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Study: Antioxidant Properties of Kelp

The kelp, Ecklonia cava is distributed in the temperate
coastal zone of Korean peninsula and generally forms
highly persistent populations in clear waters (Kang et al.
2001). E. cava has been widely used as a source for products
of fucoidan which has been well-known as an antitumor,
anticoagulant and antithrombin polysaccharides
(Takashi et al. 1999; Takashi et al. 2000; Satoru et al. 2002).
In our previous study (Heo et al. 2003), E. cava hydrolyzates
showed positive effect on scavenging reactive oxygen
species (ROS) including superoxide, hydrogen peroxide,
hydroxyl radical, and singlet oxygen which are
by-products of normal metabolism and attack biological
molecules, leading to cell or tissue injury in human body
(Sies 1986; Wagner et al. 1992).


Recently many phytochemical researches including
seaweeds have tried to find natural antioxidants strongly
scavenging these free radicals that are powerful oxidants
and contain unpaired electrons. Free radicalsmediated
modification of DNA, proteins, lipids, and
small cellular molecules is associated with a number of
pathological processes, including atherosclerosis, arthritis,
diabetes, pulmonary dysfunction, ischemia-reperfusion
tissue damage and neurological disorders such as
Alzheimer’s disease (Steinberg et al. 1989; Frlich and
Riederer 1995).

Although most photosynthesizing plants
including seaweeds are exposed to a combination of
light and high oxygen concentrations, which lead to the
formation of free radicals and other strong oxidizing
agents, they seldom suffer from any serious photodynamic
damage in vivo. This fact implies that their cells
have protective antioxidative mechanisms and compounds
(Dykens et al. 1992; Sukenik et al. 1993;
Matsukawa et al. 1997). Plant phenolic compounds are
known to possess antioxidant ability to scavenge reactive
oxygen species and free radicals (Bernard et al. 1997;
Bhagavathi et al. 2002; Owan et al. 2003; Cheng et al.
2003).

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