Technological watch

“Neptune Balls” Polysaccharides: Disentangling the Wiry Seagrass Detritus

Each year, high amounts of dead seagrass material are washed ashore at beaches world-wide. In the Mediterranean region, the seagrass Posidonia oceanica is responsible for huge agglomerates of ball-like seagrass litter. As these are often removed due to touristic reasons, a reuse method would be a step towards a more ecologically oriented society. In this study, the main polysaccharide components were analyzed, in order to propose possible usage options. To do this, different aqueous fractions were extracted, analyzed by classical carbohydrate analysis methods (GC-FID/MS, colorimetric assay and elemental analysis), and purified by ion-exchange chromatography, as well as selective precipitation with a detecting agent for highly glycosylated glycoproteins. The obtained purified fractions were analyzed in detail and a linkage-type analysis of the most promising extract was conducted via permethylation. Only low amounts of glycoproteins, as well as medium amounts of the characteristic apiogalacturonan were likely to be present, while xylan seemed to be the most abundant polysaccharide in most fractions. A partial structural proposal showed general accordance with land plant xylans, presenting reuse options in the field of biofuel and bioplastic generation.

Publication date: 07/12/2021

Author: Lukas Pfeifer

Reference: doi: 10.3390/polym13244285

MDPI (polymers)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.