Value Added Products
The following is excerpted from the research and writings of Dr. Mark Edwards, one of the world’s foremost authorities on algae.
Possibly the highest value algal coproducts are medicines, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and nutraceuticals. Algae are used to make capsules and tablets, stabilizing agents for stomachs, suppositories, radiology agents, anticoagulants and antiulcer lotions and creams. Published research on algal medical applications include: infections, external wounds, pesticide poisoning, obesity, cancer, diabetes, hepatitis, pancreatitis, cataracts, constipation and allergies. A large number of antibiotic compounds, many with novel structures, have been isolated and characterized in algae. Cyanobacteria have been able to produce antiviral, antineoplastic and other pharmacologically active compounds. A variety of algal compounds are active against herpes virus, pneumonia virus and HIV. Some produce antitumor and antifungal compounds. Bioactive algae compounds are finding applications in both human and veterinary medicine and in agriculture. Antioxidants provide value for the food industry. Lipophilic antioxidants serve as food preservatives, preventing lipid peroxidation which causes food spoilage. Other applications include research tools or structural models for the development of new drugs.