Sterols are secondary metabolites, they are considered bioactive, due to their recognized activity as antioxidants, anticarcinogenic, cardiovascular protectors, and antiviral capacity. These triterpenoids can be found in a wide range of concentrations in different algae strains, being the variations related to external factors. In the world, there are millions of algae, some strains have the ability to produce high-value phytosterols, like stigmasterol, and sitosterol, however, others could lead to cholesterol production. For this reason, understand the principal factors involved in sterols biosynthesis, allows us to appoint the algae strain for industrial application and escalating these specific compounds production. Some algae are capable to produce sterols from mevalonic acid pathway, other strains present the methylerythritol 4-phosphate (MEP), or 1-deoxy-D-xylulose-5-phosphate (DOXP) as the main pathway, each one is responsible for the production of plans of intermediary compounds. In this sense, this chapter summarizes current knowledge of the biosynthetic pathways responsible for different sterols formation, as well as, describe main sterols that could be isolated from algae metabolism.
Part of the book: Bioactive Compounds