Cleaning up the beaches at Cuncum, Gulf of Mexico



AUGUST 2022 - Climate change is causing misery in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, with the Sargasso Sea producing colossal sargassum blooms of 22 millions tons this year, an increase over 18 million tons in 2021. It would take a fleet of 300 specially adapted SeaVax machines, operating at a speed of one load per hour, to deal with such quantities. Clearly, that is not going to happen, where (by way of example) the world would not pay to clean the ocean of plastic, using equivalent fleets. The only sparkle on the brown tinged horizon is that sargassum can be a cash crop. Even so, the sums being bandied about don't come close to managing this crisis.





Sargassum has been at crisis levels for several years, but only recently have the Island nations affected by what amounts to a plague, put that stamp on the problem. Island Nations dependent on tourist dollars, to include the Gulf of Mexico coastal towns and cities, have been hit with beaches of decomposing sargassum, smelling of rotten eggs, attracting flies, causing ecological mayhem and potential health hazards. Hardly alluring for holiday makers, as they book their hotels in a formerly paradise location.


With an efficient method of harvesting the floating seaweed, there is potential to turn a nuisance into opportunity, such as in cancer research.

Sargassum also helps in controlling cancer. It helps in the proliferation of anaplastic cells in the body. Acts as anti-coagulant property: It also helps in preventing coagulation as it helps in stopping blood from clotting. Maintains sugar levels in the body: Sargassum also helps in maintaining sugar levels in the body. When we add seaweed to our diet, it helps in improving blood sugar levels in our body. Sargassum has different nutrients like essential amino acids, minerals, carbohydrates, protein, cellulose, vitamins, carotenoids, and fatty acids. This nutrient supports antioxidant and antibacterial properties.



The most effective antitumor activity has been shown at concentrations 500 microg/ml and 400 microg/ml of the alga extract against Daudi and K562 cell lines, respectively. The results showed that the extracts of brown alga Sargassum oligocystum have remarkable antitumor activity against K562 and Daudi cell lines. It is justified to be suggested for further research such as algal extract fractionation and purification and in vivo studies in order to formulate natural compounds with antitumor activities.




The Journal of Plant Medicines - Seaweeds for fighting cancer





Seaweed extract inhibits cancer growth

Several recent international studies have illustrated that seaweeds and their extracts may have the capability of inhibiting and even treating cancer. Seaweed therapy may even outperform chemotherapy.

Tumor growth halted by seaweed

The most recent study, from Brazil’s Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, found that two fractionated polysaccharides from the seaweed species Sargassum vulgare inhibited the process of tumor angiogenesis – more specifically a tumor’s development and maintenance of blood vessels in order to grow. They also found that the two constituents inhibited the growth of the HeLa human cancer cell line.

The HeLa is a cell line derived from 'Henrietta Lacks,' a young woman who died with cervical cancer in 1951.

This result is boosted by another recent study from scientists from Malaysia’s University Putra. This study utilized the edible red seaweed species Eucheuma cottonii. The researchers found that an extract of this seaweed was more effective at preventing the spread of breast cancer among rats than tamoxifen.

The treatment also resulted in no negative side effects and no toxicity to the liver or kidneys – only one of the negative side effects of chemotherapy drug tomoxifen.


Carotenoids from seaweed


In February, researchers from Japan’s Red Cross Kyoto Daiichi Hospital reported that zeaxanthin – along with other seaweed carotenoids – reduces colorectal cancer incidence among Japanese adults.

In this study 893 adults were tested along with having colorectal endoscopy. Men who had higher circulating levels of zeaxanthin had a third less incidence of colorectal cancer and half the incidence of polyps than those who had less zeaxanthin levels.

Plant-based Diets Reduce Cancer and Heart Disease Deaths

Among women, those who ate more seaweed had more than a 75% reduction in colorectal cancer incidence.

Fucoidan and cancer

Research from Japan’s Kyushu University confirmed that when human breast cancer cells (MDA-MB-231 cell line) were treated with fucoidan – a constituent of brown seaweeds – the cancer growth was inhibited through multiple processes.

Among these processes were the stimulation of caspase activity. Caspases are enzymes that are dormant until triggered into activity. When they are triggered, some can exert cell death among cancer cells, as took place following fucoidan treatment.

Another effect of fucoidan found in this study was its ability to alter the membranes of cancer cell mitochondria – changing the ion exchange through the membrane. This serves, along with the release of cytochrome c and Bcl-2 proteins, to contribute to cancer cell death as well.

