Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Revista Brasileira de Farmacognosia]]> vol. 22 num. 4 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>New insights on algal products and bioprospection in Brazil</b>: <b>pharmaceutical, cosmetic and public health applications</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Antiviral activity of extracts from Brazilian seaweeds against herpes simplex virus</b>]]> Organic extracts of 36 species of marine algae (sixteen species of Rhodophyta, eight species of Ochrophyta and twelve species of Chlorophyta) from seven locations on the Brazilian coast were evaluated for their anti-HSV-1 and anti-HSV-2 activity resistant to Acyclovir (ACV). Activity tests in crude extracts, followed by the identification of the major compounds present, were performed for all species. The chemical profiles of all crude extracts were obtained by ¹H-NMR and 13C-NMR spectroscopy. The percentage of extracts with antiviral activity was higher for HSV-1 (86.1%) than for HSV-2 (55.5%). The green algae Ulva fasciata and Codium decorticatum both showed the highest activity (99.9%) against HSV-1, with triacylglycerols and fatty acids as the major components. The red alga Laurencia dendroidea showed good activity against HSV-1 (97.5%) and the halogenated sesquiterpenes obtusol and (-)-elatol were identified as the major components in the extract. Against HSV-2, the green alga Penicillus capitatus (Chlorophyta) and Stypopodium zonale (Ochrophyta) were the most active (96.0 and 95.8%). Atomaric acid, a meroditerpene, was identified as the major secondary metabolite in the S. zonale extract. These results reinforce the role of seaweeds as important sources of compounds with the potential to enter into the pipeline for development of new drugs against herpes simplex. <![CDATA[<b>Antioxidant activity and chemical composition of the non polar fraction of <i>Gracilaria domingensis</i> (Kützing) Sonder ex Dickie and <i>Gracilaria birdiae</i> (Plastino & Oliveira)</b>]]> Gracilaria domingensis (Kützing) Sonder ex Dickie and Gracilaria birdiae (Plastino & Oliveira) (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) are seaweeds that occur on the Brazilian coast. Based on their economic and pharmaceutical importance, we investigated the antioxidant activity of the methanolic, ethyl acetate and hexane extracts of both species. The hexane extracts display a high antioxidant activity and comparative analyses indicated G. birdiae as the most active species. Chemical investigation of these fractions showed several carotenoids and fatty acids, as well as cholesterol and sitosterol derivatives. HPLC-DAD analysis of G. birdiae showed violaxanthin (0.04 μ of dry material), antheraxanthin (5.31 μ, aloxanthin (0.09 μ, zeaxanthin (0.45 μ and β-carotene (0.37 μ as the major carotenoids. G. domingensis showed a similar carotenoid profile, however, with much lower concentration than G. birdiae. Gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry was used to determine other nonpolar compounds of these seaweeds. The main compounds detected in both studied species were the fatty acids 16:0; 18:1 Δ9; 20:3 Δ6,9,12, 20:4 Δ5,8,11,14. We found no specificity of compounds in either species. However, G. birdiae, presented higher contents of carotenoids and arachidonic acid than G. domingensis. <![CDATA[<b>Effect of depth on growth and pigment contents of the macroalgae <i>Gracilaria bursa-pastoris</i></b>]]> The effects of environmental parameters on biomass, growth and pigment content of the red seaweed Gracilaria bursa-pastoris (S.G. Gmel.) P.C. Silva was investigated under field conditions in Thau Lagoon (France). The seaweed was cultivated in cages placed at three depths (1.0, 2.0 and 4.0 m) over a one-year period. The results showed elevated biomass and growth values in the spring and autumn, when temperature, light and photoperiod values were similar. The highest specific growth rates (SGR) were obtained at 1.0 m (4.95±0.29% day-1) and 2.0 m (4.45±0.33% day-1). At a depth of 4.0 m, the seaweed never exceeded 2% day-1 and obtained null values in the summer. The concentrations of phycoerythrin (RPE) and chlorophyll (CHL a) showed maximum values in the winter and minimum values in the summer. This evolution was related to water temperature, light intensity and nitrogen content in the algal tissue. The results obtained in this study show that the water depth influenced the growth and pigment composition of G. bursa-pastoris. <![CDATA[<b>Diterpenes from marine brown alga <i>Dictyota