typically resides in the human gastric epithelium (stomach lining). H. pylori infection is generally acknowledged as the main cause for type B gastritis, peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer. The pathogenesis of this infection is partly due to the immunological response as shown by Bennedsen et al., (1999). Astaxanthin (200 mg/kg body weight) fed to H. pylori infected mice for 10 days exhibited signs of improved immune system. Normally, the T-helper1 (Th1) response exacerbates inflammation and epithelial cell damage due to infection, but the astaxanthin treated mice responded with a mixed Th1/Th2-response (Figure 1), which lowered gastric inflammation (Figure 2) and bacterial loads (Figure 3). Furthermore, the findings by Wang et al., (2000) also supported the idea that a diet supplemented with astaxanthin or vitamin C in mice lowered inflammation after 10-days of treatment (in vivo), and also inhibit H. pylori growth (in vitro). The mice treated with astaxanthin (10 mg/kg body weight) had the same effect as vitamin C (400 mg/Kg) which significantly lowered gastric inflammation and lipid peroxidation (Figure 4) compared to infected control mice; which continued to develop severe gastritis.

Figure 1. IL-4 release of splenocytes after restimulation with H. pylori sonicate (Bennedsen et al., 1999) Figure 1. IL-4 release of splenocytes after restimulation with H. pylori sonicate (Bennedsen <em>et al.</em>, 1999)  
Astaxanthin improved the cytokine IL-4 response (Th2 T-cell) to the presence of H. pylori (in vitro).
Figure 2. Gastric inflammation (antrum + corpus) (Bennedsen et al., 1999)
  Figure 2. Gastric inflammation (antrum + corpus) (Bennedsen <em>et al.</em>, 1999)  
Astaxanthin reduced gastric inflammation in Helicobacter pylori infected mice.
Figure 3. Bacterial load (antrum + corpus) (Bennedsen et al., 1999) Figure 3. Bacterial load (antrum + corpus) (Bennedsen <em>et al.</em>, 1999)  
Astaxanthin reduced Helicobacter pylori colonization of the stomach of infected mice.
Figure 4. Amount of lipid peroxidation products (MDA and 4-hydroxyalkenals) during H. pylori infection (Wang et al., 2000) 
Figure 4. Amount of lipid peroxidation products (MDA and 4-hydroxyalkenals) during H. pylori infection (Wang <em>et al.</em>, 2000)  
Lipid peroxidation levels lowered in H. pylori infected mice after treatment with astaxanthin or Vitamin C.

The success of astaxanthin in dyspepsia animal models prompted further prospective human studies. In 1999, the first clinical study performed in collaboration with the Centre for Digestive Diseases, Australia, involved 10 H. pylori positive subjects (non-ulcer) with typical dyspeptic symptoms such as heartburn and gastric pain, were each treated with 40 mg daily dose of astaxanthin for 21 days. 10 clinical parameters assessed the efficacy before and after the treatment period. The gastric pain, heartburn and total clinical symptoms results showed a significant drop of 66%, 78% and 52% drop respectively (Figure 5). Furthermore, follow-up checks 27 days after the cessation of astaxanthin intake (a total of 49 days from day 0), showed that the dyspeptic symptoms remained low (Lignell et al., 1999). In summary, astaxanthin effectively controlled the dyspepsia symptoms, and H. pylori eradication trend was observed, but not significant.

Figure 5. Total Clinical Symptoms (Lignell et al., 1999) Figure 5. Total Clinical Symptoms (Lignell <em>et al.</em>, 1999)  
Astaxanthin reduced total grade of clinical symptoms in H. pylori positive non-ulcer dyspeptic subjects after 21 days. Low symptom score continued even up to 28 days after treatment ceased.

Reflux in Non-Ulcer Dyspepsia

Helicobacter pylori 

Approximately one in four people experience dyspepsia at some time that are linked to common causes such as food types, stress, stomach ulcers, or acid reflux (stomach acid backs-up into the esophagus). If the exact causes of non-ulcer dyspepsia are unknown, there are no standardized treatments that exist to effectively treat the patient. The usual procedure involves the problematic remedies of acid blocking medicines, painkillers or antibiotics. However, drug treatment faces problems with increasing antibiotic resistant bacteria and carries increased risk of damage to the stomach. Therefore, clinically proven non-drug treatments are becoming more attractive to physicians and patients.
Astaxanthin efficacy in non-ulcer dyspepsia was demonstrated in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled study involving 131 patients complaining of non-ulcer dyspepsia. This collaborative trial conducted by the Kaunas University Hospital, Lithuania; Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen; University of Lund and the Karolinska Institute, Sweden demonstrated that 40 mg astaxanthin treatment up to 4 weeks significantly reduced reflux compared to the 16 mg.

Figure 6. Reflux-syndrome 
 Figure 6. Reflux-syndrome  
Reduced reflux-syndrome score of non-ulcer dyspepsia patients treated with 16 mg and 40 mg astaxanthin.


There are considerable overlaps in a number of gastrointestinal disorders that may be treatable with conventional medicine, but what if it does not work? In that case, astaxanthin may be useful, particularly against H. pylori positive gastritis and non-ulcer dyspepsia acid reflux. The mechanisms of action include the following: decreasing oxidative stress by astaxanthin’s potent antioxidant property; controlling bacterial infection by shifting the immune response; and alleviating dyspeptic symptoms by retarding inflammation. Furthermore, these results infer that acid reflux in connection with either H. pylori positive or negative conditions can still expect improvements with astaxanthin.


