Agar oligosaccharides: A review of preparation, structures, bioactivities and application

Carbohydr Polym. 2021 Aug 1:265:118076. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.118076. Epub 2021 Apr 14.


Agar, a gelatinous polysaccharide which is in the cell wall of many red algae, is widely used as food and gelling agent. Agar oligosaccharides (AOs), the hydrolysate of agar, show much more kinds of bio-activities because of its lower molecular weight, better water solubility and higher absorption efficiency. It is indicated that AOs with different structure and degree of polymerization, i.e. series of agaro-oligosaccharides and neoagaro-oligosaccharides, can be obtained under different preparation conditions. In addition, the biological activities of AOs are diversely and closely correlated to the composition and structure. This review aims to comprehensively summarize the preparation, structural characteristics and bio-activities of AOs, so as to provide a reference for applications of AOs as marine natural products in pharmacological, cosmetics and nutraceutical fields.

Keywords: Agar oligosaccharides; Application; Bioactivity; Preparation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agar / chemistry*
  • Agar / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Cosmetics
  • Food Industry
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Molecular Weight
  • Oligosaccharides / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Rhodophyta
  • Seaweed / chemistry
  • Solubility


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cosmetics
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Agar