guineensis</i> (Dictyotaceae, Phaeophyceae)</b>]]> The crude extract of the marine brown alga Dictyota guineensis was analyzed by high-resolution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HRGC-MS). Five diterpenes were identified: dictyol E (the most abundant diterpene), dictyotadiol, dictyoxide, isopachydictyol A and pachydictyol A, all diterpenes from the chemical group I, i.e., mainly prenylated derivatives of known sesquiterpene skeletons that result from a first cyclization of geranyl-geraniol between positions 1 and 10. These diterpenes are known for their activity against bacteria, fungi and other activities. The results characterize D. guineensis as a species that yields exclusively diterpenes from group I, with low oxidation and low structural complexity. On Brazilian coasts, only D. mertensii provides exclusively prenylated guaiane diterpenes. Although D. guineensis presents alternate branches and fixing by rhizoidal branches, it is easily distinguishable from D. mertensii by the much narrower stem, short stature and flabelliform habit of the former species. On the other hand, both species have been characterized as producers of diterpenes of group I, in particular, prenylated guaiane. However, D. guineensis has a majority dictyol E in the lipophilic extract, while D. mertensii produces more complex prenylated guaianes, like dictyol H. <![CDATA[<b>Inhibitory effect of a Brazilian marine brown alga <i>Spatoglossum</i><i> schröederi </i>on biological activities of <i>Lachesis</i><i> muta</i> snake venom</b>]]> The ability of crude extracts of the brown seaweed Spatoglossum schröederi to counteract some of the biological activities of Lachesis muta snake venom was evaluated. In vitro assays showed that only the extract of S. schröederi prepared in ethyl acetate was able to inhibit the clotting of fibrinogen induced by L. muta venom. On the other hand, all extracts were able to inhibit partially the hemolysis caused by venom and those prepared in dichloromethane or ethyl acetate fully neutralized the proteolysis and hemorrhage produced by the venom. Moreover, the dichloromethane or ethyl acetate extracts inhibited the hemolysis induced by an isolated phospholipase A2 from L. muta venom, called LM-PLA2-I. In contrast, the hexane extract failed to protect mice from hemorrhage or to inhibit proteolysis and clotting. These results show that the polarity of the solvent used to prepare the extracts of S. schröederi algae influenced the potency of the inhibitory effect of the biological activities induced by L. muta venom. Thus, the seaweed S. schröederi may be a promising source of natural inhibitors of the enzymes involved in biological activities of L. muta venom. <![CDATA[<b>Cultivation of the red algae <i>Kappaphycus alvarezii </i>in Brazil and its pharmacological potential</b>]]> Kappaphycus alvarezii (Rhodophyta, Gigartinales) is a red algae widely cultivated as the main source of raw material for the carrageenan industry. This hydrocolloid is normally used in the food industry as a gelling and stabilizing agent. The facility of its commercial farming based on vegetative propagation promoted the success of the aquaculture of this macroalgae that consequently stimulated studies focusing on new potential uses of this resource. This work presents a brief review of the studies related to K. alvarezii cultivation in southern and southeastern Brazil, the latest discoveries in the world concerning pharmacological studies with this species and the advantages of the use of carrageenan as a source of dietary fiber, cholesterol reducer, and antioxidant, anti-viral and anti-cancer compounds, as well as the effects in hemagglutination activity. <![CDATA[<b>Characterization of the photosynthetic conditions and pigment profiles of the colour strains of <i>Hypnea musciformis</i> from field-collected and <i>in vitro</i> cultured samples</b>]]> Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen) JV Lamour. is a species of great economic interest as it produces Κ-carrageenan and has shown biological activities against HIV and HSV viruses. This species displays different colour strains in its natural habitat, which may have implications for the biotechnological potential of the species. The aim of this study was to characterize the photosynthetic apparatus and pigment profile of three colour strains of H. musciformis (green, brown and red) in their natural habitat and in culture. Chlorophyll a fluorescence of photosystem II was measured with a pulse-amplitude modulated fluorometer and pigments were