Seaweeds are extensively used as food by coastal people, particularly in East Asia, e.g. Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan,Thailand, and Vietnam, but also in Indonesia, Belize, Peru, the Canadian Maritimes, Scandinavia, Ireland, Wales,Philippines, and Scotland, among other places. Tiwi, Albay residents discovered a new pancit or noodles made fromseaweed, which has health benefits. It is rich in calcium and magnesium and the seaweed noodles can be cooked into pancit canton, pancit luglug, spaghetti or carbonara.Seaweeds are also harvested or cultivated for the extraction of alginate, agar and carrageenan, gelatinous substancescollectively known as hydrocolloids or phycocolloids. Hydrocolloids have attained commercial significance, especially infood production as food additives. The food industry exploits the gelling, water-retention, emulsifying and other physical properties of these hydrocolloids. Agar is used in foods such as confectionery, meats and poultry products, desserts and beverages and moulded foods. Carrageenan is used in preparation of salad dressings and sauces, dietetic foods, and as a preservative in meat and fish products, dairy items and baked goods. Alginates enjoy many of the same uses ascarrageenan, but are also used in production of industrial products such as paper coatings, adhesives, dyes, gels,explosives and in processes such as paper sizing, textile printing, hydro-mulching and drilling.
In the biomedicine and pharmaceutical industries, alginates are used in wound dressings, and production of dental mouldsand have a host of other applications. In microbiology research, agar is extensively used as culture medium. Carrageenans,alginates and agaroses (the latter are prepared from agar by purification), together with other lesser-known macroalgal polysaccharides, also have several important biological activities or applications in biomedicine.Seaweed is also a known source of iodine, an element necessary for thyroid function with deficiencies leading to goitre. Ithas been asserted that seaweeds may have curative properties for tuberculosis, arthritis, colds and influenza, worminfestations and even tumors. [dubious – discuss] A number of research studies have been conducted to investigate theseclaims and other effects of seaweed on human health
Other seaweeds may be used as seaweed fertilizer. Seaweed is currently being researched as a potential source of biofuelin the form of bioethanol. Seaweed is also an ingredient in some toothpaste, cosmetics and paints.
Groups of Multicellular Algae
Phaeophyceae: Brown Algae
Examples: Laminaria and Saccharina, Fucus, Sargassum muticumThe brown colour of these algae results from the dominance of the xanthophyll pigment fucoxanthin, which masks theother pigments, Chlorophyll a and c (no Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and other xanthophylls. Food reserves are typicallycomplex polysaccharides, sugars and higher alcohols. The principal carbohydrate reserve is laminaran, and true starch isabsent (compare with the green algae). The walls are made of cellulose and alginic acid, a long-chainedheteropolysaccharide.There are no known unicellular or colonial representatives; the simplest plant form is a branched, filamentous thallus. Thekelps are the largest (up to 70 m long) and perhaps the most complex brown algae, and they are the only algae known tohave internal tissue differentiation into conducting tissue; there is, however, no true xylem tissue as found in the 'higher' plants.There are about 1800 species of brown algae, and most are marine. In general, brown algae are larger and more speciesare found in colder waters. Virtually all the biomass worldwide comes from a relatively small number of species in theorders Laminariales and Fucales. The total wholesale value of dried brown algae worldwide collected in the wild or cultivated is less than $100 million dollars.
Chlorophyta: Green Algae
Examples: Chlamydomonas, Spirogyra, Ulva.