Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter May 15, 2014

Enhancement of carrageenan gel quality in the commercially important tropical seaweed Eucheuma denticulatum (Rhodophyta), with postharvest treatment in low-nutrient conditions

  • Ronald D. Villanueva EMAIL logo and Marco Nemesio E. Montaño
From the journal Botanica Marina


The potential of postharvest culture in low-nutrient conditions was evaluated in terms of enhancement of carrageenan gel quality in the tropical seaweed Eucheuma denticulatum (“spinosum” of commerce) and as an alternative to industrial alkali treatment. Postharvest batch culture of seaweeds with either initially low or high nutrient concentrations (both ending with low nutrient concentrations) produced native carrageenans that had significantly higher gel strengths (48 g cm-2 in both treatments) than those treated with continuous culture in high nutrient concentrations (18 g cm-2). The gel strength of native carrageenans from batch-cultured seaweeds was also significantly higher than that of both native and alkali-treated carrageenans from seaweeds that had not undergone postharvest culture (11 and 29 g cm-2, respectively). The mechanism indicated for the enhancement of carrageenan gel quality involves stopping the production of precursor (galactose-6-sulfate) and converting the preexisting precursor to 3,6-anhydrogalactose units through in vivo enzymatic action. Postharvest batch culture with low nutrient concentrations is considered to be an eco-friendly alternative to industrial alkali treatment in the enhancement of carrageenan gel quality.

Corresponding author: Ronald D. Villanueva, The Marine Science Institute, College of Science, University of the Philippines Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines, e-mail:


We thank M. Ponce, F. Castrence Jr., and R. de Guzman for technical assistance. Comments and suggestions from three anonymous referees considerably improved the manuscript. This study was funded by the Philippine Department of Science and Technology through the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development. This is MSI contribution number 428.


Al-Alawi, A.A., I.M. Al-Marhubi, M.S.M. Al-Belushi and B. Soussi. 2011. Characterization of carrageenan extracted from Hypnea bryoides in Oman. Mar. Biotechnol. 13: 893–899.10.1007/s10126-010-9350-7Search in Google Scholar

Arvizu-Higuera, D.L., Y.E. Rodríguez-Montesinos, J.L. Murillo-Àlvarez, M. Muñoz-Ochoa and G. Hernández-Carmona. 2008. Effect of alkali treatment time and extraction time on the agar from Gracilaria vermiculophylla. J. Appl. Phycol. 20: 515–519.10.1007/s10811-007-9258-4Search in Google Scholar

Bixler, H.J. and H. Porse. 2011. A decade of change in the seaweed hydrocolloids industry. J. Appl. Phycol. 23: 321–335.10.1007/s10811-010-9529-3Search in Google Scholar

Buschmann, A.H., O.A. Mora, P. Gómez, M. Böttger, S. Buitano, C. Retamales, P.A. Vergara and A. Gutierrez. 1994. Gracilaria chilensis outdoor tank culture in Chile: use of land-based salmon culture effluents. Aquacult. Eng. 13: 283–300.10.1016/0144-8609(94)90016-7Search in Google Scholar

Craigie, J.S. 1990. Cell walls. In: (K.M. Cole and R.G. Sheath, eds.) Biology of the red algae. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA. pp. 221–257.Search in Google Scholar

Freile-Pelegrín, Y., D. Robledo and J.A. Azamar. 2006. Carrageenan of Eucheuma isiforme (Solieriaceae, Rhodophyta) from Yucatán, Mexico. I. Effect of extraction conditions. Bot. Mar. 49: 65–71.Search in Google Scholar

Ganzon-Fortes, E.T., G.C. Trono Jr, R.D. Villanueva, J.B. Romero and M.N.E. Montaño. 2012. ‘Endong’, a rare variety of the farmed carrageenophyte Eucheuma denticulatum (Burman) Collins & Hervey from the Philippines. J. Appl. Phycol. 24: 1107–1111.Search in Google Scholar

Hansen, H.P. and F. Koroleff. 1999. Determination of nutrients. In: (K. Grashoff, K. Kremling and M. Ehrhardt, eds.) Methods of seawater analysis. Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, FR Germany. pp. 157–228.Search in Google Scholar

Hayashi, L., E.J. de Paula and F. Chow. 2007. Growth rate and carrageenan analyses in four strains of Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) farmed in the subtropical waters of São Paulo State, Brazil. J. Appl. Phycol. 19: 393–399.10.1007/s10811-006-9135-6Search in Google Scholar

Hemmingson, J.A. and R.H. Furneaux. 2000. Manipulation of galactan biosynthesis in Gracilaria chilensis Bird, McLachlan et Oliveira by light deprivation. Bot. Mar. 43: 285–289.Search in Google Scholar

