Patarra, R.F., Iha, C., Pereira, L. & Neto, A.I. (2020) Concise review of biological data on Pterocladiella capillacea (S.G. Gmelin) Santelices & Hommersand.Journal of Applied Phycology, 32, 787-808. DOI:10.1007/s10811-019-02009-y (IF2020 3,215; Q1 Marine & Freshwater Biology)
Pterocladiella capillacea is a well-known source of high quality bacteriological and pharmaceutical grade agar and agarose, being economically exploited in few countries. From current knowledge all raw material is collected from wild populations that are being overharvested. This resulted in a biomass shortage, and consequently the wholesale prices peaked in the last years and the future of this industry is uncertain. It is also recognized that, to date, there is not any known commercial cultivation of this species, mostly due to its slow growth. Ecologically, P. capillacea fronds act as nurseries and as a macroalgal habitat for several marine invertebrates and are an “hot spot” for opportunistic bacteria. In addition, algal fronds or parts of them are directly used as food by several marine grazers (e.g. turtles, fishes, gastropods and sea urchins). The present work compiles and updates the published information on P. capillacea biology, ecology and biotechnological potential and presents a concise review on the species distribution, morphology, anatomy, ecology, life history, productivity, effect of ecological determinants, wild and cultured stocks, harvesting and utilization.