Padina pavonica

Padina pavonica is an algae belonging to the brown algae (Ochrophytas), which is distributed by the warm and tropical seas (from the Atlantic, through the Mediterranean, to the Black Sea), where we can find it associated with rocky bottom and very well illuminated. In certain places, Padina pavonica forms dense extensions formed by a multitude of individuals.

Padina pavonica is characterized by a fan shape made up of erect thaluses of between 5 and 10 cm in height, formed by wide sheets that at the most distal end are rolled up into a trumpet shape. In a concentric way, we can observe whitish striations due to the partial calcification of this species. The surface of the sheets is characterized by having some small dark hairs, arranged in concentric horizontal rows. On these concentric bands formed by the hairs, in the summer months appear the reproductive structures, which will be responsible for releasing spores to the current. At the opposite end, the specimens have a series of rhizoids that are born from the base of the specimen, which allows them to fix themselves to the substrate.

The consistency of the alga Padina pavonica is rigid, largely due to calcium carbonate deposits. These deposits also determine the general coloring of the algae, which is whitish-yellowish. In general, it is a very robust species, which tolerates very well the heating of the waters in which it lives, as well as solar overexposure. However, it is extremely prone to damage from variations in water levels, withstanding only very brief emersions in time.

In certain areas, such as Tunisia and Malta, the Padina pavonica algae is cultivated. The crops obtained from this algae are later used to make extracts for cosmetic use. There are several scientific publications in which the role of diverse compounds present in the extracts of this algae has been studied thanks to their cytotoxic capacities.