  1. Bennedsen M, Wang X, Willen R. Treatment of H. pylori infected mice with antioxidant astaxanthin reduces gastric inflammation, bacterial load and modulates cytokine release by splenocytes. Immunol Lett. 1999. 70: 185-189.
  2. Kupcinskas L, Lafolie P, Lignell A, Kiudelis G, Jonaitis L, Adamonis K, Andersen LP, Wadstrom T. Efficacy of the natural antioxidant astaxanthin in the treatment of functional dyspepsia in patients with or without Helicobacter pylori infection: A prospective, randomized, double blind, and placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine 2008. 15: 391–399.
  3. Lignell A, Surace R, Bottiger P, Borody TJ. Symptom improvement in Helicobacter pylori positive non-ulcer dyspeptic patient after treatment with the carotenoid astaxanthin. In: 12th International Carotenoid Symposium, Cairns, Australia, 18-23 July 1999.
  4. Wang X, Willen R, Wadstrom T. Astaxanthin rich algal meal and vitamin C inhibit Helicobacter pylori infection in BALB/cA mice. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2000. 44: 2452-2457.

CCRES special thanks to 
  Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)

Tagged , ,

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Weight Control

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Weight Control



Physical Endurance and Muscle Recovery

Physical Endurance and Muscle Recovery 

Work, Sport, Leisure – in fact all physical activity will generate reactive oxygen species (ROS); the more intense the activity the greater number of free radicals. ROS are shown to have damaging effects on muscle performance and recovery. Published and on-going research, focused on improving endurance and reducing recovery time, are showing dramatic benefits linked to the potent carotenoid – astaxanthin. These findings are bringing astaxanthin to the forefront as a dietary supplement for professional athletes and physically active people.

Important to physical activity are our mitochondrial cells, often referred to as the “power stations of the cell” , which provide as much as 95% of our body’s pure energy (primarily by the burning of muscle glycogen and fatty acids). Unfortunately, a portion of this energy produces highly reactive and damaging ROS. ROS damage cells by triggering peroxidation of the cell membrane components, and oxidation of DNA and proteins. Furthermore, ROS continue to affect muscles even after the strenuous exercise has ceased. ROS activate the inflammation response whereby monocytes migrate into the muscle tissue causing additional cell damage. Often we will notice the onset of muscle damage during recovery in the form of tiredness and soreness. In addition to improving muscle performance through devised exercise regime, the sports research community is looking at other methods, such as nutrition to fuel and protect the body under extreme physical conditions. In the past, Vitamins E and C helped make the use of antioxidants a popular tool against oxidative damage during intense physical activity. Today, informed by current research we can point to astaxanthin as the antioxidant of choice for sports performance. Astaxanthin demonstrated 3 important physical benefits in clinical trials and supporting studies. Astaxanthin increased endurance, reduced muscle damage and improved lipid metabolism.

Did you know?

Astaxanthin Boosts Endurance

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study on healthy men supplemented with 4 mg astaxanthin per day for up to 6 months at Karolinska Institute, Sweden, standardized exercise tests demonstrated that the average number of knee bends performed increased only in the astaxanthin treated group at 3 months, and by the 6 month significant improvements were observed (Figure 1) (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008).

Figure 1. Increase in strength/endurance (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008)
  Figure 1. Increase in strength/endurance (Malmsten & Lignell, 2008)  
Astaxanthin improved strength/endurance at 3 and 6 months determined by the average number of knee bends per person.
Figure 2. Effect of astaxanthin on swimming time (Ikeuchi et al., 2006) Figure 2. Effect of astaxanthin on swimming time (Ikeuchi <em>et al.</em>, 2006)  
Astaxanthin improves endurance in a dose-dependant manner.

Astaxanthin Boosts EnduranceIn another study, Aoi et al., (2008) demonstrated that astaxanthin may modify muscle metabolism by its antioxidant property and result in improved muscle performance and weight loss benefits. After 4 weeks the mice running time to exhaustion had significantly improved by up to 20 % , (2002) of Juntendo University, Japan, demonstrated by using 1200 meter track athletes, that a daily dose of 6 mg per day for 4 weeks resulted in their bodies accumulating lower levels of lactic acid (Figure 3). Ikeuchi et al., (2006) also reported the same findings and furthermore, astaxanthin efficacy had a dose-dependent response (Figure 4).

Figure 3. Reduction of lactic acid build-up after astaxanthin supplementation in track subjects (Sawaki et al., 2002) 
Figure 3. Reduction of lactic acid build-up after astaxanthin supplementation in track subjects (Sawaki <em>et al.</em>, 2002)
Figure 4. Effect of astaxanthin on blood lactate during swimming for 15 minutes (Ikeuchi et al., 2006) Figure 4. Effect of astaxanthin on blood lactate during swimming for 15 minutes (Ikeuchi <em>et al.</em>, 2006)  
Astaxanthin reduced build-up of lactic acid in a dose-dependant manner.

In a double blind controlled placebo study, healthy women (n= 32; age-23-60) who ingested 12 mg of astaxanthin for 6 weeks significantly reduced their body fat (4%) when conducting routine walking exercise, compared to a placebo group. In addition, while control group increased their lactic acid by 31% compared to the astaxanthin group – only 13%

The Mechanism

The mechanism behind muscle endurance is based on several findings. Generally, astaxanthin protected the skeletal muscle from the increased damage of oxidative stress generated by physical activity. Furthermore, astaxanthin increased the metabolism of lipids as the main source of energy production by protecting the carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) involved in fatty acid transport into mitochondria. Aoi et al., (2003) of Kyoto Prefecture University used mice models that may partially explain the efficacy of astaxanthin; they compared control, exercise placebo, and astaxanthin treated exercise groups after intense physical activity. 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal-modified-protein (4-HNE) stain analyses of the calf (gastrocnemius) muscles revealed significantly lower peroxidation damage (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Effect of astaxanthin on 4-HNE-modifed proteins in leg muscle before and after exercise (Aoi et al., 2003) Figure 5. Effect of astaxanthin on 4-HNE-modifed proteins in leg muscle before and after exercise (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2003)

