What is fucoidan?


Fucoidans occur naturally in the cell walls of brown seaweeds. They function to protect the plant from water-borne pathogens and other environmental challenges. Fucoidans are long chain polysaccharides characterised by a complex molecular structure and varying degrees of sulfation and acetylation.

How are fucoidans different?

Not all fucoidans are the same. They are a class of natural compounds that have been widely researched and shown to exert beneficial bioactivities in a range of human health settings. Research conducted by Marinova has confirmed that fucoidan bioactivity is dependent upon two key factors:

  • The method of extraction; and
  • The seaweed species from which it has been derived.

These two factors are the ultimate determinants of efficacy. Traditional methods of extraction compromise the integrity and functionality of the resulting fucoidan. In contrast, our solvent-free Maritech® process yields natural extracts of superior quality with enhanced bioactivity.

Which species of seaweed are used by Marinova?

Marinova extracts fucoidan from two species of brown seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida and Fucus vesiculosus. Fucoidan derived from both Undaria and Fucus seaweeds has been extensively researched and clinically tested. It is for this reason that the company places its scientific research and manufacturing focus on these two species.

Underwater Undaria pinnatifida

Undaria pinnatifida, commonly known as wakame, is a brown seaweed that inhabits the intertidal zone down to depths of approximately 20 metres. It is typically found in sheltered reef areas with conditions such as temperature, available nutrients, light and depth all being important variables in the plants life cycle. Sporophytes produce up to 100 million spores which then settle and grow into new plants. Undaria plants can reach approximately 2m in length in less than one year and growth rates can be up to 1cm per day – making the species a rapidly renewable marine resource. Read more about Marinova’s use of Undaria pinnatifida.

Fucus vesiculosus floating on ocean surface

Fucus vesiculosus is a brown seaweed typically found along sheltered coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. Commonly known as bladderwrack, Fucus vesiculosus plants are known for their branching fronds with prominent midrib and conspicuous bladder-like floats. These almost-spherical air sacs support the plant to float high in the water, ensuring access to ample sunlight for photosynthesis. When conditions are favourable, Fucus can occur in high densities, forming a dense carpet on the shoreline. Read more about Marinova’s use of Fucus vesiculosus.