The use of invasive algae species as a source of secondary metabolites and biological activities: Spain as case-study.
In the recent decades, algae have proven to be a source of different bioactive compounds with biological activities, which has increased the potential application of these organisms in food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical, animal feed, and other industrial sectors. On the other hand, there is a growing interest in developing effective strategies for control and/or eradication of invasive algae since they have a negative impact on marine ecosystems and in the economy of the affected zones. However, the application of control measures is usually time and resource-consuming and not profitable. Considering this context, the valorization of invasive algae species as a source of bioactive compounds for industrial applications could be a suitable strategy to reduce their population, obtaining both environmental and economic benefits. To carry out this practice, it is necessary to evaluate the chemical and the nutritional composition of the algae as well as the most efficient methods of extracting the compounds of interest. In the case of northwest Spain, five algae species are considered invasive: Asparagopsis armata, Codium fragile, Gracilaria vermiculophylla, Sargassum muticum, and Grateulopia turuturu. This review presents a brief description of their main bioactive compounds, biological activities, and extraction systems employed for their recovery. In addition, evidence of their beneficial properties and the possibility of use them as supplement in diets of aquaculture animals was collected to illustrate one of their possible applications.