Other biochemical markers for oxidative damage and inflammation such as DNA, (2003) also explained that astaxanthin directly modulates inflammation caused by the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators. In vivo and in vitro tests demonstrate that astaxanthin inhibits the IκB Kinase (IKK) dependant activation of the Nuclear Factor-kB (NF-κB) pathway, a key step in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and mediators. Aoi et al., 2008 also demonstrated increased lipid metabolism compared to carbohydrate as the main source of energy during strenuous activity (Figure 6). Furthermore, analysis of the mitochondrial lipid transport enzyme known as carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) revealed increased fat localization (Figure 7) and reduction of oxidative damage in the presence of astaxanthin (Figure 8). CPT I is important because it regulates fatty acyl-CoA entry into the mitochondria in the oxidation of fatty acids in muscle. Exercise-induced ROS may partly limit utilization of fatty acid via diminishing CPT I activity.

Figure 6. Fat substrate utilization increased with astaxanthin (Aoi et al., 2008)
  Figure 6. Fat substrate utilization increased with astaxanthin (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  

 Calculated from the respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and oxygen consumption. Values are means ± SE obtained from 8 mice.

Figure 7. Increased amount of FAT/CD36 that coimmunoprecipitated with CPT I skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30 m/min for 30 min (Aoi et al., 2008) Figure 7. Increased amount of FAT/CD36 that coimmunoprecipitated with CPT I skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30 m/min for 30 min (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  
Values are means ± SE obtained from 6 mice.
Figure 8. Astaxanthin reduced the amount of HEL-modified CPT1 in skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30m/min for 30min (Aoi et al., 2008) Figure 8. Astaxanthin reduced the amount of HEL-modified CPT1 in skeletal muscle after a single session of exercise at 30m/min for 30min (Aoi <em>et al.</em>, 2008)  
Values are means ± SE obtained from 6 mice.



Strenuous physical activity generates high levels of ROS which affect muscle performance and metabolism of lipids. New research shows that astaxanthin can modify muscle metabolism via its antioxidant effect, resulting in the improvement of muscle function during exercise. Therefore, astaxanthin is expected to be useful for physically active people as well as athletes.


  1. Aoi W, Naito Y, Sakuma K, Kuchide M, Tokuda H, Maoka T, Toyokuni S, Oka S, Yasuhara M, Yoshikawa T. (2003). Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxid Redox Signal, 5(1):139-144.
  2. Aoi W, Naito Y, Takanami Y, Ishii T, Kawai Y, Akagiri S, Kato Y, Osawa T, Yoshikawa T. (2008). Astaxanthin improves muscle lipid metabolism in exercise via inhibitory effect of oxidative CPT I modification. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Com., 366:892–897.
  3. Fukamauchi, M. (2007). Food Functionality of astaxanthin-10: Synergistic effects of astaxanthin-10 intake and aerobic exercise. Food Style 21, 11(10). [In Japanese]
  4. Ikeuchi M, Koyama T, Takahashi J, Yazawa K. (2006). Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on exercise-induced fatigue in mice. Bio. Pharm. Bull., 29(10):2106-2110.
  5. Lee SJ, Bai SK, Lee KS, Namkoong S, Na HJ, Ha KS, Han JA, Yim SV, Chang K, Kwon YG, Lee SK, Kim YM. (2003). Astaxanthin Inhibits Nitric Oxide Production and Inflammatory Gene Expression by Suppressing IκB Kinase-dependent NF-κB Activation. Mol. Cells, 16(1):97-105.
  6. Malmsten C, Lignell A. (2008). Dietary supplementation with astaxanthin rich algal meal improves muscle endurance – a double blind study on male students. Carotenoid Science 13:20-22.
  7. Sawaki K, Yoshigi H, Aoki K, Koikawa N, Azumane A, Kaneko K, Yamaguchi M. (2002). Sports performance benefits from taking natural astaxanthin characterized by visual activity and muscle fatigue improvements in humans. J Clin.Therap. Med., 18(9):73- 88.

CCRES special thanks to 
  Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) 

Tagged , , , , ,

The Effects of Astaxanthin – Cardiovascular Health


The Effects of Astaxanthin – Cardiovascular Health



A Silent Cardiovascular Condition that Kills 1 Person Every 3 Seconds

Atherosclerosis: A Silent Cardiovascular Condition that Kill 1 Person every 3 SecondsHigh blood pressure, high levels of triglycerides, oxidation of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lowering levels of High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol are the primary cause that leads to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation in the vessels. This condition emerges at early age and gradually compromises vascular integrity leading to atherosclerosis at a later stage of a person lifespan. Atherosclerosis is a cardiovascular condition in which fat deposits and become oxidized along the inner lining of the artery walls. This silent yet deadly build up progressively thickens, hardens and eventually blocks the arteries leading to sudden and severe circulatory complications including vascular ischemia, stroke or heart attack. Cardiovascular and circulatory deaths related to atherosclerosis accounts for 29% of all deaths globally; the primary cause of death in EU (42%), Eastern Europe (48%), UK (39%), North America (49%), China (34%), South America (31%); Middle East (31%) and India (29%) – World Health Report, 2010.

Salmon Consumption and Lower Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Japanese. Just a Coincidence?

Salmon Consumption and Lower Incidence of Cardiovascular Diseases Among Japanese. Just a Coincidence?The cardiovascular and circulatory benefits of natural astaxanthin are evident among Japanese who are the uppermost consumers of food containing astaxanthin (AX) in the world and have the lowest incidences of heart diseases amongst developed countries. As the French paradox of cardiovascular health is connected to “sipping red-wine” and Italians longevity to “olive oil dressed” salads, Japanese cardiovascular resilience can be associated with consumption of “astaxanthin-soaked” salmon. In fact, a growing number of scientific evidence points to a robust link between natural astaxanthin and cardiovascular health – 30 cardiovascular specific research publications including 10 clinical studies. Research suggests that oral supplementation of astaxanthin may reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases by reducing hypertension while enhancing blood rheology, capillary circulation and vascular resilience.

