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Seaweed is a loose colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae.

The term includes


some members of the red, brown and green algae. Seaweeds can also be classified by use (as food, medicine, fertilizer,
industrial, etc.).

Most people know two general categories of seaweeds: wracks (members of the brown algal order Fucales such as Fucus)
and kelps (members of the brown algal order Laminariales such as Laminaria), and some have heard of Carrageen or Irish
Moss (a red alga, Chondrus crispus) and Dulse or Dillisk (also a red alga, Palmaria palmata).

Seaweeds are particularly important ecologically: they dominate the rocky intertidal in most oceans, and in temperate and
polar regions cover rock surfaces in the shallow subtidal. Although only penetrating to 8-40 m in most oceans, some are
found to depths of 250 m in particularly clear waters

Taxonomy
A seaweed may belong to one of several groups of multicellular algae: the red algae, green algae, and brown algae. As
these three groups are not thought to have a common multicellular ancestor, the seaweeds are a paraphyletic group. In
addition, some tuft-forming bluegreen algae (Cyanobacteria) are sometimes considered as seaweeds — "seaweed" is a
colloquial term and lacks a formal definition.

Seaweed genera
Caulerpa, Fucus, Gracilaria, Laminaria, Macrocystis, Monostroma, Porphyra

Structure
Seaweeds' appearance somewhat resembles non-arboreal terrestrial plants.

• thallus: the algal body


• lamina: a flattened structure that is somewhat leaf-like
• sorus: spore cluster
• on Fucus, air bladders: float-assist organ (on blade)
• on kelp, floats: float-assist organ (between lamina and stipe)
• stipe: a stem-like structure, may be absent
• holdfast: specialized basal structure providing attachment to a surface, often a rock or another alga.
• haptera: finger-like extensions of holdfast anchoring to benthic substrate
• The stipe and blade are collectively known as the frond.

Ecology
The ecology of seaweeds is dominated by two specific environmental requirements. These are the presence of seawater
(or at least brackish water) and the presence of light sufficient to drive photosynthesis. A very common requirement is
also to have a firm point of attachment. As a result, seaweeds are most commonly found in the littoral zone and within
that zone more frequently on rocky shores than on sand or shingle. The ecological niches utilised by seaweeds are wide
ranging. At the highest level are those that inhabit the zone that is only wetted by the tops of sea spray, the deepest living
are those that are attached to the seabed under several meters of water.

In some parts of the world, the area colonized by littoral seaweeds can extend for several miles away from the shore. The
limiting factor in such cases is the availability of sufficient sun-light to support photosynthesis. The deepest living
seaweeds are the various kelps. In addition to the familiar seashore seaweeds, a number of species have adapted to a fully
planktonic niche and are free-floating, often with the assistance of gas filled sacs. Sargassum is one of the better known
examples of this type of seaweed.

A number of species have adapted to the specialised environment of tidal rock pools. In this niche seaweeds are able to
withstand rapidly changing temperature and salinity and even occasional drying.

Uses
Seaweed has a variety of purposes, for which it is farmed, or foraged from the wild.
Food
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 from
seaweed, 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 substances
collectively known as hydrocolloids or phycocolloids. Hydrocolloids have attained commercial significance, especially in
food 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 as
carrageenan, 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.

Medicine
In the biomedicine and pharmaceutical industries, alginates are used in wound dressings, and production of dental moulds
and 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. It
has been asserted that seaweeds may have curative properties for tuberculosis, arthritis, colds and influenza, worm
infestations and even tumors. [dubious – discuss] A number of research studies have been conducted to investigate these
claims and other effects of seaweed on human health

Other uses
Other seaweeds may be used as seaweed fertilizer. Seaweed is currently being researched as a potential source of biofuel
in 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 muticum

The brown colour of these algae results from the dominance of the xanthophyll pigment fucoxanthin, which masks the
other pigments, Chlorophyll a and c (no Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and other xanthophylls. Food reserves are typically
complex polysaccharides, sugars and higher alcohols. The principal carbohydrate reserve is laminaran, and true starch is
absent (compare with the green algae). The walls are made of cellulose and alginic acid, a long-chained
heteropolysaccharide.

