Aplicaciones farmacológicas y alimentarias de la microalga extremófila Coccomyxa onubensis

  1. Alberto Toimil García
Supervised by:
  1. Francisco Juan Navarro Roldán Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Year of defence: 2021

  1. José María Vega Piqueres Chair
  2. Carlos Vílchez Lobato Secretary
  3. Miguel Ángel Castaño López Committee member

Type: Thesis


Microalgae are considered interesting natural sources of high value added molecules, many of which exhibit biological activity with applications in human health, working for instance as anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral and antibiotic. In this Doctoral Thesis, the antimicrobial capacity of some extracts obtained from the microalgae Coccomyxa onubensis (C. onubensis), an extremophilic microorganism isolated on the basis of acid drains of the Rio Tinto’s mining area (Huelva, Spain) have been evaluated. Likewise, the biomass of this microalgae has also been studied by our research group, being found to be rich in proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, antioxidants and vitamins, so it has been suggested the possibility of its use as food for animals. Our obtained results show for the first time that an acidophilic microalga is able to produce compounds with antibacterial activity and that the biosynthesis of such compounds can be carried out under very low pH conditions and in a highly oxidative environment, under which, the life is barely possible. Regarding its application, as a nutritional supplement, all the results obtained support the idea that the biomass of C. onubensis can be a safe supplement in the diet and that it has the adequate nutritional properties of functional foods, highlighting its content in antioxidants compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, tannins and carotenoids, and in polyunsaturated fatty acids. In this sense, we have been able to experimentally verify in Long Evans rats, that the addition of C. onubensis powder (6.25% by weight) to a high-fat diet has a protective effect on cardiovascular risk. Therefore, C. onubensis biomass may be suitable both directly, as a functional feed for animals, or as a natural source of nutraceutical and pharmacological compounds.