Hemmingson, J.A. and R.H. Furneaux. 2003. Variation of native agar gel strength in light deprived Gracilaria chilensis Bird, McLachlan et Oliveira. Bot. Mar. 46: 307–314.Search in Google Scholar

Jackson, S.G. and E.L. McCandless. 1978. Simple, rapid, turbidometric determination of inorganic sulfate and/or protein. Anal. Biochem. 90: 802–808.Search in Google Scholar

Martinez, L.A. and A.H. Buschmann. 1996. Agar yield and quality of Gracilaria chilensisi (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) in tank culture using fish effluents. Hydrobiologia 326/327: 341–345.Search in Google Scholar

Mendoza, W.G., E.T. Ganzon-Fortes, R.D. Villanueva, J.B. Romero and M.N.E. Montaño. 2006. Tissue age as a factor affecting carrageenan quantity and quality in farmed Kappaphycus striatum (Schmitz) Doty ex Silva. Bot. Mar. 49: 57–64.10.1515/BOT.2006.007Search in Google Scholar

Montolalu, R.I., Y. Tashiro, S. Matsukawa and H. Ogawa. 2008. Effects of extraction parameters on gel properties of carrageenan from Kappaphycus alvarezii. J. Appl. Phycol. 20: 521–526.10.1007/s10811-007-9284-2Search in Google Scholar

Neish, A.C. and P.F. Shacklock. 1971. Greenhouse experiments (1971) on the propagation of strain T4 of Irish moss. Technical Report No. 14 of the Atlantic Regional Laboratory, National Research Council of Canada, Halifax, N. NRCC No. 12253. pp. 25.Search in Google Scholar

Qin, X., C. Ma, Z. Lou, A. Wang and H. Wang. 2013. Purification and characterization of d-gal-6-sulfurylase from Eucheuma striatum. Carbohydr. Polym. 96: 9–14.10.1016/j.carbpol.2013.03.061Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Rees, D.A. 1961. Enzymic synthesis of 3,6-anhydro-l-galactose within porphyran from l-galactose-6-sulphate units. Biochem. J. 81: 347–352.Search in Google Scholar

Rodrigueza M.R.C. and M.N.E. Montaño. 2007. Bioremediation potential of three carrageenophytes cultivated in tanks with seawater from fish farms. J. Appl. Phycol. 19: 755–762.10.1007/s10811-007-9217-0Search in Google Scholar

Shukla, M.K., M. Kumar, K. Prasad, C.R.K. Reddy and B. Jha. 2011. Partial characterization of sulfohydrolase from Gracilaria dura and evaluation of its potential application in improvement of the agar quality. Carbohydr. Polym. 85: 157–163.10.1016/j.carbpol.2011.02.009Search in Google Scholar

Strickland, J.D.H. and T.R. Parsons. 1972. A practical handbook of seawater analysis. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa. pp. 310.Search in Google Scholar

Viana, A.G., M.D. Noseda, M.E.R. Duarte and A.S. Cerezo. 2004. Alkali modification of carrageenans. Part V. The ι-ν hybrid carrageenan from Eucheuma denticulatum and its cyclization to ι-carrageenan. Carbohydr. Polym. 58: 455–460.10.1016/j.carbpol.2004.08.006Search in Google Scholar

Villanueva, R.D., L. Hilliou and I. Sousa-Pinto. 2009. Postharvest culture in the dark: an eco-friendly alternative to alkali treatment for enhancing the gel quality of κ/ι-hybrid carrageenan from Chondrus crispus (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta). Bioresource Technol. 100: 2633–2638.10.1016/j.biortech.2008.11.053Search in Google Scholar PubMed

Villanueva, R.D., J.B. Romero, M.N.E. Montaño and P.O. de la Peña. 2011. Harvest optimization of four Kappaphycus species from the Philippines. Biomass Bioenergy 35: 1311–1316.10.1016/j.biombioe.2010.12.044Search in Google Scholar

Wong, K.F. and J.S. Craigie. 1978. Sulfohydrolase activity and carrageenan biosynthesis in Chondrus crispus (Rhodophyceae). Plant Physiol. 61: 663–666.10.1104/pp.61.4.663Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

Yaphe, W. and G.P. Arsenault. 1965. Improved resorcinol reagent for the determination of fructose and of 3,6-anhydrogalactose in polysaccharides. Anal. Biochem. 13: 143–148.Search in Google Scholar

Yong, Y.S., W.T.L. Yong and A. Anton. 2013. Analysis of formulae for determination of seaweed growth rate. J. Appl. Phycol. 25: 1831–1834.10.1007/s10811-013-0022-7Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2013-12-22
Accepted: 2014-4-24
Published Online: 2014-5-15
Published in Print: 2014-6-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 6.6.2023 from
Scroll to top button