The Effects of Astaxanthin on Atherosclerosis Prevention and Development

The Effects of Astaxanthin on Atherosclerosis Prevention and Development

Astaxanthin Increase HDL Cholesterol and Decrease Serum Triglycerides

For every 1 mg/dl increase in good cholesterol HDL, the risk of cardiovascular diseases drops by 3%. In fact, baby boomers with low-HDL (> 40mg/dL) increase their chances of experiencing coronary events by 50%. Recent studies suggest that individuals with low HDL cholesterol who also have high triglycerides levels are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. Achieving a significant increase of HDL is notoriously hard because it requires drastic lifestyle changes, so often ending with modest results or sudden relapses.
Recent research suggests that astaxanthin supplementation can support lifestyle changers by synergizing HDL increasing effect with decreased level of serum triglycerides. Two recent studies demonstrated that astaxanthin consumption can steadily increase HDL cholesterol in both healthy and less healthy individuals -both as preventive and therapeutic use. Yoshida et al., (2009) conducted the first ever randomized, placebo-controlled human study to evaluate astaxanthin effect on dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome. Sixty-one hyper-triglyceride subjects between 42-47 years old (BMI 24 mg/kg), received 0 (placebo), 6 mg, 12mg, 18mg of astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks. While the placebo group did not change their existing condition, the astaxanthin groups increased their HDL cholesterol by 11%, 15% and 7% respectively and decreased their serum triglycerides level by 17%, 25% and 24% respectively (figure 1).

Figure 1. Astaxanthin increase HDL cholesterol and decrease Serum Triglycerides (STR). Subjects with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of STR are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases (Yoshida et al., 2009) Figure 1. Astaxanthin increase HDL cholesterol and decrease Serum Triglycerides (STR). Subjects with lower levels of HDL and higher levels of STR are 11 times more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases (Yonei et al, 2010) 61 hyper- triglyceride subjects between 42-47 yo; (BMI 24 mg/kg), received 0 (placebo), 6 mg, 12mg, 18mg of astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks

In a recent clinical study, 73 subjects between 20-60 years of age who received 4mg of natural astaxanthin per day for 4 weeks had their serum triglycerides level decreased by 25 %(Satoh et al., 2009). In another study conducted in Japan, 15 healthy adults increased their HDL by 6% after ingesting 9mg/daily of astaxanthin for 8 weeks (Matsumaya et al., 2010). In 2007, Hussein et al., has shown that astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells in rats, which lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular complications and chronic inflammation (figure 2).

Figure 2. Astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells. Large cells usually indicate higher risk of fat-oxidation chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases (x10) (Hussein et al., 2006) Figure 2. Astaxanthin reduced the size of fat cells. Large cells usually indicate higher risk of fat-oxidation chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, which are the leading causes of cardiovascular diseases (x10) (Hussein <em>et al.</em>, 2006)

Astaxanthin Decrease Red Blood Cells Oxidation and Lipid-Peroxidation

Astaxanthin Decrease Red Blood Cells Oxidation and Lipid-PeroxidationHigh levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL also increase the likelihood of fat-oxidation in vessels and formation of “wounds” in the inner lining of artery walls (endothelium) leading to chronic inflammation and oxidative stress; this situation causes degradation, narrowing and thickening of arteries. Three recent clinical studies have robustly pointed to astaxanthin ability to reduce fat peroxidation in blood plasma. In a randomized-double-blind placebo study, 33 overweight subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin daily for 3 weeks. Their lipid peroxidation markers plasma MDA Level (mmol) and plasma ISP (ng/mL) decreased by 30% and 60% in average (Choi et al., 2011).
In another randomized double blind placebo controlled study, 30 subjects between 50 and 69 years of age received 0 (placebo), 6 or 12mg astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks (Nakagawa et al., 2011). The amount of oxidized red blood cells (PLOOH um0l/ml) decreased by 17% and 24% respectively(figure 3).

Figure 3. Astaxanthin reduces red blood cells oxidation (RBCO) in senior subjects. RBCO cells has high correlation with neuro-degenerative (eg. dementia) and cardiovascular diseases (eg. heart attack) (Nakagawa et al., 2011) Figure 3. Astaxanthin reduces red blood cells oxidation (RBCO) in senior subjects. RBCO cells has high correlation with neuro-degenerative (eg. dementia) and cardiovascular diseases (eg. heart attack) (Nakagawa <em>et al.</em>, 2011) 30 subjects (15 F and 15 M) between 50 and 69 years of age , BMI 27·5 kg/m2 received 0 (placebo), 6 or 12mg astaxanthin per day for 12 weeks

In 2007, Karppi et al., conducted a randomized double blind conducted placebo controlled study with 40 non-smoking subjects between 19-33 years of age who received 0 (placebo) or 8mg of astaxanthin daily for 12 weeks. Their lipid peroxidation markers -plasma-15-hydroxy fatty acidsdecreased by 60% and plasma-12-hydroxy fatty acids by 36%. In 2000, Iwamoto et al., has also shown that astaxanthin inhibited LDL oxidation in human subjects. Professor Aoi from Kyoto Prefectural University, has shown that astaxanthin limits exercise-induced cardiac oxidation damage in mice.

