Harmful or harmless: biological effects of marennine on marine organisms

Marennine is a water-soluble blue-green pigment produced by the marine diatom Haslea ostrearia. The diatom and its pigment are well known from oyster farming areas as the source of the greening of oyster gills, a natural process increasing their market value in Western France. Blooms of blue Haslea are also present outside oyster ponds and hence marine organisms can be exposed, periodically and locally, to significant amounts of marennine in natural environments. Due to its demonstrated antibacterial activities against marine pathogenic bacteria (e.g. Vibrio) and possible prophylactic effects toward bivalve larvae, marennine is of special interest for the aquaculture industry, especially bivalve hatcheries. The present study aimed to provide new insights into the effects of marennine on a large spectrum of marine organisms belonging to different phyla, including species of aquaculture interest and organisms frequently employed in standardised ecotoxicological assays. Different active solutions containing marennine were tested: partially purified Extracellular Marennine (EMn), and concentrated solutions of marennine present in H. ostrearia culture supernatant; the Blue Water (BW) and a new process called Concentrated Supernatant (CS). Biological effects were meanwhile demonstrated in invertebrate species for the three marennine-based solutions at the highest concentrations tested (e.g., decrease of fertilization success, delay of embryonic developmental stages or larval mortality). Exposure to low concentrations did not impact larval survival or development and even tended to enhance larval physiological state. Furthermore, no effects of marennine were observed on the fish gill cell line tested. Marennine could be viewed as a Jekyll and Hyde molecule, which possibly affects the earliest stages of development of some organisms but with no direct impacts on adults. Our results emphasize the need to determine dosages that optimize beneficial effects and critical concentrations not to be exceeded before considering the use of marennine in bivalve or fish hatcheries.


Diatom, Haslea ostrearia, Marennine, Marine organisms, Natural bioactive compound

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Falaise Charlotte, Cormier Patrick, Tremblay Réjean, Audet Céline, Deschênes Jean-Sébastien, Turcotte François, François Cyrille, Seger Andreas, Hallegraeff Gustaaf, Lindquist Niels, Sirjacobs Damien, Gobert Sylvie, Lejeune Pierre, Demoulin Vincent, Mouget Jean-Luc (2019). Harmful or harmless: biological effects of marennine on marine organisms. Aquatic Toxicology. 209. 13-25. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.aquatox.2019.01.016, https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00477/58887/

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