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 Other Activities of Caulerpa Preparations

 Other Activities of Caulerpa Preparations

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Chemopreventive effect of C. prolifera extract against aflatoxin B1-initiated

hepatotoxicity in female rats was investigated by Abdel-Wahhab et al. (2006).

Sivasankari et al. (2006) proposed Caulerpa chemnitzia as a seaweed liquid

fertiliser, since its positive effects on growth and biochemical constituents of Vigna

sinensis were observed. Cavas et al. (2007) confirmed that C. racemosa could also

be used as a biostimulator for the growth of Phaselus vulgaris seedlings. It might

be speculated that this effect is due to the pigment caulerpin, which has been previously identified from Caulerpa spp. (Maiti et al., 1978). Root growth assays with

pure caulerpin gave essentially the same results as assays with the known plant

growth promotor indole-3-acetic acid (IAA). The pigment resembles structurally

this plant hormone and might thus mimic its activity (Raub et al., 1987).

In vitro nematicidal activities from C. racemosa, C. scalpelliformis and

C. taxifolia were reported by Rizvi and Shameel (2006).

Paul and de Nys (2008) studied the possible use of Caulerpa species bioremediation in an integrated plant−animal tropical aquaculture. Marine macroalgae with

high growth rates can effectively strip nutrients from marine aquaculture effluent.

Because Caulerpa spp., as bloom-forming green tide algae, have high growth rates

and are free floating, these seaweeds offer to be an excellent option for culture

in settlement ponds, the most common bioremediation infrastructure in tropical

aquaculture. Especially, since certain isolates of C. racemosa are consumed by

humans as ‘sea grape’, it can be speculated that one aquaculture might provide two

commercially interesting products – fish and edible algae. This would maximise

profit and simultaneously reduce pollutants (Paul and de Nys, 2008).

The radical-scavenging and reducing ability of C. lentillifera and C. racemosa

extracts were showed by Matanjun et al. (2008).

According to a recent study (Cengiz et al., 2008), a dried and powdered form of

C. racemosa was proposed to be used as a low-cost immobilisation agent for bovine

serum albumin, which is a model protein for protein immobilisation studies.

8. Patents

Several patents on Caulerpa preparations, extracts and purified metabolites have

been approved, illustrating the high potential of these green seaweeds as resources

for commercially attractive products. These include patents on cosmetics like hair

treatment agents, plant growth regulators or medicinal applications. Here, for

example, treatments of inflammation, diabetes or retardation of cardiovascular

disorders based on Caulerpa spp.-derived products have been claimed.

9. Conclusion

Exotic Caulerpa species, C. taxifolia and C. racemosa, have spread rapidly in the

Mediterranean Sea. So far, no valid eradication method has been developed and

the amount of biomass currently found in the Mediterranean suggests that a



mechanical eradication is out of reach. The extensive body of literature reviewed

here makes it evident that these species could be exploited in many biotechnological and medical purposes. Exploitation of this resource might be interesting

owing to the apparent nearly unlimited supply. A targeted economic development

of these Caulerpa species from the Mediterranean might thus lead to a control of

the spread.

10. Summary

The genus Caulerpa contains over 75 marine green algal species found in temperate

and tropical waters. This genus has recently attracted much attention because of

two invasive members, Caulerpa taxifolia and C. racemosa var. cylindracea, which

occur in the Mediterranean Sea. These species have covered the sub-littoral habitats along vast coastal stretches of the Mediterranean Sea. Several often costly

and unsuccessful efforts have been undertaken to control this invasion by mechanical

or chemical eradication. In parallel, scientists have focused on exploitable traits

that can be derived from these algae. Commercial products from these algae might

motivate a control of the invasion by harvesting efforts. In this chapter, we focus

on the properties of crude extracts as well as purified metabolites of Caulerpa sp.

and their potential for commercial exploitation.

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Biodata of Klaus Konrad Klostermaier, author of “Ecology, Science and


Klaus Konrad Klostermaier, F.R.S.C., is University Distinguished Professor

Emeritus (1999) at the University of Manitoba. He obtained a Dr. Phil. in

Philosophy in 1961 from the Gregorian University, Rome, and a Ph.D. in Ancient

Indian History and Culture from the University of Bombay (now Mumbai)

in 1969. He joined the Department of Religion at the University of Manitoba

(Canada) in 1970 and held the headship from 1986 to 1997. His areas of research

and teaching are history of religions, especially Indian religions, and science and

religion. Among his major publications are Mythologies and Philosophies of Salvation in the Theistic Traditions of India, Wilfrid Laurier University Press (1984),

A Survey of Hinduism, State University of New York Press (1989, 1994, and 2007),

Buddhism: A Short Introduction, Oneworld Oxford (1999 and 2001), Hinduism:

A Short History, Oneworld Oxford (2000), The Nature of Nature: Explorations in

Science, Philosophy and Religion, Theosophical Publishing House Adyar, Madras

2004. He continues to write and to teach at the University of Manitoba.

E-mail: kklostr@cc.umanitoba.ca


A. Israel et al. (eds.), Seaweeds and their Role in Globally Changing Environments,

Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology 15, 401–421

DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-8569-6_23, © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010



