Microalga: Chubu University, Tokai University, Tohoku University School of Medicine and DENSO Corporation have found that monogalactosyl diacylglyceride (MGDG), a component contained in the chloroplasts of a microalga called Coccomyxa sp. KJ(1), has a virucidal effect(2) against COVID-19.
Coccomyxa sp. KJ is a fast-growing, vigorous, and easy-to-cultivate microalga. The plant contains not only abundant nutrients, including vitamins and amino acids, but also unique characteristics, such as suppressing an increase in the bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Moreover, in 2019, it was found that MGDG contained in Coccomyxa sp. KJ breaks the envelope membranes(3) of herpesviruses and has a virucidal effect against the viruses.
Recently, the three universities and DENSO discovered that MGDG contained in Coccomyxa sp. KJ also has a virucidal effect against COVID-19. The group will also research whether this microalga MGDG has a virucidal effect against influenza viruses, human coronaviruses, and other viruses with envelope membranes other than herpesviruses and COVID-19.
The results of the research may lead to the development of products that effectively counter COVID-19 and other viruses. The three universities and DENSO will continue to conduct this research to expand the scope of measures for preventing infectious diseases to contribute to society.
As an academia-industry collaboration project with the grant number JPMJTR204H, the research was conducted with support from the Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-driven R&D (A-STEP) funded by the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).
1) Coccomyxa sp. KJ is a registered trademark of DENSO Corporation. This microalga was developed by DENSO jointly with Kyoto University. “Stories,” one of the DENSO-owned media, also features the plant: bit.ly/3JDGt38
(2) Virucidal effect means destroying the ability of viruses to infect cells.
(3) Envelope membranes are found in virus particles.