Research from South Korea’s College of Veterinary Medicine found that fucoidan inhibited the metastasizing of the A549 human lung cancer cell line. The A549 human lung cancer cell line is one of the most aggressive forms of lung cancer. The mechanism seen in this study was that the fucoidan decreased the MMP-2 activity of the cancer cells. As MMP-2 activity is directly linked to caspase enzymes, this confirms the Kyushu University research noted above.

The researchers concluded: “Fucoidan can be considered as a potential therapeutic reagent against the metastasis of invasive human lung cancer cells.”

Seaweed and gastric cancer

Other recent studies have shown that seaweeds and their extracts inhibit gastric cancer and several others. Research from the Science University of Tokyo found seaweed extracts inhibited five different human cancer cell lines.

Research also confirms that seaweeds have incredible free radical scavenger abilities. A study from Denmark’s National Food Institute and the Technical University of Denmark tested extracts of 16 different seaweed species from the Danish coastlines for free radical scavenging, and found their phenolic content and sulphated polysaccharide content enabled them to produce significant antioxidation and radical-scavenging effects.

This has been confirmed by research from Hilo’s College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawaii. The researchers are studying the anticancer effects of seaweeds, and finding that phenolic compounds such as phlorotannins and bromophenols, along with their fucoxanthin content contributes to an antioxidant effect that appears to help prevent different forms of cancer.


Dore CM, Alves MG, Santos ND, Cruz AK, Câmara RB, Castro AJ, Alves LG, Nader HB, Leite EL. Antiangiogenic activity and direct antitumor effect from sulfated polysaccharide isolated from seaweed. Microvasc Res. 2013 Mar 15.

Shamsabadi FT, Khoddami A, Fard SG, Abdullah R, Othman HH, Mohamed S. Comparison of Tamoxifen with Edible Seaweed (Eucheuma cottonii L.) Extract in Suppressing Breast Tumor. Nutr Cancer. 2013 Feb;65(2):255-62.

Sabeena Farvin KH, Jacobsen C. Phenolic compounds and antioxidant activities of selected species of seaweeds from Danish coast. Food Chem. 2013 Jun 1;138(2-3):1670-81.

Park EJ, Pezzuto JM. Antioxidant Marine Products in Cancer Chemoprevention. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Mar 19.

Zhang Z, Teruya K, Eto H, Shirahata S. Induction of Apoptosis by Low-Molecular-Weight Fucoidan through Calcium- and Caspase-Dependent Mitochondrial Pathways in MDA-MB-231 Breast Cancer Cells. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2013;77(2):235-42.

Okuyama Y, Ozasa K, Oki K, Nishino H, Fujimoto S, Watanabe Y. Inverse associations between serum concentrations of zeaxanthin and other carotenoids and colorectal neoplasm in Japanese. Int J Clin Oncol. 2013 Feb 5.

This Type of Saturated Fat Fuels Cancer Growth 

Wang R, Paul VJ, Luesch H. Seaweed extracts and unsaturated fatty acid constituents from the green alga Ulva lactuca as activators of the cytoprotective Nrf2-ARE pathway. Free Radic Biol Med. 2013 Apr;57:141-53.

Lee H, Kim JS, Kim E. 

Fucoidan from seaweed Fucus vesiculosus inhibits lung cancer cell via PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathways. PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e50624.

Zhang RL, Luo WD, Bi TN, Zhou SK. Evaluation of antioxidant and immunity-enhancing activities of Sargassum pallidum aqueous extract in gastric cancer rats. Molecules. 2012 Jul 11;17(7):8419-29.

D’Orazio N, Gemello E, Gammone MA, de Girolamo M, Ficoneri C, Riccioni G. Fucoxantin: a treasure from the sea. Mar Drugs. 2012 Mar;10(3):604-16.

Myobatake Y, Takeuchi T, Kuramochi K, Kuriyama I, Ishido T, Hirano K, Sugawara F, Yoshida H, Mizushina Y. Pinophilins A and B, inhibitors of mammalian A-, B-, and Y-family DNA polymerases and human cancer cell proliferation. J Nat Prod. 2012 Feb 24;75(2):135-41.