quantified by spectrofluorimetry (chlorophyll a) and spectrophotometry (phycobiliproteins). In the natural habitat, we detected significant differences between the colour strains for the following photochemical parameters: the green strain had a higher effective quantum yield (ΦPSII) than the red strain and a higher maximum relative electron transport rate (rETRmax) than the brown and red strains. Saturation irradiances were 1000 µE.m-2.s-1 (green) and 500 µE.m-2.s-1 (brown and red). Concerning in vitro culture, the green strain presented the lowest ΦPSII, rETRmax, and α rETR, while the brown strain presented the highest values for these same parameters. The chlorophyll a content of the cultured green strain was the lowest. The phycoerythrin contents of the three colour strains were unchanged by either natural of in vitro conditions: lower in green, intermediate in brown and higher in the red strain, ensuring the chromatic identity of the strains. Our results suggest that the green strain has a better performance when exposed to high irradiance, but a lower efficiency under low irradiance compared to the brown and red strains. <![CDATA[<b>Current knowledge on biotechnological interesting seaweeds from the Magellan Region, Chile</b>]]> This paper is a compilation of data from investigations made with marine benthic algae from the Magellan Region that have biotechnological utilization in human consumption or medicine or as a source of phycolloids or food supplements or animal feed. The most important Rhodophyta species are: Ahnfeltia plicata (Hudson) E.M. Fries for agarose production, Gigartina skottsbergii Setchell & N.L.Gardner for carrageenan production, and Callophyllis variegata (Bory de Saint-Vincent) Kützing for human consumption. The most important Heterokontophyta species are: Macrocystis pyrifera (L.) C. Agardh, and Durvillaea antarctica (Chamisso) Hariot for human consumption, alginate production, and as biofertilizer for agricultural crops. M. pyrifera is also used as a food supplement for salmon, chickens, quails, sheep and bovines and for biofuel production. <![CDATA[<b>Evaluation of impacts of climate change and local stressors on the biotechnological potential of marine macroalgae</b>: <b>a brief theoretical discussion of likely scenarios</b>]]> Climate change can be associated with variations in the frequency and intensity of extreme temperatures and precipitation events on the local and regional scales. Along coastal areas, flooding associated with increased occupation has seriously impacted products and services generated by marine life, in particular the biotechnological potential that macroalgae hold. Therefore, this paper analyzes the available information on the taxonomy, ecology and physiology of macroalgae and discusses the impacts of climate change and local stress on the biotechnological potential of Brazilian macroalgae. Based on data compiled from a series of floristic and ecological works, we note the disappearance in some Brazilian regions of major groups of biotechnological interest. In some cases, the introduction of exotic species has been documented, as well as expansion of the distribution range of economically important species. We also verify an increase in the similarities between the Brazilian phycogeographic provinces, although they still remain different. It is possible that these changes have resulted from the warming of South Atlantic water, as observed for its surface in southeastern Brazilian, mainly during the winter. However, unplanned urbanization of coastal areas can also produce similar biodiversity losses, which requires efforts to generate long-term temporal data on the composition, community structure and physiology of macroalgae. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of a cyanobacterial extract containing-anatoxin-a(s) on the cardiac rhythm of <i>Leurolestes circunvagans</i></b>]]> This work presents the effects of an anatoxin-a(s)-containing extract on a cockroach semi-isolated heart preparation and the results supporting the extract’s biological activity on acetylcholinesterase (purified from ell). The presence of the toxin in cyanobacterial strains Anabaena spiroides (ITEP-024, ITEP-025 and ITEP-026) isolated from the Tapacurá reservoir in Pernambuco, Brazil, was confirmed by means of liquid chromatography coupled to an ion-trap mass spectrometer. The anticholinesterase activity was assessed biochemically by the Ellman test and was confirmed by measuring the cockroach’s heart rate. The concentration of the extract containing the tested anatoxin-a(s) (antx-a(s)) (10, 16 and 100 μg.