World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Fucus vesiculosus


Fucus vesiculosus

Fucus vesiculosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Chromalveolata
Phylum: Heterokontophyta
Class: Phaeophyceae
Order: Fucales
Family: Fucaceae
Genus: Fucus
Species: F. vesiculosus
Binomial name
Fucus vesiculosus
Close-up of bladder wrack's eponymous vesicles

Fucus vesiculosus, known by the common name bladder wrack or bladderwrack, is a seaweed found on the coasts of the North Sea, the western Baltic Sea, and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, also known by the common names black tang, rockweed, bladder fucus, sea oak, black tany, cut weed, dyers fucus, red fucus, and rock wrack. It was the original source of iodine, discovered in 1811, and was used extensively to treat goitre, a swelling of the thyroid gland related to iodine deficiency.


  • Description 1
  • Distribution 2
  • Ecology 3
  • Biology 4
  • Consumption 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The fronds of F. vesiculosus have a prominent midrib and almost spherical air bladders which are usually paired but may be absent in young plants. The margin is smooth and the frond is dichotomously branched. It is sometimes confused with Fucus spiralis with which it hybridises.[1]


Fucus vesiculosus is the most common algae on the shores of the British Isles.[2] It has been recorded from the Atlantic shores of Europe, Northern Russia, the Baltic Sea, Greenland, Azores, Canary Islands, Morocco and Madeira.[3][4] It is also found on the Atlantic coast of North America from Ellesmere Island, Hudson Bay to North Carolina.[5]


The species is especially common on sheltered shores from the middle littoral to lower Spirorbis spirorbis, herbivorous isopods, such as Idotea and surface grazing snails such as Littorina obtusata.[1] Phlorotannins in Fucus vesiculosus act as chemical defences against the marine herbivorous snail Littorina littorea.[7] Nevertheless, galactolipids, rather than phlorotannins, act as herbivore deterrents in this species against the sea urchin Arbacia punctulata.[8] Methyl-jasmonate may induce the phlorotannins production.[9] Fucophlorethol A is a type of phlorotannin found in F. vesiculosus.[10]


Plants of F. vesiculosus are dioecious. Gametes are generally released into the seawater under calm conditions and the eggs are fertilised externally to produce a zygote.[1] Eggs are fertilised shortly after being released from the receptacle. A study on the coast of Maine showed that there was 100% fertilisation at both exposed and sheltered sites.[1] Continuously submerged populations in the Baltic Sea are very responsive to turbulent conditions. High fertilisation success is achieved because the gametes are only released when water velocities are low.[11]


Primary chemical constituents of this organism include mucilage, algin, mannitol, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, iodine, bromine, potassium, volatile oils, and many other minerals.

Some people may suffer an allergic reaction to the iodine in bladder wrack.[12]

Medical use.

Recently the researchers found that an extract of Fucus vesiculosus, which is a type of seaweed, promotes the contraction of fibroblast-populated collagen gels through increased expression of integrin molecules. In this study, they investigated the effects of topical application of an aqueous extract of this alga on the thickness and the mechanical properties of human skin. A gel formulation that included 1% of the extract was applied topically to human cheek skin twice daily for five weeks. A significant decrease in skin thickness measured by B-mode ultrasound was elicited, as was a significant improvement in elasticity measured with a Cutometer as compared with controls. In cheek skin, the thickness normally increases and the elasticity usually decreases with age. These results suggest that the Fucus vesiculosus extract possesses anti-aging activities and should be useful for a variety of cosmetics. [13]


  1. ^ a b c d Nicola White (2008). "Fucus vesiculosus"Bladder wrack – .  
  2. ^ F. G. Hardy & M. D. Guiry (2003). A Check-list and Atlas of the Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland (PDF). London: British Phycological Society.  
  3. ^ M. D. Guiry & Wendy Guiry (January 12, 2007). Linnaeus"Fucus vesiculosus".  
  4. ^ Charlotta A. Nygård & Matthew J. Dring (2008). "Influence of salinity, temperature, dissolved inorganic carbon and nutrient concentration on the photosynthesis and growth of Fucus vesiculosus from the Baltic an Irish Seas".  
  5. ^ a b W. R. Taylor (1957). Marine Algae of the Northeastern Coast of North America.  
  6. ^ C. S. Lobban & P. J. Harrison (1994). Seaweed Ecology and Physiology.  
  7. ^ J. A. Geiselman & O. J. McConnell (1981). "Polyphenols in brown algae Fucus vesiculosus and Ascophyllum nodosum: chemical defenses against the marine herbivorous snail, Littorina littorea".  
  8. ^ Michael S. Deal, Mark E. Hay, Dean Wilson & William Fenical (2003). "Galactolipids rather than phlorotannins as herbivore deterrents in the brown seaweed Fucus vesiculosus".  
  9. ^ Thomas M. Arnold, Nancy M. Targett, Christopher E. Tanner, Walter I. Hatch & Kirstin E. Ferrari (2001). "Evidence for methyl jasmonate-induced phlorotannin production in Fucus vesiculosus (Phaeophyceae)".  
  10. ^ Sabine Parys, Stefan Kehraus, Anja Krick, Karl-Werner Glombitza, Shmuel Carmeli, Karin Klimo, Clarissa Gerhäuser & Gabriele M. König (2010). "In vitro chemopreventive potential of fucophlorethols from the brown alga Fucus vesiculosus L. by anti-oxidant activity and inhibition of selected cytochrome P450 enzymes".  
  11. ^ E. A. Serrao, G. Pearson, L. Kautsky & S. H. Brawley (1996). "Successful external fertilization in turbulent environments".  
  12. ^ "Bladderwrack".  
  13. ^ Fujimura T1, Tsukahara K, Moriwaki S, Kitahara T, Sano T, Takema Y.. J Cosmet Sci. 2002 Jan-Feb;53(1):1-9, "Treatment of human skin with an extract of Fucus vesiculosus changes its thickness and mechanical properties."

External links

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons
  • F. Bunker. Linnaeus Le Jolis"Fucus vesiculosus". British Isles Seaweed Images. 
  • M. D. Guiry. Linnaeus"Fucus vesiculosus". North Atlantic Seaweeds. 
  • )"Fucus vesiculosus"Bladder wrack (.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.