Biological activities of purified marennine, the blue pigment responsible for the greening of oysters

R. Gastineau, J. Pouvreau, Claire Hellio, M. Morancais, J. Fleurence, P. Gaudin, N. Bourgougnon, J. Mouget

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marennine, the blue pigment produced by the diatom Haslea ostrearia, exists in two different forms, the intra- and extracellular forms. We investigated the antibacterial, antiviral, and antiproliferative properties of both of these forms. Both forms of marennine inhibited the development of marine bacteria, in particular the pathogenic organism Vibrio aesturianus, at concentrations as low as 1 μg/mL, but they did not display any effect on a wide range of pathogenic bacteria that are relevant for food safety. Both forms of the pigment produced by H. ostrearia also exhibited antiviral activity against the HSV1 herpes virus, with intra- and extracellular marennine having EC50 values of 24.0 and 27.0 μg/mL, respectively. These values are 2 orders of magnitude higher than the value for the reference drug, Zovirax. Moreover, both forms of marennine were effective in slowing or inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells. This study confirms the potential of marennine as a biologically active organic molecule, which could have a protective effect on bivalves, which filter seawater and fix the pigment on their gills. Moreover, marennine could be used in food engineering and chemistry as a natural blue pigment. However, despite that it is eaten and possibly assimilated by green oyster consumers, it also deserves in depth evaluation before being considered for use as a nutraceutical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3599-3605
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2012


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