μL-1) inhibited the eel acetylcholinesterase (AChE) by more than 90%. The cockroach cardiac frequency increased by a maximum of about 20% within 29 min after the addition of 2.5x10³ μg of extract containing antxa (s).g-1 bw (n=9, p<0.05). Our results strongly indicate that antx-a(s) is capable of exerting biological effects on cockroach, indicating that more research might be conducted to determine its role in the environment, especially on insects. <![CDATA[<b>Rhodolith beds in Brazil</b>: <b>a new potential habitat for marine bioprospection</b>]]> Rhodoliths are the free-living forms of a number of nongeniculate coralline algae. Rhodolith beds are a common feature of subtidal environments and have been recognized as important carbonate producers and paleoenvironmental indicators, as well as recognized as habitat-forming species. The rhodolith structure provides a hard three-dimensional substrate serving as microhabitat for a wide range of biodiversity, including commercially importance species. The largest known latitudinal occurrence range of rhodolith beds ais on the Brazilian coastal shelf from 2°N to 25°S. Despite their importance for the Brazilian benthic communities, only in the last decade sampling efforts allowed a more comprehensive understanding of the beds' distribution, their structure and associated communities, as well as data concerning the influence of environmental factors on rhodolith bed structure and dynamics. In this work, we review the available information on the biodiversity associated with the recently described Brazilian rhodolith beds of the continental shelf and oceanic islands, focusing on the associated organisms with potential for bioprospection research. <![CDATA[<b>Anti-HSV activity of <i>Hypnea musciformis </i>cultured with different phytohormones</b>]]> Four extracts from the seaweed Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen in Jacq.) J.V. Lamour. (Rhodophyta), collected directly from its natural habitat or cultivated in the presence of phytohormones, were evaluated for their ability to inhibit the replication of acyclovir-resistant herpes simplex viruses types 1 (HSV-1) and 2 (HSV-2) strains. The main purpose was to determinate whether these growth conditions would affect the antiviral activity. Our results showed the possibility of improving the anti-HSV activity by using extracts from algae cultured in the presence of phytohormones. <![CDATA[<b>Comparative analysis of the <i>corps en cerise</i> in several species of <i>Laurencia</i> (Ceramiales, Rhodophyta) from the Atlantic Ocean</b>]]> Different species of Laurencia have proven to be a rich source of natural products yielding interesting bioactive halogenated secondary metabolites, such as terpenoids and acetogenins. It is shown that such compounds are accumulated in the spherical, reniform to claviform refractive inclusions called corps en cerise (CC), which are intensively osmiophilic and located mainly in the cortical cells of the thalli and also in trichoblast cells. Up to now, it was believed that CC were present only in these two kinds of cells. Recently, however, a species of Laurencia, L. marilzae, with CC in all cells of the thallus, i.e., cortical, medullary, including the pericentral and axial cells, as well as in the trichoblasts, was described from the Canary Islands, and subsequently also reported to Brazil and Mexico. Within the Laurencia complex, only Laurencia species produce CC. Since the species of Laurencia are targets of interest for the prospection of bioactive substances due to their potential antibacterial, antifungal, anticholinesterasic, antileishmanial, cytotoxic, and antioxidant activities, the present paper carries out a comparative analysis of the corps en cerise in several species of Laurencia from the Atlantic Ocean to obtain basic information that can support natural product bioprospection projects. Our results show that the number and size of the CC are constant within a species, independent of the geographical distribution, corroborating their use for taxonomical purposes to differentiate groups of species that present a lower number from those that have a higher number. In this regard, there was a tendency for the number of CC to be higher in some species of Laurencia from the Canary Islands. The presence of CC can also be used to distinguish species in which these organelles are present in all cells of the thallus from those in which CC are restricted to the cortical cells. Among the species analyzed, L. viridis