There are no known unicellular or colonial representatives; the simplest plant form is a branched, filamentous thallus. The
kelps are the largest (up to 70 m long) and perhaps the most complex brown algae, and they are the only algae known to
have 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 species
are found in colder waters. Virtually all the biomass worldwide comes from a relatively small number of species in the
orders 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.
Characteristics: Green colour from chlorophyll a and b in the same proportions as the 'higher' plants; beta-carotene (a
yellow pigment); and various characteristic xanthophylls (yellowish or brownish pigments). Food reserves starch, some
fats or oils like higher plants. Some green algae are to be the progenitors of the higher green plants but there is currently
some debate on this point.

Green algae may be unicellular (one cell), multicellular (many cells), colonial (living as a loose aggregation of cells) or
Coenocytic (composed of one large cell without cross-walls; the cell may be uninucleate or multinucleate). They have
membrane-bound chloroplasts and nuclei. Most green are aquatic and are found commonly in freshwater (mainly
Charophytes) and marine habitats (mainly chlorophytes); some are terrestrial, growing on soil, trees, or rocks. Some are
symbiotic with fungi giving lichens. Others are symbiotic with animals, e.g. the freshwater coelentrate Hydra has a
symbiotic species of Chlorella as does Paramecium bursaria, a protozoan.
Chlorella is now grown and sold as a health supplement and Dunaliella is grown as a source of beta-carotene.

A number of freshwater green algae (charophytes, desmids and Spirogyra) are now included in the Charophyta
(charophytes), a phylum of mostly freshwater and terrestrial algae, which are more closely related to the higher plants
than the marine green
algae belonging to the Chlorophyta (known as chlorophytes).

• Rhodophyta: Red algae


Examples: Palmaria, Coralline algae

Characteristics: The red colour of these algae results from the pigments phycoerythrin and phycocyanin; this masks the
other pigments, Chlorophyll a (no Chlorophyll b), beta-carotene and a number of unique xanthophylls. The main reserves
are typically floridean starch, and floridoside; true starch like that of higher plants and green algae is absent. The walls are
made of cellulose and agars and carrageenans, both long-chained polysaccharide in widespread commercial use. There are
some unicellular representatives of diverse origin; more complex thalli are built up of filaments.

A very important group of red algae is the coralline algae, which secrete calcium carbonate onto the surface of their cells.
Some of these corallines are articulated (right, Corallina, with flexible erect branches; others are crustose. These corallines
have been used in bone-replacement therapies. Coralline algae were used in ancient times as vermifuges, thus the
binomial Corallina officinalis.

Seaweeds in the Philippines


The Philippines is an archipelago comprising numerous islands and is endowed with a high level of biodiversity which
includes aquatic marine plants and animals. Among the aquatic plants which are economically valuable both locally or
internationally are the following: Caulerpa, Eucheuma, Gelidiella, Gracilaria, Kappaphycus, Porphyra and Sargassum.
With the exception of Gelidiella, Porphyra and Sargassum, the rest are cultivated, however, the cultivation of
Kappaphycus is the most expensive.

The economic importance of seaweeds or algae, lies on its utilization as food, in industry, pharmacy and medicine.
Eucheuma is a source of carrageenen, a natural gum used as additive, binder, and emulsifier on food, pharmaceutical,
beverage and cosmetic industries. The major products derived from the utilization of seaweeds are: agar, algin or sodium
alginate and carrageenan.

