In Vitro Prebiotic and Anti-Colon Cancer Activities of Agar-Derived Sugars from Red Seaweeds

Eun Ju Yun, Sora Yu, Young-Ah Kim, Jing-Jing Liu, Nam Joo Kang, Yong-Su Jin, Kyoung Heon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Numerous health benefits of diets containing red seaweeds or agar-derived sugar mixtures produced by enzymatic or acid hydrolysis of agar have been reported. However, among various agar-derived sugars, the key components that confer health-beneficial effects, such as prebiotic and anti-colon cancer activities, remain unclear. Here, we prepared various agar-derived sugars by multiple enzymatic reactions using an endo-type and an exo-type of β-agarase and a neoagarobiose hydrolase and tested their in vitro prebiotic and anti-colon cancer activities. Among various agar-derived sugars, agarotriose exhibited prebiotic activity that was verified based on the fermentability of agarotriose by probiotic bifidobacteria. Furthermore, we demonstrated the anti-colon cancer activity of 3,6-anhydro-l-galactose, which significantly inhibited the proliferation of human colon cancer cells and induced their apoptosis. Our results provide crucial information regarding the key compounds derived from red seaweeds that confer beneficial health effects, including prebiotic and anti-colon cancer activities, to the host.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • red seaweeds
  • anti-colon cancer activity
  • prebiotics
  • 3,6-anhydro-l-galactose
  • agarotriose
  • agarose

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