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Marine algae synthesize secondary metabolites such as polyphenols that function as defense and protection mechanisms. Among brown algae, Fucales and Dictyotales (Phaeophyceae) contain the highest levels of phenolic compounds, mainly phlorotannins, that play multiple roles. Four temperate brown algae (Cystoseira amentacea, Cystoseira compressa, Dictyopteris polypodioides and Padina pavonica) were studied for total phenolic contents. Total phenolic content was determined colorimetrically with the Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. Significant differences in total phenolic content were observed between leathery and sheetlike algae and also within each morphological group. Among the four species, the sheet-like alga D. polypodioides, living in the upper infralittoral zone, showed the highest concentration of phenolic compounds. These results are in agreement with the hypothesis that total phenolic content in temperate brown algae is influenced by a combination of several factors, such as growth form, depth, and exposition to solar radiation.
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