Two discrete immunomodulating fractions were obtained from marine algae (Porphyra yezoensis): one was the Porphyra water-soluble fraction (PWSF) which was extracted with hot water from the whole body of algae, and the other was the Porphyra acid-soluble fraction (PASF) which was extracted with acid from the residue. The major constituent in both PWSF and PASF was a polysaccharide, the total sugar concentration in PWSF (56.4%) being lower than that in PASF (82.2%). The high contents of 3,6-anhydrogalactose and sulfate indicated the porphyran structure in PWSF and PASF. The results of an in vitro culture assay with proteose peptone-induced macrophages from mice revealed the PWSF and PASF both enhanced glucose consumption, as well as the production of nitrite and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), but that these were increased more by PWSF than by PASF. PWSF augmented IL-I secretion from these macrophages, while PASF did not. On the other hand, the carbon clearance activity of phagocytes from mice injected intraperitoneally with PASF was higher than that from PWSF-injected mice. The injection of PASF into mice also enhanced the carbon clearance activity in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that the two individual fractions possessed the ability to activate macrophages in vitro and in vivo in different ways.