Case Adams, PhD - Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner, California Naturopath. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact:

In vitro study of antibacterial activity of the alga Sargassum oligocystum from the Persian Gulf. Tajbakhsh S, Pouyan M, Zandi K, Bahramian P, Sartavi K, Fouladvand M, Asayesh G, Barazesh A. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2011 Mar;15(3):293-8.
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In vitro evaluation of the new anticancer agents KT6149, MX-2, SM5887, menogaril, and liblomycin using cisplatin- or adriamycin-resistant human cancer cell lines. Ohe Y, Nakagawa K, Fujiwara Y, Sasaki Y, Minato K, Bungo M, Niimi S, Horichi N, Fukuda M, Saijo N. Cancer Res. 1989 Aug 1;49(15):4098-102. PMID: 2472873


In vitro cancer chemopreventive properties of polysaccharide extract from the brown alga, Sargassum latifolium.
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Antitumor activity of polyphenolic extract of Ichnocarpus frutescens. Kumarappan CT, Mandal SC. Exp Oncol. 2007 Jun;29(2):94-101. PMID: 17704739


Antitumor activity of extracts and compounds from the skin of the toad Bufo bufo gargarizans Cantor. Qi F, Li A, Inagaki Y, Kokudo N, Tamura S, Nakata M, Tang W. Int Immunopharmacol. 2011 Mar;11(3):342-9. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2010.12.007. Epub 2010 Dec 24. PMID: 21185919 Review.


See all similar articles Cited by Pharmacological and natural products diversity of the brown algae genus Sargassum.


Rushdi MI, Abdel-Rahman IAM, Saber H, Attia EZ, Abdelraheem WM, Madkour HA, Hassan HM, Elmaidomy AH, Abdelmohsen UR.
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HPLC-DAD Based Polyphenolic Profiling and Evaluation of Pharmacological Attributes of Putranjiva roxburghii Wall.
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Phytosterols in Seaweeds: An Overview on Biosynthesis to Biomedical Applications. Sohn SI, Rathinapriya P, Balaji S, Jaya Balan D, Swetha TK, Durgadevi R, Alagulakshmi S, Singaraj P, Pandian S. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Nov 24;22(23):12691. doi: 10.3390/ijms222312691. PMID: 34884496


The Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Neuroinflammatory Effects of Sargassum horneri by Heme Oxygenase-1 Induction in BV2 and HT22 Cells. Ko W, Lee H, Kim N, Jo HG, Woo ER, Lee K, Han YS, Park SR, Ahn G, Cheong SH, Lee DS. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 May 27;10(6):859. doi: 10.3390/antiox10060859. PMID: 34071911

Bioactive Metabolites from Marine Algae as Potent Pharmacophores against Oxidative Stress-Associated Human Diseases: A Comprehensive Review. Pradhan B, Nayak R, Patra S, Jit BP, Ragusa A, Jena M. Molecules. 2020 Dec 23;26(1):37. doi: 10.3390/molecules26010037. PMID: 33374738 



Different minerals like calcium, zinc, phosphorus, sodium, copper, etc are the main nutritive constituents of the body. The daily intake of iron, zinc helps in controlling anemia, high menstrual loss, and pregnancy.

Sargassum also contains amino acids like arginine, leucine, valine, tryptophan, lysine, etc.

Sargassum is enriched with vitamins. Different vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K help in different ways. It may help in maintaining healthy bones, tissues, eye health, and healthy skin. 

Managed effectively, it may be possible to reduce the negative impact of sargassum and even benefit from this environmental nuisance.






SeaVax-Calypso™  &  AmphiMax-Calypso™                    SeaVax-Sargasso™  &   AmphiMax-Sargasso






While 2020 was relatively mild in terms of sargassum volumes, and a global pandemic became the overarching worry, 2018 was record breaking in terms of sargassum volumes reaching Caribbean shores and 2019 was also significant.


Floating sargassum should not be construed as negative in and of itself – it is beneficial at sea, mainly as a unique pelagic habitat. 

However, the mass stranding of sargassum on coastlines has significant negative impacts (biophysical and socio-economic), particularly on coastal communities and livelihoods, public health, tourism and fisheries. This issue therefore represents an 
emerging hazard for a region that is already subject to numerous hazards. Indeed, various countries in the Caribbean have declared national states of emergency with respect to sargassum influxes (Desrochers et al. 2020).

The issue is however not confined to the Caribbean Sea, but it extends across the Tropical Atlantic, including equatorial Brazil as well as coastal West Africa from Sierra Leone through the Gulf of Guinea. Sargassum influxes are very much a multi-regional transboundary issue, demanding coordination and collaboration within and across impacted regions. 


A secondary, avoidable negative impact of the influxes relates to the use of heavy machinery to remove massive Sargassum landings, which impacts beach habitats and tend to worsen the environmental harm. The use of heavy machinery causes compaction of beaches and kills organisms that live in the sand, such as ghost crabs and other sea creatures that keep a beach healthy by creating hundreds of holes that keep the beach ventilated. Driving with heavy equipment will not only crush them, but also kills any potential sea turtle nests. Another impact is the removal of vast quantities of sand, resulting in unintentional sand mining, and ends up affecting the entire beach ecosystem.