Astaxanthin Enhance Biomarkers of Anti-oxidant Healthiness in the Blood Plasma

Low antioxidant activity in the blood correlates with high incidences of stroke, neurological impairment in stroke patients and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor the biomarkers of antioxidant capacity in the blood when assessing the efficacy of an active ingredient. In a randomized double blind study, 33 overweight subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin daily for 3 weeks. Their plasma Superoxide Dismutase Level (SOD) (U/mL) and Plasma Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC) Level (mmol) increased 45% and 19% respectively. (Choi et al., 2011) (figure 4).
Other studies have produced similar results using different assessment methods. In an open label clinical study, 35 postmenopausal women were treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks (Yonei et al., 2009). Astaxanthin supplementation increased biological antioxidant potential in the blood plasma by 5% in 8 weeks. In addition, Camera et al., suggested that astaxanthin protects and synergize with our endogenous antioxidant systems (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione) from early degradation when subjected to oxidative stress (Camera et al., 2008).

Figure 4. Astaxanthin increases Plasma SOD Level and Plasma TAC level. Low levels of SOD and TAC correlates with higher incidences of stroke, neurological impairment and cardiovascular diseases (Choi et al., 2011) fig4 33 subjects received 5mg or 20mg astaxanthin x day for 3 weeks; BMI (25.0 -30.0 kg/m2) – aged 25.Normal Body Subjects – 10 non-intervention subjects (20.0 < BMI≤24.9 kg/m2) age 26

Astaxanthin Decrease Chronic Inflammation that comprise Blood Vessels Integrity

In the presence of oxidized cells in the endothelial lesions, macrophages white blood cells infiltrate in affected areas to clear away pathogens and dead cells. Yet, in the attempt to clean up the oxidized areas, macrophages may get overweighed with excessive lipoproteins and unable to leave the artery walls. This peculiar but common situation triggers a cascade of chronic inflammatory responses and pro-oxidant activities that degraded the structural integrity of the vessels. Therefore, up-regulated activity of oxidized LDL via macrophage induced inflammation is central to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. They are closely associated with plaque development, aggravation and ruptures.
A recent study shows that astaxanthin decreased macrophage occupied lesion areas and therefore inflammation in the vessels of rabbits by 40% compared to control group (figure 5). Furthermore, rabbits that ingested 4mg astaxanthin everyday for 24 weeks decreased programmed cell death (apoptosis) by 42% and cell death (necrosis) by 17% in the aorta (Li et al., 2004).

Figure 5. Astaxanthin decrease chronic inflammation and cell death in the inner lining of the vessels. Chronic inflammation and apoptosis in the endothelium dramatically accelerates vascular degradation and atherosclerotic plaque formation. (Li et al., 2004) Figure 5. Astaxanthin decrease chronic inflammation and cell death in the inner lining of the vessels. Chronic inflammation and apoptosis in the endothelium dramatically accelerates vascular degradation and atherosclerotic plaque formation. (Li <em>et al.</em>, 2004) Rabbits ingested 4mg of placebo, Vitamin E or astaxanthin everyday for 24 weeks.

In-vitro study provides further evidences that astaxanthin (5-10uM) decreases macrophages related activation (SR-A and CD36) by 48% and 58% respectively (Kishimoto et al., 2009). A recent animal studies show that astaxanthin could ameliorate endothelial dysfunction by significantly improving the level of substances important for the regulation of vascular integrity. In more details, treatment with astaxanthin for 42 days decreased serum oxidized LDL cholesterol, aortic MDA levels, attenuated endothelium-dependent vasodilatory to acetylcholine, up-regulate eNOS expression and decreased LDL cholesterol receptor expression (figure 6).

Figure 6. Astaxanthin treatment improved markers of endothelial dysfunction by reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and MDA. Higher levels of LDL oxidation and MDA expression highly correlates with structural damages in blood vessels and impairment of blood flow. (Zhao et al., 2011) Figure 6. Astaxanthin treatment improved markers of endothelial dysfunction by reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol and MDA. Higher levels of LDL oxidation and MDA expression highly correlates with structural damages in blood vessels and impairment of blood flow. (Zhao <em>et al.</em>, 2011) Diabetic rats were treated with 10 mg/kg of astaxanthin or olive oil for 42 days.

Animal studies have also shown that astaxanthin ameliorated structural changes in the blood vessels – reduction in wall thickness by 47% and improved vascular tone by 36% in spontaneously hypertensive rats (Hussein et al., 2006). Such structural changes was observed in the reduction of the number of branched elastin bands and improved vessel wall to lumen thickness ratio.
In another study, 24 weeks supplementation of natural astaxanthin reduced levels of MMP3 expression in the aorta of rabbits – a crucial factor that lead to a degradation of elastin and collagen structures which determines the mechanical properties of connective tissues in the vessels (figure 7). In the experiment, astaxanthin enhanced plaque stability leading to a significant reduction of plaque ruptures (Li et al., 2004).

Figure 7. Astaxanthin inhibit MMP over-expression in the thoracic aorta. Over-expression of MMP is a crucial factor that leads to the degradation of vascular integrity and escalation of atherosclerotic plaque ruptures (Li et al., 2004) Figure 7. Astaxanthin inhibit MMP over-expression in the thoracic aorta. Over-expression of MMP is a crucial factor that leads to the degradation of vascular integrity and escalation of atherosclerotic plaque ruptures (Li <em>et al.</em>, 2004) Animal Study – Rabbits ingested AX 4mg/ Kg of body weight daily x 24weeks

Astaxanthin Improving Vascular Resilience and Capillary Blood Flow

Astaxanthin Improving Vascular Resilience and Capillary Blood FlowGood circulation, quality of blood and resilient vessels are the key features required to fight development and progression of atherosclerosis. Blood rich in antioxidants bring nutrients and oxygen to organs while removing waste through a smooth vascular resilience and capillary flow.
Recent human studies suggest that 6mg daily of astaxanthin can enhance blood flow by 10% in terms of capillary transit time -how fast the blood runs through the vessels (Miyawaki et al., 2008). Another complementary study showed that astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance by 17% – the degree to which the blood vessels impede the flow of blood (Iwabayashi et al., 2009).(figure 8) High resistance causes an increase in blood pressure, which increases the workload of the heart. In 2005, Nagaki et al., conducted another randomized double-blind study in which 36 subjects who received oral astaxanthin, 6mg/day for 4 weeks experienced a 4% improvement in capillary blood flow (Nagaki et al., 2005).