Department of Religion, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg,

MB, R3T 2N2, Canada

1. Religious Roots of the Ecological Crisis?

No less an authority than world historian Arnold J. Toynbee identified in a paper in

the International Journal of Environmental Studies “monotheism” as the root cause

of our environmental crisis. Referring specifically to Genesis I, 28 [“Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish in the sea, the bird of

heaven and all living animals on earth” (The Jerusalem Bible, p. 6)]. Toynbee not

only questioned the right of humans to use and abuse the earth but also challenged

the authority of the one who supposedly had given this command, asking: “Has

nature no rights against this autocratic creator and against man, God’s aggressive

licensee?” Recalling ancient European traditions of nature worship, he concluded:

“Monotheism, as enunciated in the Book of Genesis, has removed the age-old

restraint that was once placed on man’s greed by his awe. This primitive inhibition

has been removed by the rise and spread of monotheism.” Eastern religions, like the

pre-Christian European, “counsel man even when he is applying his human science

to coax nature into bestowing her bounty on man” (Toynbee, 1971, p. 141).

Toynbee’s charge expanded and sharpened a thesis proposed in 1967 by Lynn

White Jr., a historian of mediaeval technology. White had called Christianity

“the most anthropocentric religion the world has ever seen,” through whose influence “the old inhibitions to the exploitation of nature crumbled” and suggested –

paradoxically – to name Francis of Assisi the patron saint of environmentalists

(White, 1967).

In response to accusations like these, a great number of monographs and

learned papers were published, not only defending “monotheism” by offering

alternative interpretations of Genesis I, 28, but also highlighting the ecological

potential of the world’s religions. A series of major conferences were convened at

Harvard University in the 1990s, whose proceedings appeared in a series of ten

impressive volumes published by Harvard University Press under the title

Religions of the World and Ecology, covering virtually every living religion from

tribal traditions to Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, Taoism, Shinto, Confucianism,

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Out of these conferences developed the

International Forum on Religion and Ecology, co-chaired by John Grim and Mary

Evelyn Tucker, editors of several of the volumes in the series.




Harold Coward, Director of the Center for Studies in Religion and Society

at Victoria University, B.C., arranged in 1993 a high-powered workshop at

Chateau Whistler, B.C., where religion scholars interacted with specialists from

various sciences and economists to address questions of (over-)population,

resource consumption, and the environment (Coward, 1995).

The environment was also a central topic at the 1993 meeting of the World

Parliament of Religions in 1993, where Hans Küng tabled a document on Global

Ethic and Responsibility (Küng, 1991).

As far as literature is concerned, the Internet offers numerous bibliographies

on Religion and Ecology in general as well as more specific ones, such as Hinduism

and the Environment (Noyce, 2002). The Oxford Handbook of Religion and

Ecology (Gottlieb, 2006) is a useful one-volume reference work for the field.

If Toynbee and White had identified the Abrahamic religions as the root of

the world’s ecological crisis, Anil Agarwal, an Indian engineer turned journalist

and ecological activist, made Hinduism, India’s majority tradition, responsible

for India’s ecological malaise. “Hinduism,” he says, “is a highly individualistic

religion: the primary concern is to do one’s own dharma for the sake of one’s own

well-being. Under the onslaught of modern-day secularism this has brought out

the worst type of individualism in Hinduism” (Agarwal, 2000, p. 165).

Going one step further, W. Ophuls sees the ecological crisis as “primarily a

moral crisis in which the ugliness and destruction outside in our environment

simply mirror the spiritual wasteland within.” And “the sickness of the earth

reflects the sickness of the soul in modern industrial man, whose life is given over

to gain, to the disease of endless getting and spending” (Ophuls, 1992).

2. The Ambiguity of Religions

David Kinsley’s Ecology and Religion – a widely used text for university

courses – juxtaposes chapters on “Christianity as Ecologically Harmful” and

“Christianity as Ecologically Responsible,” illustrating the ambiguous record

of Christianity with regard to its attitude toward nature: on the one side extolling

the greatness of nature as God’s handiwork and on the other condemning nature

as the source of humankind’s downfall. A similar ambiguity can also be found in

all other major traditions. None of the ancient religions directly addressed ecological issues or the need to protect the natural environment from human interference: all of them were built around other core concerns.

The “Abrahamic religions” are focused on God and salvation, sin and atonement. The Decalogue, the source of all Judeo–Christian ethics, is concerned with

the majesty of God and interhuman relations: it does not contain any “ecological

commandment.” The Hebrew Bible condemns the worship of nature deities practiced by the people of Canaan. Paul, the most influential voice in early Christianity,

held the whole of nature mortally afflicted with Adam’s “original sin,” and “groaning to be redeemed” by Christ. The writers of the Gospels saw the proof of Jesus’

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