Site Selection
1. Characteristics of sites suitable for culture:
2. Pollution free environment (domestic, agriculture and industrial waste)
3. Farm area must be far away from river system or any freshwater tributaries (salinities lower than 30 ppt – parts
per thousand, are detrimental to the normal growth and development of the plant)
4. Moderate water movement or current to ensure significant nutrient supply
5. Sandy or rocky bottom
6. Protected coves or bay areas in order to maximize production
7. Site should not be exposed during low tide
8. Clear the area of seagrasses, seaweeds, large stones and corals, and other obstacles
9. Remove or kill the sea urchins in the area because they will eat the seaweeds
Culture Techniques For seaweeds

Short Stake and Line Method -Seaweed distance from water surface is constant
Characteristics: -Less susceptible to grazing
-Uses short stakes (60cm long) erected on seabed and Disadvantages:
arranged in rows -Bamboos are scarse and expensive
-Seeded line has no floats -Construction of structure is rather complicated
Advisable for use:
-Exposed or very shallow area at spring low tide Raft Method
Advantage: Characteristics:
-Structure easy to construct -Uses bamboo poles as floats and iron stakes asanchors
Disadvantages: -Styrofoam balls to keep seaweeds at desired level
-Cannot be farmed on rocky seabeds Advisable for use:
-Supply of stakes getting low -Water depth of 10-20m
-Minimal surface water movement hardly affects the -Wide channels and open bodies of water
seaweed susceotible to grazing -Moderately strong waves and water current
-Common in areas like Zamboanga and Sulu
Long Stake and Longline with Float Advantages:
Characteristics: -Utilize area efficiently and units can be set-up in an
-Uses long stakes (1-1.5m long) erected on seabed & orderly manner
arranged wide distance between rows -Transferable compact production units which gives high
-Uses long seeded lines with floats yield
Advisable for use: -Strong and flexible to ride with waves during rough
-Submerged areas with 0.5-1.5m water depth at spring low season
tide -Fewer anchorage per meter, environment-friendly
Advantages: Disadvantages:
-Good water movement even with light wave action -Capital and labor intensive
-Seaweed distance from water surface is constant
Disadvantages: Spider Web Method
-Cannot be farmed on rocky seabed Characteristics:
-Supply of stakes getting low -Similar to raft method without bamboo
-Susceptible to grazing Advisable for use:
-Open bodies of water with depth of 10-20m
Suspended Rope and Line with Rope -Moderately strong waves and water current
Characteristics: -Group of farment or cooperative farming
-Uses ropes suspended by floats and anchored by weights Advantages:
-Seeded lines have floats -High yield and greater flexibility
Advisable for use: -No rigid component making it highly resistant
-Water depth of 1.5m or more at spring low tide -Self-cleaning and environment-friendly
Advantages: Disadvantages:
-Good water movement even with light wave action -Capital and labor intensive
-Seaweed distance from water surface is constant -Difficult toset-up
-Less susceptible to grazing -Serious hazard to navigation
Disadvantages:
-Construction of structure is rather complicates Lantay Method
Characteristics:
Bamboo Raft -Uses bamboo as frames
Characteristics: -Uses nets to cover the whole structure
-Uses bamboo poles as floats and weights as anchors Advisable for use:
-Seeded lines may or may not have floats -For nursery/ holding purposes
Advisable for use: Advantages:
-Water depth of 1.0m or more at spring low tide -Transferable and resistant to strong waves
Advantages: Disadvantages:
-Good water movement even with light wave action -Capital and labor intensive
-Difficult to maintain -Not applicable for commercial production

Culture Preparation
1. Prepare the necessary materials such as banca, anchors, soft ties, nylon ropes and then install the needed structures
whether stalking or floating method prior to planting.
2. Source out quality seedlings from the vicinity to ensure easy transport to the farm site and propagules must be
protected from direct exposure to sun and rain.Transport containers like Styrofoam box is best recommended although
ordinary jute sacks will suffice.
3. Seedlings must be immersed in seawater upon arrival preferably in the seedling bin
4. Seedlings or propagules to be planted shall be around 100-200 g each
5. Only young portion of the plant must be selected for planting to ensure faster growth
6. Careful selection of cuttings is important for successful farming. Choose healthy and strong branches for planting.
7. These are usually found at the center and near tips of a healthy plant. Use a clean, sharp stainless steel knife for
cutting branches to leave a smooth surface.

