Structural description

Spirulan (mostly found in its calcium form) is an acidic sulfated polysaccharide extracted from Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) which is a multicellular, filamentous cyanobacterium, belonging to a blue-green alga of Cyanobacteria.

Spirulan is a sulfated polysaccharide which consists of two types of disaccharide repeating units, O-hexuronosylrhamnose (aldobiuronic acid) and O-rhamnosyl-3-O-methylrhamnose (acofriose) with sulfate groups substituting rhamnose and O-methyl rhamnose at respectively C2 and C4 position, other minor saccharides and sodium ions.

Activities and Uses

Spirulina contains much good-quality protein as well as carotenoids, vitamins, and minerals. It has received attention as a most promising and highly nutritious food source (dietary supplement). It has exhibited various biological activities such as lowering plasma cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Calcium Spirulan is a potent inhibitor of thrombin through heparin cofactor II (Y. Hayakawa et al., 1997.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1355; 241–247) and is thought to enhance antiviral and anti-coagulation effects (J.-B. Lee et al., 2007. Carbohydrate Polymers 69; 651–658).

à Recommended paper: J. Yasuhara-Bell, Y. Lu., 2010. Antiviral Research, 86, 231–240.