Seaweed As A Food

Seaweed, also called as algae, is taxonomically classified under four groups namely: red algae (rhodophyta), brown algae (phaeophyta), green algae (chlorophyta), and blue-green algae (cyanophyta). Macroal-gae, which include above three groups of seaweed other than blue-green algae, have a long history of utilization as direct or processed food across the globe. In Asian countries, seaweed is directly used for several culinary purposes, whereas in the west, it is exclusively used for the extraction of important food hydrocolloids including agar, carrageenan, and alginates. Availability almost throughout the year and relatively easy collection potential make macroalgae an inexpensive food source. With the advancement of biological and marine sciences, identification and large-scale culturing of edible micro algae (blue-green algae) have also become a reality, and later they have been introduced into different food applications.

Seaweed is a rich source of nutrients included in Asians traditional cuisine and is being extensively explored for its other merits as a food. Apart from its proven nutritional properties, bioactive molecules found in seaweeds have attracted the interest of health conscious societies, as seaweed is regarded as a remarkable marine medicinal food.

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