Sargassum influxes negatively impact human well-being, activities, and livelihoods as well as major sectors of Caribbean Economies. Key sectors impacted include: coastal living and livelihoods, marine transport/ navigation, public health, fisheries and tourism. These impacts are inter-related, with many stemming from one of the key drivers of biophysical impacts – the decay of the sargassum biomass. 


The production of hydrogen sulphide negatively impacts air quality, results in very unpleasant odours, and prolonged exposure is unhealthy, especially for persons with underlying respiratory conditions. This is detrimental for coastal residents and beach users, whether local or visitors. Beach users who live elsewhere have the option to avoid impacted locations, while residents may be unable to avoid prolonged exposure. 


Large quantities of sargassum also spoil the aesthetic appeal of Caribbean beaches, and inhibit access to nearshore waters. Both issues affect residents, local beach users and tourists, while the latter particularly impacts those whose livelihoods rely on the sea, such as fishers who may need to access the water to access their equipment and/or livelihood.


When stranded in coastal areas, the sargassum itself dies, and many of the negative impacts originate with its decay. Given the scale and extent of the negative impacts these influx events may be characterized as a recurring hazard. The unprecedented scale of the Sargassum influxes also led to declaration of emergency conditions in several Caribbean countries e.g. Tobago in 2015, Barbados in 2018, and Mexico in 2019 (Chavez et al. 2020).









OCEAN CLEANING DRONE - As seen above, SeaVax is not suitable for harvesting sargassum in voluminous quantities. But the concept, or the equivalent, may be adapted (or specialliy developed) for the task. You'd still need autonomous fleet control, satellite comms and ocean current geodata, solar assistance and a capacious holding tank. But, the harvesting mechanics are different, as is the pickup head and transfer arrangements. Also assuming 24 hour operations, and factory ships to treat the recovered asset, for distribution across the globe. Then there is carbon sequestration. But who would pay for that? Nobody in power - that's for sure. It's all about the money for them- and they want a free lunch!


It would take a fleet of 300 specially adapted SeaVax machines, operating at a speed of one load per hour, to deal with 22 million tons of biological material. From our experience where we asked for funding to clean the ocean of plastic, it will be a massive uphill struggle - with fruitless lobbying efforts - to match the non-progress at Climate Conferences (FLOPS). It will take a working lifetime, unless, the problem becomes so great, that government react as if they were at war. And it is a war. Make no mistake. It's a struggle for the survival of our great grand children. We cannot stop our children suffering, because of corruption and irresponsible fossil fuel companies. We are too late for that, but with more Great Thunberg's, we might save the human race.


The sparkle on the newly brown tinged horizon is that sargassum can be a cash crop. Even so, the sums being bandied about don't come close to managing this crisis. What they need is a miracle, dealing with the root cause, which is warming of the oceans from climate change. Sadly, the cure for rising sea temperates is a million miles away, with present G20 policy stagnation - that stinks - like the hydrogen sulfide from rotting seaweed.






 Cuba 11,252,999 
 Haiti 11,263,077 (Hispaniola)
 Dominican Republic 10,766,998 (Hispaniola)
 Puerto Rico (US) 3,508,000 
 Jamaica 2,729,000 
 Trinidad and Tobago 1,357,000
 Guadeloupe (France) 405,000 
 Martinique (France) 383,000 
 Bahamas 379,000
10 Barbados 283,000
11 Saint Lucia 172,000 
12 Curaçao (Netherlands) 157,000
13 Aruba (Netherlands) 110,000 
14 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 110,000 
15 United States Virgin Islands 105,000 
16 Grenada 104,000 
17 Antigua and Barbuda 89,000 
18 Dominica 71,000
19 Cayman Islands (UK) 59,000 
20 Saint Kitts and Nevis 46,000 
21 Sint Maarten (Netherlands) 39,000 
22 Turks and Caicos Islands (UK) 37,000 
23 Saint Martin (France) 36,000 
24 British Virgin Islands (UK) 31,000 
25 Caribbean Netherlands 26,000 
26 Anguilla (UK) 14,000 
27 Saint Barthélemy (France) 10,000 
28 Montserrat (UK) 5,000

29 Tortuga 25,936

30 Roatán 110,000










Governments might revise their policies, to most urgently curb global warming, hence ocean temperature rises that are causing the sargassum crisis. The is the root cause of the problem. Cleaning up the excess from the oceans and seas, is retrospective handling. That, unfortunately, it seems we will be lumbered with for at least 50 years hence.











JVH2 - Jules Verne Hydrogen Trophy - World Hydrogen Challenge












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