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Abstract

Marine microalgae comprise a large number of polyketides and terpenes identified to date with highly diverse molecular scaffolds and the biological activities (Kalaitzis et al., 2010). These compounds play significant roles in marine food web and nutraceutical supplementation in marine animals. Compounds of this class are often synthesized by gene clusters with dedicated domains responsible for carbon chain extension and modification. The unique molecular structure of these compounds encourages people to investigate their biosynthetic mechanisms in-depth. In this review, we summarize relevant articles to unravel the shared mechanisms of these compounds to further understand the variety of domain organizations and the subsequent impact on the carbon chain diversity. In addition, the ecological role of these compounds and their modes of distribution in natural sea water is also discussed. We expect this study to bring multifaceted aspects regarding the assemblage and the ecological function of these secondary metabolites and to provide information to those who wish to obtain further understanding in these compounds whose structure and ecological function remain underexplored.

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