Figure 8. astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance (LLVR) – the degree to which the vessels impede the flow of blood. LLVR increase blood pressure and circulatory complications that lead to peripheral vascular diseases, venous thrombosis and painful claudication (Yonei et al., 2009) Figure 8. astaxanthin decreased lower limb vascular resistance (LLVR) – the degree to which the vessels impede the flow of blood. LLVR increase blood pressure and circulatory complications that lead to peripheral vascular diseases, venous thrombosis and painful claudication (Yonei <em>et al.</em>, 2009) 35 healthy postmenopausal women (BMI 22.1) were included in the study, treated with astaxanthin daily dose of 12 mg for 8 weeks.

Astaxanthin Reduces Hypertension

A series of human studies suggest that astaxanthin decreases blood pressure by improving blood flow and vascular tone. In a recent clinical study, 73 subjects, between 20-60 years of age, who received 4mg of astaxanthin for day for 4 weeks showed a significant decrease in systolic blood pressure (Satoh et al., 2009). In another study, 15 healthy subjects, between 27-50 of age, who received 9mg/day of astaxanthin for 12 weeks had their diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly (Matsuyama et al., 2010).
A series of animal studies have largely replicated the effects of astaxanthin found in human studies (e.g. Ruiz et al., 2010; Preuss, 2011).


Clinical studies suggests that oral supplementation of natural astaxanthin (4mg-12mg) may reduce the risk cardiovascular complications by enhancing blood rheology, lipid-metabolism, capillary circulation, vascular resilience and the endogenous antioxidant defense. Other clinical studies have also shown that astaxanthin reduce lipid-peroxidation, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and DNA damage. Mechanism of action includes inhibition of macrophage-induced inflammation in the endothelium, oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and MPP-induced-structural degradation of the vessels. Furthermore, recent studies have also outlined that astaxanthin ameliorates nitric oxide dependent vessels dilation and reduce sensitivity to the angiotensin.


  1. Aoi et al., (2003). Astaxanthin limits exercise-induced skeletal and cardiac muscle damage in mice. Antioxidants & Redox Signaling. 5(1):139-44.
  2. Hussein et al., (2005b). Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin II. Vascular reactivity and hemorheology in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(6):967-971.
  3. Hussein et al., (2006b). Antihypertensive potential and mechanism of action of astaxanthin: III. Antioxidant and histopathological effects in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 29(4):684-688.
  4. Hussein et al., (2005a). Antihypertensive and Neuroprotective Effects of Astaxanthin in Experimental Animals. Biol. Pharm. Bull., 28(1): 47-52.
  5. Iwabayashi et al., (2009). Efficacy and safety of eight-week treatment with astaxanthin in individuals screened for increased oxidative stress burden. Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine., 6(4):15-21
  6. Iwamoto et al., (2000). Inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation by astaxanthin. Journal of Atherosclerosis Thrombosis. 7(4):216-22.
  7. Karppi et al., (2007). Effects of astaxanthin supplementation on lipid eroxidation. Int J Vitam Nutr Jan; 77 (1): 3-11.
  8. Kishimoto et al., (2009). Astaxanthin suppresses scavenger receptor expression and matrix metalloproteinase activity in macrophages. European Journal of Nutrition., 49(2):17-26
  9. Li et al., (2004). Alpha-tocopherol and astaxanthin decrease macrophage infiltration, apoptosis and vulnerability in atheroma of hyperlipidaemic rabbits. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology., 37:969-978.
  10. Matsuyama et al., (2010) A Safety Study on the Long-Term Consumption of Astaxanthin in Healthy Human Volunteer. Japanese Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine., (7):43-50. (Translated from Japanese)
  11. Miyawaki et al., (2005). Effects of Astaxanthin on Human Blood Rheology. Journal of Clinical Therapeutics and Medicines., 21(4):421-429.7.
  12. Murillo (1992). Hypercholesterolemic effect of canthaxanthin and astaxanthin in rats. Arch. Latinoam Nutr., 42(4):409-413.
  13. Preuss et al., (2009). Astaxanthin lowers blood pressure and lessens the activity of the eroxi-angiotensin system in Zucker Fatty Rats., Journal of Functional Foods., I:13-22
  14. Yoshida et al., (2010). Administration of natural astaxanthin increases serum HDL-cholesterol and adiponectin in subjects with mild hyperlipidemia., 209 (2): 520-3.
  15. Nakagawa et al., (2011). Antioxidant effect of astaxanthin on phospholipid peroxidation in human erythrocytes British Journal of Nutrition., (31):1-9
  16. Choi et al., (2011). Effects of Astaxanthin on Oxidative Stress in Overweight and Obese Adults Phytother. Research (in-press).
  17. Satoh et al., (2009).Preliminary Clinical Evaluation of Toxicity and Efficacy of a New Astaxanthin-rich Hameotoccus Pluvialis. J. Clin. Biochem. Nutr., 44: 280–284.
  18. Hussein et al., (2007). Astaxanthin ameliorates features of metabolic syndrome in SHR/NDmcr-cp. Life Sci., 16;80(6):522-9.
  19. Preuss, et al., (2011). High Dose Astaxanthin Lowers Blood Pressure and Increases Insulin Sensi-tivity in Rats: Are These Effects Interdependent?., 8(2):126-138.
  20. Ruiz et al., (2010). Astaxanthin-enriched-diet reduces blood pressure and improves cardiovascular parameters in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Pharmacological Research., 63(1):44-50
  21. Zhao et al., (2011). Ameliorative effect of astaxanthin on endothelial dysfunction in streptozotocin-induced diabetes in male rats. Arzneimittelforschung., 61(4): 239-246.

