Yandu Lu is invited to launch a Research Topic in Frontiers in Marine Science

The research topic “Marine Microalgal-Derived Polysaccharides: from the Sources to Potential Applications” launched by Yantao Li (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, United States), Wenzhou Xiang, Tao Li (South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China), and Yandu Lu was initiated on March 1, 2022.


The Research Topic welcomes research on the following areas, but are not limited to:

- Potential microalgae species for polysaccharide production

- Chemical structure of polysaccharides

- High-yield polysaccharide strategies

- Biosynthetic pathways of polysaccharides

- Low-cost extraction technologies of polysaccharides

- Polysaccharide activity evaluation and product development


About this Research Topic

Algae can synthesize a variety of natural products, including unsaturated fatty acids, phycobiliproteins, carotenoids, and polysaccharides, to mention a few. Among these products are algal polysaccharides, which have complicated chemical structures and excellent bioactivities (for example moisturizing, anti-radiation, immune enhancement, and anti-virus). The potential of polysaccharides as antiviral and immune-boosting strategies has been debated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, most algal polysaccharide research is focused on marine macroalgae, like red algae (carrageenan) and brown algae (fucoidan). In comparison with macroalgae, marine microalgae have shorter reproduction cycles, higher density cultures, and higher species richness. Thus far, between 30,000 and 40,000 different strains of microalgae have been isolated and classified. However, little research has been done on marine microalgal polysaccharides, which warrants further investigation.


Characterization of high polysaccharide producing species, the structure and composition of polysaccharides, the polysaccharide synthetic pathways and the related genes involved, optimization of the cultivation conditions, and polysaccharide extraction and purification strategies are all critical aspects to be addressed in order to boost higher production and polysaccharide yields. The present Research Topic intends to encourage more research into microalgal polysaccharides in order to develop biotechnological ways to boost yields and steer synthesis toward biomolecules with desired functionalities. It is planned to provide information on how to produce microalgal polysaccharides on a large scale.