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Hijiki or Sargassum fusiforme is a brown seaweed with several stipes arising from common holdfast area. These form the main axes of the plant from which short branches of variable sizes grow in whorls. The yellow-brown color of the alga turns to nearly black when dried. Here we will provide you nutrition facts and other helpful information about this seaweed.

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    Sargassum fusiforme (Hijiki)

    Hijiki or Sargassum fusiforme is a brown seaweed with several stipes arising from common holdfast area. These form the main axes of the plant from which short branches of variable sizes grow in whorls. The yellow-brown color of the alga turns to nearly black when dried. Here we will provide you nutrition facts and other helpful information about this seaweed.

    1. fusiforme is found growing attached to rocky substrate on coastlines of Japan, Korea and China. It is often torn loose by waves and released to a free-floating form. Large Sargassum beds, including S. fusiforme find their way to the Sargasso Sea of the Atlantic Ocean.

    Protein: 8.85%

    Carbohydrates: 90.71%

    Lipid: 0.0204%

    Beta-carotene: 201.47 IU/100 mg

    Total phenol: 74.97 ppm


    According to Zou at al, hijiki is known for rich mineral content, high in calcium, iodine and magnesium.


    Katayama at al from the Osaka Aoyama University conducted a study on iron and magnesium accumulation in growing hijiki plants.


    Jin at al characterized laminaran and a highly sulfated polysaccharide derived from S. fusiforme.


    Wu at al established a highly sensitive method for characterizing the monosaccharide composition of polysaccharides in S. fusiforme. Mannose, glucose, galactose, xylose, fucose and glucuronic acid or galacturonic acid, or both uronic acids were detected.


    Han at al investigated hexabromocyclodecane diasteroisomers in S. fusiforme. Various extraction methods were compared under various conditions. Those included ultrasonic-assisted extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, Soxhlet extraction and pressurized liquid extraction.


    Xiao at al developed a rapid method for the separation and purification of fucoxanthin from brown algae, including S. fuciforme by microwave-assisted extraction coupled with high speed countercurrent chromatography. The purity of the obtained fucoxanthin determined by HPLC was over 90%.


    Potential therapeutic applications

    Researchers from Albany Medical College and other associated institutions isolated a S. fuciforme fraction promising to be a potent and specific inhibitor of HIV-1 fusion and reverse transcriptase. An Open Access article under the Creative Commons Attribution License was published by Paskaleva at al in 2008. The results pointed to at least two distinct and biologically active molecules contained within the isolated SP-4 fraction. One inhibits HIV-1 fusion by interacting with CD4 receptor, the other directly inhibits HIV-1 RT. The scientists proposed that S. fusiforme is a lead candidate for anti HIV-1 drug development. http://www.virologyj.com/content/5/1/8

    A prior publication by Paskaleva at al (2006) reported S. fusiforme extract to be a potent inhibitor of highly productive HIV-1 infection and replication in T-cells, in primary human macrophages, microglia and astrocytes. 



    A study published in 2014 by Paskaleva at al determined Palmitic Acid (PA) derived from S. fusiforme to specifically inhibit HIV entry by binding to a novel pocket on the CD4 receptor. A structural analog was also identified as a more effective HIV entry inhibitor with a 20-fold increase in efficacy. The PA derivative is undergoing pre-clinical screening in the drug development process.


    A Chinese study (2014) published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed a phytosterol derived from S. fusiforme to be a natural cholesterol lowering agent.


    Chen at al evaluated in vivo and in vitro anti-tumor potential of S. fusiforme derived polysaccharide isolated by hot water extraction and ethanol precipitation. The orally administered polysaccharide improved the immune response in tumor bearing mice. Anti-tumor properties of the compound were also demonstrated in vitro.


    A Chinese study by Liang at al revealed that S. fusiforme polysaccharides induced apoptosis and inhibited proliferation of HL-60 human promyeloid leukemia cells. The results were dose and time dependent. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15259985

    Cong at al isolated and structurally characterized an alginate fraction from S. fusiforme. Biological activity of the alginate and its sulfated derivative were examined. The sulfated derivative exhibited strong anti-angiogenic effect. Anti-tumor activity was observed both in the native and derivative alginate.


    In a study by Ji at al, polysaccharides from S. fusiforme induced human gastric cancer cell line SGC 7901 apoptosis via a mitochondrial-mediated pathway. The authors suggested that that the results might point toward an agent for cancer treatment. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24212007

    A Korean study by Jang and Joo examined the effect of S. fusiforme ethanol extract and fractions obtained from ethyl acetate on hair re-growth in mice. Positive results were shown both in vivo (dose > 20 mg/kg) and in vitro models.


    Jin at al demonstrated neuroprotective effects of heteropolysaccharides from S. fusiforme, although the mechanism wasn’t clear. 


    Wang at al investigated antioxidant activities and intestinal functions of polysaccharides extracted from S. fusifirme (SFP) in normal and cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppressed mice. Various doses of SFP were used. The results showed that administration of SFP was able to overcome the immunosuppression, and significantly increased the spleen index and antioxidant activities in mice.


    A Japanese study by Okai at al demonstrated a significant immunomodulating activity in hot water soluble extract of edible hijiki when administered to mice. The polysaccharide fraction of the extract had a much higher activity than the one containing no polysaccharides.


    A publication by Koyama discussing the inhibitory activity of marine algae against osteoclast differentiation indicates that an extract of S. fusiforme had been shown to exhibit anti-osteoporosis activity. The extract suppressed both osteoclast differentiation and accelerated osteoclast formation in separate in vitro experiments. It also showed anti-osteoporosis activity in ovariectomized mice by regulating the balance between bone resorption and bone formation.


    1. fusiforme has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It is said to aid in skin and hair health and prevent anemia. The high iodine content also makes it ideal for fighting goiter.

    The alga is enjoyed as part of Asian cuisine for its nutty flavor.

    Although, the UK Food Standards Agency and its counterparts in other countries have warned consumers not to eat hijiki because of its inorganic arsenic content. In a study published in 2012 by Yokoi and Konomi, dietary exposure to hijiki in rats was examined. Diet supplemented with 3% (w/w) hijiki powder for 7 weeks led to a marked accumulation of arsenic in blood and tissue and to abnormalities consistent with arsenic poisoning. Further investigation was suggested.


    A Chinese study aiming at heavy metal risk assessment found no dangerous levels of heavy metals in S. fuciforme.

    The function of Sargassum fusiforme extract CAS No. 223751-79-9 is listed as skin protecting on the Ingredients of Cosmetics list.

     Water soluble polysaccharide extract (light yellow powder) sold for the following applications:

    1. Medical 

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