 CCRES special thanks to 
Mr. Mitsunori Nishida, 
President of Corporate Fuji Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) 

Tagged , , , , , ,

World’s Algae Technology Group



In smaller countries, like Croatia, where oil demand is low, and emission standards are poor, algae biofuel has the potential to significantly reduce reliance on foreign oil. CCRES ALGAE TEAM part of Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES) works on Biodiesel from Microalgae, Fish Food and Protein for the food industry.

Sustainable GreenTechnologies
Green algae are low maintenance, easy to grow and very abundant aqueous life forms that use sun light energy to perform photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a biological process which produces biomass  (sugars or oils), oxygen and the high-energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate) from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. All biomass, whether it is sugars or oils, is convertible into bio-fuels, most commonly bio-ethanol and bio-diesel.

Circle CorporationBiodiesel and Ethanol
We have developed algae biodiesel production and algae oil harvesting systems and equipment that properly function for growing algae and harvesting the algae in a very efficient manner for use in algae biofuels such as biodiesel from algae and algae ethanol. We have a patented dredge head which is self-clearing so that human labor is not necessary for operation of a single dredge. Now one operator can run several dredges at the same time. 

Algae Technology Ventures
Algae Technology Ventures offers algae strains, a commercial inoculator photobioreactor for the algae production industry, colleges and universities, and custom-designed closed-loop photobioreators and turnkey algae production facilities.  We also provide cost-effective project management consulting services to the algae industry. 

Bard Holding Inc. Algae.Future. Now.
BARD has developed a unique patent-pending modular system to cultivate algae in a closed-loop, sustainable process. BARD is bringing its know-how to the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, cosmetics, chemical, construction, manufacturing, human and animal feed industries. Working closely with leading-edge technology companies, BARD is also poised to enter the rapidly emerging biofuels market.

Cellena PhotosyntheticProduction System
Cellana’s core technology is a photosynthetic production system that economically grows proprietary algae strains at a commercial-scale. The patented production system, called ALDUO™ technology, is unique in that it couples closed-culture photobioreactors with open ponds in a two-stage process. Previous attempts at scaling up algae production have used a photobioreactor or open pond individually, not coupled. 
Algae.Tec Ltd
Algae crude to transport fuel technology. Algae.Tec is a globally focused advanced algae-to-biofuels company. Algae.Tec is commercialising an enclosed modular high-yield algae-to-biofuels growth system to produce fuel for transport. The fuel is designed to be a  drop-in replacement solution that is cost competitive, and contributes to energy security. The Algae.Tec photo bio-reactors produce high-value sustainable fuels such as biodiesel and jet fuel.
Algae Production Systems
Algae Production Systems has selected a specific methodology to be applied to each of the three steps in the process of producing algae oil, which are 1) grow algae 2) harvest the algae and 3) extract the Oil and biomass. The manner and order in which our process functions is, in some cases, a unique departure from the way in which algae has been grown, harvested and oil extracted in laboratory environments. 

MBD Energy
Direct capture Algal Synthesis significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions by recycling waste CO2, SO2 and NOx to create biofuels and nutrition that would otherwise be sourced from more carbon intensive sources such as crude oil and other fossil fuels.
As a source of low-cost nutrition, Algal Synthesisers can help avoid land clearing and take pressure off farmlands. Used as feed, algal meal results in lower methane emissions from ruminant animals than from livestock grazing on grasses alone.

Origin Oil
OriginOil has proven a system called Single Step Extraction™ that is chemical-free, low-energy, high-flow and low-cost.And Single Step Extraction does more than dewater: it can rupture tough algae cell walls to free up oils and other valuable cellular components that downstream processes can separate out. Finally, we’ve combined Single Step Extraction with an efficient concentration step to achieve a concentrate with up to 10% algae solids.

Algenol Biofuels
Algenol is a global, industrial biotechnology company that is commercializing its patented algae technology platform for production of ethanol and green chemicals. Our patented DIRECT TO ETHANOL® technology enables the production of ethanol for less than $1.00 per gallon using sunlight, carbon dioxide and saltwater and targets commercial production of 6,000 gallons of ethanol per acre per year.

Aurora Algae
Aurora leads the world in the development of high-tech farming; a concept necessary and well timed to catapult us into a new era of innovation. Biochemists and engineers at Aurora have spent years focusing on the technology and science of growing algae. With more than a dozen patents filed on our science, and more than another dozen on our engineering innovations, we have developed processes that are truly revolutionizing farming as we know it.

Biotechnology that Creates Renewable Oils from Microalgae. Solazyme couples proprietary strains of algae with standard industrial biotechnology; converting what the earth produces naturally into what society needs most – oil. Solazyme’s proprietary biotechnology platform creates renewable oils by harnessing microalgae’s prolific oil production capabilities. Through world-class molecular biology and chemical engineering capabilities, we’re able to cost-effectively produce high-value tailored oils.
Sapphire Energy
Sapphire Energy, Inc., one of the world leaders in algae-based green crude oil production, today announced it has secured $144 million in a Series C investment funding. The Series C backers include Arrowpoint Partners, Monsanto, and other undisclosed investors.  All major Series B investors have participated. With this investment round, Sapphire Energy’s total funding from private and public sources substantially exceeds $300 million. 

Live Fuels
LiveFuels is developing an integrated approach to growing, harvesting and processing algal biomass into fuels and other valuable co-products. Our solution uses the productivity of natural aquatic life to fundamentally resolve challenges of cost, risk and scalability. While many algae-to-biofuels companies grow monocultures of algae within expensive enclosures, LiveFuels grows a robust mix of native algae species in low-cost, open-water systems.

