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Marine organisms make up approximately half of the total global biodiversity, with the Mollusca containing the second largest number of species, including snails and bivalves. The marine environment is highly competitive, hostile and aggressive, which has led to the production of specific and potent bioactive compounds by the mollusca and their associated microorganisms, in a bid to protect themselves and ensure their survival. A diverse array of bioactive compounds can be isolated from the extracts of marine molluscs of which linear, cyclic, and conjugated peptides and depsipeptides form some of the most important bioactive compounds that have been well characterized and some of have already reached clinical trials or been approved for use as therapeutic agents and supplements. This review highlights some of the bioactive peptides that have been obtained from marine molluscs as well the challenges facing bioprospecting of valuable peptides from marine mollusc sources.
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