displayed the most varied secondary metabolites composition, such as sesquiterpenes, diterpenes, triterpenes, all of which showed potent antiviral, cytotoxic, and antitumoral activities, including protein phosphatase type 2A (PP2A) inhibitory effects. <![CDATA[<b>Characterization of volatile composition of <i>Laurencia dendroidea</i> by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry</b>]]> In this study we report the characterization of the volatile compounds of Laurencia dendroidea. Solvent extracts (dichloromethane and methanol), hydrodistillation extracts and headspace solid-phase microextraction samples were obtained and analyzed by GC-MS. Forty-six volatile components were identified in L. dendroidea, among them hydrocarbons, alcohols, phenols, aldehydes, ketones, acids, esters and terpenes. <![CDATA[<b>Marine natural seaweed products as potential antiviral drugs against Bovine viral diarrhea virus </b>]]> Bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV) is an etiologic agent that causes important economic losses in the world. It is endemic in cattle herds in most parts of the world. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the in vitro cytotoxic effect and antiviral properties of several marine natural products obtained from seaweeds: the indole alkaloid caulerpin (CAV, 1) and three diterpenes: 6-hydroxydichotoma-3,14-diene-1,17-dial (DA, 2), 10,18-diacetoxy-8-hydroxy-2,6-dolabelladiene (DB1, 3) and 8,10,18-trihydroxy-2,6-dolabelladiene (DB3, 4). The screening to evaluate the cytotoxicity of compounds did not show toxic effects to MDBK cells. The antiviral activity of the compounds was measured by the inhibition of the cytopathic effect on infected cells by plaque assay (PA) and EC50 values were calculated for CAV (EC=2,0± 5.8), DA (EC 2,8± 7.7), DB1 (EC 2,0±9.7), and DB3 (EC 2,3±7.4). Acyclovir (EC50 322± 5.9) was used in all experiments as the control standard. Although the results of the antiviral activity suggest that all compounds are promising as antiviral agents against BVDV, the Selectivity Index suggests that DB1 is the safest of the compounds tested. <![CDATA[<b>Effects of temperature, salinity and irradiance on carposporeling development of <i>Hidropuntia caudata</i> (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta)</b>]]> The success of seaweed cultivation depends on the scientific control of the tolerance limits and the optimal physiological conditions that affect the spore germination and the early development of algal species. In order to establish cultivation techniques for spores of Hidropuntia caudata (J. Agardh) Gurgel & Fredericq, the effects of irradiance, salinity, and temperature on the carpospore germination and carposporeling development were evaluated under laboratory conditions. Five photon flux densities (PFD, from 18 to 200 µmol photons m-2s-1), six salinity values (from 7 to 55 psu), and four temperatures (from 20 ºC to 35 ºC) were investigated. The level of irradiance caused significant differences in the growth, in the following order: 200±5 > 100±5 <img border=0 width=32 height=32 id="_x0000_i1038" src="../../../../../../img/revistas/rbfar/2012nahead/aop08312img01.jpg">62.5±2.5 > 30±1.5 > 18±1 µmol of photons m-2s-1, but they did not inhibit the carposporeling development. Maximum growth occurred under 35 psu, while at 15 psu the formation of carposporeling erect axis was limited. The optimal temperature for growth was 25 ºC, while at 35 ºC the spores died. These results show the importance of previous knowledge on the tolerance limits and optimal conditions for sporeling development of H. caudata for the implementation of an aquaculture program. <![CDATA[<b>Algae of economic importance that accumulate cadmium and lead</b>: <b>a review </b>]]> Currently, algae and algae products are extensively applied in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries. Algae are the main organisms that take up and store heavy metals. Therefore, the use of compounds derived from algae by the pharmaceutical industry should be closely monitored for possible contamination. The pollution generated by heavy metals released by industrial and domestic sources causes serious changes in the aquatic ecosystem, resulting in a loss of biological diversity and a magnification and bioaccumulation of toxic agents in the food chain. Since algae are at the bottom of the aquatic food chain, they are the most important vector for transfer of pollution to upper levels of the trophic chain in aquatic environments. Moreover, microalgae are also