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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 23, 2020

Evaluation of Moroccan microalgae: Spirulina platensis as a potential source of natural antioxidants

  • Touria Ould Bellahcen EMAIL logo , Abderrahmane AAmiri , Ikram Touam , Fouzia Hmimid , Abdelaziz El Amrani , Abdelmjid Cherif and Mounia Cherki



Ethanolic, aqueous and lipidic extracts of Spirulina platensis were evaluated for their bioactive substances (polyphenols and fatty acids) and antioxidant activities using two different assays diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and azino-bis (ethylbenzthiazoline-6- sulfonicacid (ABTS)).


The phenolic compounds amounts were determined by colorimetric assays and were analyzed by high-performance and liquid chromatography (HPLC) method. The identification of phenolic compounds in the extract was accomplished by comparison of their retention times with those of pure standards. The chemical composition of fatty acids in lipidic extract was determined by GC/FIDs and GC/MS method.


The obtained results revealed that using DPPH, the ethanolic extract recorded the highest activity with (IC50=449 μg/mL ± 83). It was characterized with a high levels of phenolic and flavonoid content 0.33 ± 0.01 mg GAE/g dw and 0.21 ± 0.01 mg quercetin/g dw, respectively. The ethanolic extract showed the presence of caffeic acid, syringic acid, ferulic acid, p-coumaric acid, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol, quercetin and apigenin. Those entire phenolic compounds seem participle synergistically to the pronounced higher activity. To the best of our knowledge, the apigenin (4′, 5, 7,-trihydroxyflavone), a natural compound which is famously known by its potent antiradical activity, was identified for the first time in Moroccan S. platensis only in the ethanolic extract. A high positive correlation (r=0.895) between the antioxidant activity and the chemical composition of ethanolic extract was observed. For ABTS, lipidic extract showed the highest activity with (IC50=740 μg/mL ± 12). A total of 15 fatty acids compounds, amounting 89.73% of the extract were identified. γ-linolenic acid (GLA) (39.02%) and α-linolenic acid (ALA) (13.85%) were the major component and contribute greatly to the antioxidant activity observed. The lipidic extract has a high content of unsaturated fatty acids (70.95%) which are often exhibited very high antioxidant activity since they have two or more double bonds and chain lengths. The aqueous extract either with DPPH or ABTS methods, recorded low antioxidant activity. Its correlation was r=0.499, lower than found in the ethanolic extract.


These results showed that Spirulina platensis could be considered as a valuable source of fatty acids and phenolics with potent antioxidant activity. It may be employed in the manufacture of pharmaceutical drugs as an alternative source of natural antioxidants.

  1. Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

  2. Research funding: None declared.

  3. Employment or leadership: None declared.

  4. Honorarium: None declared.

  5. Competing interests: On behalf all coauthors, I confirm that we not have conflict of interest with any reviewers or any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence our work.


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Received: 2019-05-11
Accepted: 2019-09-16
Published Online: 2020-09-23

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