Evaluation of the Biological Potential of Himanthalia elongata (L.) S.F.Gray and Eisenia bicyclis (Kjellman) Setchell Subcritical Water Extracts

Inês Gomes, Helena Rodrigues, Carla Rodrigues, Marta Marques, Paula Paíga, Alexandre Paiva, Pedro Simões, Virgínia Cruz Fernandes, Mónica Vieira, Cristina Delerue-Matos, Cristina Soares, Clara Grosso

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Neuroprotection is a need that remains unmet in treating chronic neurodegenerative disorders, despite decades of extensive research. To find new neuroprotective compounds, extracts of Himanthalia elongata (L.) S.F.Gray and of Eisenia bicyclis (Kjellman) Setchell were obtained through subcritical water extraction applying a four-step temperature gradient. The fractions obtained were screened against brain enzymes involved in neurodegenerative etiology, namely in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and against reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, all contributing factors to the progression of neurodegeneration. Results showed no significant enzyme inhibition but strong radical scavenging activities, particularly in the fourth fraction, extracted at the highest temperature (250 °C), highlighting their ability to retard oxidative and nitrosative stresses. At higher temperatures, fractions were composed of phenolic compounds and Maillard reaction products, a combination that contributed to their antioxidant activity and, consequently, their neuroprotective properties. All fractions were evaluated for the presence of iodine, 14 organochlorine and 7 organophosphorus pesticides, and pharmaceuticals used in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases (14), psychiatric drugs (8), and metabolites (8). The fractions studied did not present any of the screened contaminants, and only fraction 1 of E. bicyclis should be used with caution due to iodine content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number746
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Iodine
  • Maillard reaction
  • Neuroprotection
  • Nitrosative stress
  • Oxidative stress
  • Pesticides
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Seaweeds
  • Total phenolic content


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