used for the bioremediation of wastewater, a process that does not produce secondary pollution, that enables efficient recycling of nutrients and that generates biomass useful for the production of bioactive compounds and biofuel. <![CDATA[<b>Morphological and molecular studies on the Brazilian native red seaweed <i>Laurencia oliveirana</i> (Rhodomelaceae, Ceramiales)</b>]]> Morphological and molecular studies were carried out on Laurencia oliveirana from the type locality (Arraial do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). This species is easily recognized by its small size, sub-erect habit forming intricate cushion-like tufts and unilateral pectinate branching. The species displays all the typical characters of the genus Laurencia, such as the production of the first pericentral cell underneath the basal cell of the trichoblast, tetrasporangia produced from particular pericentral cells, with the third and fourth pericentral cells becoming fertile, without production of additional pericentral cells, spermatangial branches produced from one of two laterals on the suprabasal cell of trichoblasts, and procarp-bearing segment with five pericentral cells. Details of tetrasporangial plants and development of procarp and male plants are described for the first time for the species. The phylogenetic position of L. oliveirana was inferred by analysis of the chloroplast-encoded rbcL gene sequences from 57 taxa. In all phylogenetic analyses, L. oliveirana grouped with L. caraibica, L. caduciramulosa, L. venusta and L. natalensis, forming a monophyletic clade within the Laurencia sensu stricto. The genetic divergence between L. oliveirana and the molecularly closest species, L. caraiba collected in Brazil, was 2.3%. <![CDATA[<b>Allelopathic potential of extracts the from marine macroalga <i>Plocamium brasiliense</i> and their effects on pasture weed</b>]]> Four extracts from the marine red alga Plocamium brasiliense (Greville) M.A.Howe & W.R.Taylor were prepared to identify and characterize their potential allelopathic effects on seed germination, radicle elongation and hypocotyl development of the weeds Mimosa pudica L. and Senna obtusifolia (L.) Irwin & Barneby. The four extracts were prepared in a sequence of solvents of increasing polarity: n-hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and ethanol/water (7:3). The germination bioassay was carried out at 25 °C with a 12 h photoperiod and the radicle elongation and hypocotyl development at 25 °C with a 24 h photoperiod. The dichloromethane extract showed inhibitory effects on seed germination of both plants (35 and 14%, respectively, in M. pudica and S. obtusifolia), radical germination (52 and 41.7%, respectively) and hypocotyl development (17.1 and 25.5%, respectively). Given the high sensitivity of this parameter to the potential allelopathic effects and the insufficient number of references found in the literature, these results are expected to stimulate new tests with other species of marine algae. Given the high sensitivity of the method for the detection of allelopathic potential, the species P. brasiliense emerges as a possible source of allelopathic substances against weed species. The results are attributed to the chemical composition, especially in relation to the presence of halogenated monoterpenes. <![CDATA[<b>Comparison of extraction and transesterification methods on the determination of the fatty acid contents of three Brazilian seaweed species</b>]]> Seaweeds are photosynthetic organisms important to their ecosystem and constitute a source of compounds with several different applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and biotechnology industries, such as triacylglycerols, which can be converted to fatty acid methyl esters that make up biodiesel, an alternative source of fuel applied in economic important areas. This study evaluates the fatty acid profiles and concentrations of three Brazilian seaweed species, Hypnea musciformis (Wulfen) J.V. Lamouroux (Rhodophya), Sargassum cymosum C. Agardh (Heterokontophyta), and Ulva lactuca L. (Chlorophyta), comparing three extraction methods (Bligh & Dyer - B&D; AOAC Official Methods - AOM; and extraction with methanol and ultrasound - EMU) and two transesterification methods (7% BF3 in methanol - BF3; and 5% HCl in methanol - HCl). The fatty acid contents of the three species of seaweeds were significantly different when extracted and transesterified by the different methods. Moreover, the best method for one species was not the same for the other species. The