Halogens in seaweeds: Biological and Environmental Significance

Hanan Al-Adilah, Martin C. Feiters, Lucy J. Carpenter, Puja Kumari, Carl J. Carrano, Dhia Al-Bader, Frithjof Kuepper* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

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Many marine algae are strong accumulators of halogens. Commercial iodine production started by burning seaweeds in the 19th century. The high iodine content of certain seaweeds has potential pharmaceutical and nutritional applications. While the metabolism of iodine in brown algae is linked to oxidative metabolism, with iodide serving the function of an inorganic antioxidant protecting the cell and thallus surface against reactive oxygen species with implications for at-mospheric and marine chemistry, rather little is known about the regulation and homoeostasis of other halogens in seaweeds in general and the ecological and biological role of marine algal halogenated metabolites (except for organohalogen secondary metabolites). The present review covers these areas, including the significance of seaweed-derived halogens and of halogens in general in the context of human diet and physiology. Furthermore, understanding interactions between halogenated compound production by algae and the environment, including anthro-pogenic impacts, effects on the ozone layer and global climate change, are reviewed together with the production of halogenated natural products by seaweeds and the potential of seaweeds as bioindicators for halogen radionuclides.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132–171
Number of pages40
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgments: We are grateful to the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) for PhD 1129 funding for Hanan Al-Adilah and to the European Commission for a Marie Curie International In- 1130 coming Fellowship (Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme of the European Union un- 1131
der the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 839151) to Puja Kumari. We would equally 1132 like to thank the UK Natural Environment Research Council for their support to FCK (program 1133 Oceans 2025 – WP 4.5 and grants NE/D521522/1 and NE/J023094/1) and LJC (grant NE/N009983/1). 1134
This work also received support from the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland 1135 pooling initiative. MASTS is funded by the Scottish Funding Council (grant reference HR09011) and 1136 contributing institutions. MCF, FCK and HAA thank the Lorentz Center (funded by the Netherlands 1137
Organization for Scientific Research, NWO, and the University of Leiden) for the organization of 1138 the workshop ‘IODINE: Biogeochemical Cycle of Iodine and Human Health’ (Oct. 4-6, 2017) which 1139 partly inspired this review. LJC acknowledges funding from the European Research Council (ERC) 1140
under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme (project O3-SML; grant agreement no. 1141 833290).


  • bromine
  • chlorine
  • fluorine
  • marine algae
  • halogens
  • iodine
  • ozone


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