Phlorotannins from alaskan seaweed inhibit carbolytic enzyme activity

Joshua Kellogg, Mary H. Grace, Mary Ann Lila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Global incidence of type 2 diabetes has escalated over the past few decades, necessitating a continued search for natural sources of enzyme inhibitors to offset postprandial hyperglycemia. The objective of this study was to evaluate coastal Alaskan seaweed inhibition of α-glucosidase and α-amylase, two carbolytic enzymes involved in serum glucose regulation. Of the six species initially screened, the brown seaweeds Fucus distichus and Alaria marginata possessed the strongest inhibitory effects. F. distichus fractions were potent mixed-mode inhibitors of α-glucosidase and α-amylase, with IC50 values of 0.89 and 13.9 ?g/mL, respectively; significantly more efficacious than the pharmaceutical acarbose (IC50 of 112.0 and 137.8 ?g/mL, respectively). The activity of F. distichus fractions was associated with phlorotannin oligomers. Normal-phase liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (NPLC-MS) was employed to characterize individual oligomers. Accurate masses and fragmentation patterns confirmed the presence of fucophloroethol structures with degrees of polymerization from 3 to 18 monomer units. These findings suggest that coastal Alaskan seaweeds are sources of α-glucosidase and α-amylase inhibitory phlorotannins, and thus have potential to limit the release of sugar from carbohydrates and thus alleviate postprandial hyperglycemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5277-5294
Number of pages18
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 22 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Alaska
  • Amylase
  • Diabetes
  • Ethnopharmacology
  • Glucosidase
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Phlorotannin
  • Polyphenol
  • Seaweed
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery


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