best extraction and transesterification methods for H. musciformis, S. cymosum and U. lactuca were, respectively, AOM-HCl, B&D-BF3 and B&D-BF3/B&D-HCl. These results point to a matrix effect and the method used for the analysis of the fatty acid content of different organisms should be selected carefully. <![CDATA[<b>Caulerpin as a potential antiviral drug against herpes simplex virus type 1</b>]]> About 80% of the human adult population is infected with HSV-1. Although there are many anti-HSV-1 drugs available (acyclovir, ganciclovir, valaciclovir, foscarnet), their continuous use promotes the selection of resistant strains, mainly in ACV patients. In addition to resistance, the drugs also have toxicity, particularly when administration is prolonged. The study of new molecules isolated from green algae with potential antiviral activity represents a good opportunity for the development of antiviral drugs. Caulerpin, the major product from the marine algae Caulerpa Lamouroux (Caulerpales), is known for its biological activities such as antioxidant, antifungal, acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChE) and antibacterial activity. In this work, we show that caulerpin could be an alternative to acyclovir as an anti-HSV-1 drug that inhibits the alpha and beta phases of the replication cycle. <![CDATA[<b>Use of geographic information systems (GIS) to identify adequate sites for cultivation of the seaweed <i>Gracilaria</i><i> birdiae</i> in Rio Grande do Norte, Northeastern Brazil</b>]]> This study was designed to select potential areas for cultivation of the seaweed Gracilaria birdiae Plastino & E.C. Oliveira (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) on the coast of Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil. The Geographic Information System (GIS) and multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) were used to identify the most suitable areas. The Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) was applied to establish MCE weights, thereby generating viable areas for species cultivation. From a total of 3316.82 ha, around 53.67% (1780.06 ha) were indicated as highly suitable areas, 40.93% (1357.58 ha) as moderately suitable and 5.40% (179.18 ha) as scarcely suitable for seaweed cultivation. Seven areas (1084.62 ha) are located on the northern coast and 20 (2232.20 ha) on the eastern coast. The results show that GIS can be used as an effective instrument for selecting seaweed cultivation areas. <![CDATA[<b>Seasonal changes in the pigment composition of natural population of <i>Gracilaria domingensis</i> (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta)</b>]]> The concentrations of phycobiliproteins (phycoerythrin and phycocyanin), chlorophyll-a and total soluble proteins were determined monthly in three strains (red, green and brown) of Gracilaria domingensis (Kützing) Sonder ex Dickie, collected from natural populations on the coast of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. In all the strains, pigment and protein concentrations were higher in the months of less sunlight and greater nitrogen availability and decreased gradually with increased sunlight and decreased nutrient concentration. The red strain showed higher concentrations of phycoerythrin and total soluble proteins. The difference in the concentration of biochemical components over the course of the year indicates species acclimation to different environmental conditions. <![CDATA[<b>HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase</b>: <b>a potential target for marine products</b>]]> HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (HIV-1 RT) is a therapeutic target for the treatment of HIV-positive individuals or those already showing AIDS symptoms. In this perspective, the identification of new inhibitors for this enzyme is of great importance in view of the growing viral resistance to the existing treatments. This resistance has compromised the quality of life of those infected with multidrug-resistant strains, whose treatment options are already limited, putting at risk these individuals lives. The literature has recognized marine organisms and their products as natural sources for the identification of new therapeutic options for different pathologies. In this brief review, we consider the structure of HIV-1 RT and its most common inhibitors, as well as some marine diterpenes originally reported as HIV-1 RT inhibitors to encourage the identification and development of new marine antiviral prototypes. <![CDATA[<b>Influence of tourist