Carrageenans biosynthesized by carposporophytes of red seaweeds Gigartina skottsbergii (Gigartinaceae) and Gymnogongrus torulosus (Phyllophoraceae)

José Manuel Estevez, Marina Ciancia, Alberto Saúl Cerezo

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Carrageenans biosynthesized by gametophytic and tetrasporic plants of seaweeds belonging to the Gigartinaceae and Phyllophoraceae are different: gametophytes produce carrageenans of the kappa family, whereas lambda-carrageenans are extracted from tetrasporophytes. For Gigartina skottsbergii Setchell and Gardner and Gymnogongrus torulosus Hooker et Harvey, mature cystocarps were isolated and carrageenans were extracted. Structural determination by methylation analysis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and 13C-NMR spectroscopy showed that they were kappa/iota-carrageenans. For the extract obtained from cystocarps of Gigartina skottsbergii with water at room temperature, the ratio kappa:iota was 1:0.30 and at 90°C was 1:0.43; significant amounts of precursors were also present. The extract obtained from cystocarps of Gymnogongrus torulosus at 90°C showed prevalence of iota-carrageenans (ratio kappa:iota 1:1.21). These extracts are similar to the polysaccharides produced by gametophytes of these seaweeds. For Gigartina skottsbergii, it was possible to separate the pericarpic tissue from the carposporophyte. Thus, they were extracted separately, and the carrageenans isolated were studied as described before, obtaining similar conclusions. These results clearly show that whereas the carposporophytes are located inside the cystocarp, they produce carrageenans of the kappa family despite of being diploid cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-350
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Carposporophyte
  • Carrageenan structure
  • Cystocarps
  • Gametophyte
  • Gigartina skottsbergii (Gigartinaceae)
  • Gymnogongrus torulosus (Phyllophoraceae)
  • Kappa/iota-carrageenan
  • Lambda-carrageenan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science

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