Heliae Algae
Heliae’s algae technology package is made for co-location near big, unwanted waste streams. Our technology cost-effectively converts industrial CO2, wastewater nutrients and free sunlight into drop-in, infrastructure-compatible transportation fuels, food, and renewable chemicals. We help fuel a world in need of affordable, clean, conflict-free energy. And, we help feed a hungry world in need of affordable protein that does not exacerbate climate change or further deplete our imperiled oceans.

Bioprocess Algae
BioProcess Algae LLC designs, manufactures, and operates integrated systems to support bioreactor operations and dewatering efforts. Current demonstration activities are supported by commercial scale modular systems that include Grower Harvester™ cultivators, flue gas tie-ins and fully automated operational support such as pH and temperature control, CO2 and nutrient delivery, CIP capability, dewatering and water reuse.

The ECO2Capture™ Technologies improve the mass transfer of a gas (for example, CO2) into a liquid media (for example, water). The liquid media is distributed across the membrane through the Hybrid-Flow-Controlling-Header (HFCF). The HFCF is designed to allow for an even distribution of the liquid media across the faces of the membrane at the right flow, pressure, and temperature to ensure maximum mass transfer.

HDS International
HDS International (HDSI) is a green technology company providing renewable energy and eco-sustainability solutions. We provide carbon capture and sequestration solutions, as well as industrial, all natural open-water algae biomass production solutions for green energy purposes, including anaerobic digestion and biofuels, as well as for the development of bioproducts and carbon elimination. Our licensed technologies provide us with an attractive strategic position and competitive advantages within our markets.

Kent Bioenergy
Today, Kent BioEnergy has emerged as an industry leader in the development of advanced concepts for culturing and harvesting microalgae – single-celled aquatic plants. With the combination of our solid applied research foundation and extensive practical experience, the company remains focused on producing competitively priced solutions for a wide range of industrial needs from pollution control to renewable energy.

Open Algae
OpenAlgae specializes in serving algae growers with continuous, solvent-free oil and biomass recovery via cost-effective concentration, lysing and oil extraction technologies. Just as oilfield service providers evolved to support oil production processes between the wellheads and the refineries, so too has OpenAlgae evolved to support algae growers in the next-generation biofuel industry.
Solix Biofuels
Solix’s Lumian™ Algae Growth System (AGS™) is a high productivity, reliable algae cultivation photobioreactor system which includes Solix’s proprietary Lumian panels.  Solix’s Lumian panels are designed to maximize light penetration and efficient mixing of CO2 for optimized algae growth. The Lumian AGS4000 is a 4000 liter high productivity AGS ideally suited for the outdoor evaluation of algae species.

Copyright The entire content included in this site, including but not limited to text, graphics or code is copyrighted as a collective work under the United States and other copyright laws, and is the property of The CCRES Inc. © 2010-2013 HRVATSKI CENTAR OBNOVLJIVIH IZVORA ENERGIJE ®. Sva prava pridržana .
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,


As oil prices continue to rise, fuel and chemical industries look for alternative ways to produce products. These products include fine and bulk chemicals, solvents, bio-plastics, vitamins, food additives, bio-pesticides and liquid biofuels such as bio-ethanol and bio-diesel.
Industrial biotechnology applies the tools of biology to develop innovative processes and products in a cost-efficient and eco-efficient manner, using sustainable feed stocks.

CCRES is a member-based non-profit organization with membership open to research institutions, public and private sector organizations, students, and individuals. Every day, CCRES supporters fight to make environmental education, clean energy solutions, and the green economy a reality.

The mission of CCRES ALGAE PROJECT  is to support development of innovative, sustainable, and commercially viable algae-based biotechnology solutions for energy, green chemistry, bio-products, water conservation, and CO2 abatement challenges.

Why join CCRES ?

CCRES ALGAE is vital to CCRES mission and offers entrepreneurs and companies, large and small alike, a unique opportunity to actively participate in shaping the algae biotechnology research agenda for our future.Joining with commercial partners will propel research discoveries into energy and economic solutions for Croatian sustainable future.

Annual Memberships
To become a member, please CLICK HERE!

 Additional Benefits

     Invitations to CCRES seminars, tours, lunches and other special events.
Advance notice of joint-funding opportunities.
Access to CCRES facilities.
Receipt of E-Newsletter.
Recognition and logo presence for CCRES websites.
Ability to sponsor additional fellowships, meetings or seminars.
A seat on the CCRES Advisory Board.
Exclusive invitations to events.
Listing on the CCRES webpage and blogs.
High-profile inclusion in CCRES marketing materials.


Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CCRES Algal Production Facility

CCRES First Pilot-scale Algal Production Facility
Nears Completion

An algal production facility located at the CCRES Research Farm will be operational by June. This is the first facility at Croatia that can produce large amounts of algal biomass.

The facility is a 800 square-foot greenhouse that will accommodate two raceway pond systems, four large flat panel photobioreactors and one custom-made revolving attachment-based photobioreactor. The total production capacity will be 100-200 dried kilograms of algae biomass per year.

CCRES Researchers will use the various production systems to quickly grow algal biomass for various research purposes including the production of renewable fuels, food or animal feed. “This greenhouse algal production system will be a test bed for different researchers to try out their algal production capability at a large scale,” said Zeljko Serdar, President of CCRES ALGAE TEAM.

“The raceway pond systems are each 20 feet in length and both systems can hold approximately 1,000 liters of algae culture medium. Raceway pond systems are the most common method for large-scale algae cultivation. At first glance, the four flat panel photobioreactors appear to be large tanks,” said Ilam Shuhani, Chairman of the CCRES Supervisory Board and professor-in-charge of the greenhouse.

part of
Croatian Center of Renewable Energy Sources (CCRES)
Tagged , , , , , , , , ,