Controlling seaweed biology, physiology and metabolic traits in production for commercially relevant bioactives in glycobiology
This review considers a plethora of multidisciplinary literature relating to seaweeds and their bioactive metabolites. Rather than providing another stocktake of the diverse metabolites and applications, we undertake a meta-analysis of the status and direction of research and development towards biological applications. Of significance is that for health and medical applications specifically, the dominant focus remains on the unique and abundant sulfated polysaccharides. However, there is a shift from the historical publications that emerged during the development of the hydrocolloid industry in the last century. Recent development focuses on the huge diversity of these metabolites across more species and at finer structural scale. This is concurrent with the frontier of research in glycobiology where sulfated polysaccharide macromolecules are shown to have specific and important biological activities related to key molecular traits. Phycologists, biochemists, chemical engineers and health and medical researchers will build the teams that can deliver production and consistency of these complex molecules.