General Farm Management


• Visit farm daily
• Keep plants always clean (mud, rough seaweeds, sargassum, etc.)
• Check and prune the “ice-ice” infected portion of the plants
• Tighten loose lines and tie-ties (plastic straw)
• Repair or replace all broken/damaged materials such as bamboos or monolines
• Adjust the monolines if necessary (slow growth, discoloration, etc.)

Harvesting
There are two types of harvesting:

• Partial Harvesting - Done by pruning the initial seedlings planted to fill-up the allocated planting area after 2-3
weeks period. Harvested after 45-60 days culture for expansion purposes.

• Total Harvesting - Total harvesting after 45-60 days culture. Initial or total seedlings requirement are left behind
for the next crop.

The most common practice of farmers is to harvest the whole plant, rather than prune the plant. From the harvested plants,
the best-looking plants are selected for use as seedlings for the next crop. These may be stored in the seedbed if these
cannot be planted immediately. Harvested seaweeds are placed in bamboo baskets in the banca then brought to the
farmhouse drying station.

Marketing
Buying and selling of dried seaweeds are mostly done in the farmers’ house. These practices are common in all seaweed
growing areas. Cash basis is the mode of payment in the coastal areas. Farm gate price varies depending on the location
and variety.

Post-Harvest Preparation
• Cleaning - before drying the seaweeds it’s a must to clean thoroughly the materials to ensure good quality
product. Cleaning should include removal of all foreign material such as plastic straws, stones, woods, and most
important,any sand sticking to the thalli. Sand causes severe problems during carrageenan extraction due to its
abrasive properties.

• Drying - Seaweeds should be dried immediately after harvest, kept clean and not allowed to come in contact with
fresh water. Solar drying is the most popular and low cost option, taking 2-3 days under ideal conditions. The wet to
dry ratio for Kapphycus or Eucheuma cottonii is about 7:1 kilos.

Seaweed industry
Seaweed is an important component of the marine ecosystem along with the mangrove and coral reefs and can be viewed
in two perspectives, from its ecological value as well as its economic uses.
Seaweed contributed about 27% to the total 2002 fisheries production, with Regions IV, IX and ARMM as major
producers. The steady increase in production for the past five (5) years (1997-2002) can be attributed to high market
demand, better price and good weather condition that encourage farmers to expand their areas for seaweed culture.

The industry employs between 100,000-120,000 manpower where 90% are seaweed farmers and the rest are seaweed
processors and traders

The Philippines is one of the top producers of seaweeds in the world, specifically the red seaweeds - next to China and
Japan. Seaweeds are exported either in raw forms (fresh or dried seaweeds) or processed forms (semi-refined
chips/carrageenan and refined carrageenan). The major importing countries of seaweeds and its natural products are
France, Korea, China, USA and Hong Kong.

Despite the continuous increase in seaweed production and share in the world market, the industry is beseeched with
existing problems and constraints. To address these problems and constraints, the DA-BFAR will provide strategies and
interventions for the next fifteen (15) months which include, among others the, e.g. establishment of additional seaweed
nurseries, promotion of seaweed health management, provision of post-harvest facilities and establishment of a pilot semi-
processing plant.

The Philippines is one of the top producers of seaweeds in the world, specifically the red seaweeds - next to China and
Japan. Seaweeds are exported either in raw forms (fresh or dried seaweeds) or processed forms (semi-refined
chips/carrageenan and refined carrageenan). The major importing countries of seaweeds and its natural products are
France, Korea, China, USA and Hong Kong.

Despite the continuous increase in seaweed production and share in the world market, the industry is beseeched with
existing problems and constraints. To address these problems and constraints, the DA-BFAR will provide strategies and
interventions for the next fifteen (15) months which include, among others the, e.g. establishment of additional seaweed
nurseries, promotion of seaweed health management, provision of post-harvest facilities and establishment of a pilot semi-
processing plant.