activity on the diversity of seaweed from reefs in Maracajaú, Atlantic Ocean, Northeast Brazil</b>]]> The worldwide increase in recreational activities and marine tourism is reason for concern due to its impact on reef environments. In order to assess the effect of tourism on the reef area in Maracajaú (Northeast Brazil), a study was conducted based on the presence of different seaweed species. A region of intense tourist activity was chosen, and another where tourism is prohibited. Result comparison used richness (S), biomass, diversity (H), and dominance (D), as well as an analysis of similarity between samples. Both areas exhibited differences in specific composition, biomass, diversity, richness and seaweed dominance. The highest values for biomass, richness and diversity were recorded in the tourism-free region, while the greatest dominance rates were found in the area of intense tourist activity. The latter was characterized by the dominant presence of Caulerpa racemosa (Forsskål) J. Agardh (Chlorophyta) and turf algae. These characteristics are a clear indication that the reef area subject to heavy tourist activity is undergoing degradation. <![CDATA[<b>Bioprospecting for bioactives from seaweeds: potential, obstacles and alternatives </b>]]> Seaweeds are potential sources of high biotechnological interest due to production of a great diversity of compounds exhibiting a broad spectrum of biological activities. On the other hand, there is an urgent need for management options for a sustainable approach to the use of marine organisms as a source of bioactive compounds. This review discusses the bioprospection for bioactive seaweed compounds as pharmaceuticals and antifouling agents, encompassing their potential and possible obstacles and alternatives. In spite of their potential, research on pharmaceuticals and antifouling agents from seaweeds includes mainly the search for molecules that exhibit these biological activities, but lacks of consideration of fundamental and limiting aspects such as the development of alternatives to sustainable supply. However, for the complete development of pharmaceuticals and antifouling compounds in Brazil, marine bioprospection should be more comprehensive, associating the search for molecules with an analysis of their supply. In this way, it is possible to promote sustainable development and conservation of biodiversity, as well as to assert the economic development of Brazil. <![CDATA[<b>Marine natural products</b>: <b>chemical and biological potential of seaweeds and their endophytic fungi</b>]]> Marine natural products have currently been recognized as the most promising source of bioactive substances for drug discovery research. In this review, extraordinary metabolites from marine algae species are illustrated, as well as approaches for their isolation and determination of their biological properties and pharmaceutical potential. Furthermore, marine endophytic microorganisms (from marine algae) are presented as a new subject for extensive investigation to find novel natural products, which make them a potentially rich and innovative source for new drug candidates. <![CDATA[<b>Structure <i>versus</i> anticoagulant and antithrombotic actions of marine sulfated polysaccharides</b>]]> Marine sulfated polysaccharides (MSP), such as sulfated fucans (SF), sulfated galactans (SG) and glycosaminoglycans (GAG) isolated from either algae or invertebrate animals, are highly anionic polysaccharides capable of interacting with certain cationic proteins, such as (co)-factors of the coagulation cascade during clotting-inhibition processes. These molecular complexes between MSP and coagulation-related proteins might, at first glance, be assumed to be driven mostly by electrostatic interactions. However, a systematic comparison using several novel sulfated polysaccharides composed of repetitive oligosaccharides with clear sulfation patterns has shown that these molecular interactions are regulated essentially by the stereochemistry of the glycans (which depends on a conjunction of anomericity, monosaccharide, conformational preference, and glycosylation and sulfation sites), rather than just a simple consequence of their negative charge density (mainly the number of sulfate groups). Here, we present an overview of the structure-function relationships of MSP, correlating their structures with their potential anticoagulant and antithrombotic actions, since pathologies related to the cardiovascular system are one of the major causes of illness and mortality in the world.