Marine organisms with fast growth rates and great biological adaptive capacity might have biotechnological interests, since ecological competitiveness might rely on enhanced physiological or biochemical processes' capability promoting protection, defense, or repair intracellular damages. The invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea, a non-indigenous species widespread in the Mediterranean Sea, belongs to this category. This is the premise to investigate the biotechnological interest of this species. In this study, we investigated the antioxidant activity in vitro, both in scavenging reactive oxygen species and in repairing damages from oxidative stress on the fibroblast human cell line WI-38. Together with the biochemical analysis, the antioxidant activity was characterized by the study of the expression of oxidative stress gene in WI-38 cells in presence or absence of the H. stipulacea extract. Concomitantly, the pigment pool of the extracts, as well as their macromolecular composition was characterized. This study was done separately on mature and young leaves. Results indicated that mature leaves exerted a great activity in scavenging reactive oxygen species and repairing damages from oxidative stress in the WI-38 cell line. This activity was paralleled to an enhanced carotenoids content in the mature leaf extracts and a higher carbohydrate contribution to organic matter. Our results suggest a potential of the old leaves of H. stipulacea as oxidative stress damage protecting or repair agents in fibroblast cell lines. This study paves the way to transmute the invasive H. stipulacea environmental threat in goods for human health.
Keywords: carotenoids; oxidative stress; repair activity; scavenging effect; seagrass.