Seaweed applications

 Many of others and us have and did observe the vast quantities of seaweed on coast and within the seas. The questions like what can I do with it, is there a market nearby, properties, processing. Written with a minimum of technical language and designed as guide to applications only. Way in which you can profit by utilizing this natural and renewable resource. Different species can be used for the same application and will depend on your locality, tropical, semi tropical or cold regions.

Introduction to algae

Drawing together expertise from a broad range of scientific disciplines, social sciences, engineering and environmental science, research as published into the utilisation of algae/seaweed ranges.

Seaweeds has many uses. Traditionally consumed as food in several cultures, notably in Japan and China, as feed for al kinds of animals. In coastal areas of Northern Europe and America, during winter periods, at other localities during drought when other feeds were scarce, sheep could graze on the shore and cows were offered kelp that had been previously harvested, rinsed and dried. During World War I, oat and forage shortage resulted in first large scale use of seaweed in France, cattle and horses.

Used in medicine, as crude drugs for treatment of iodine deficiency related diseases (goitre, Basedow's disease and hyperthyroidism), intestinal disorders, as vermifuges, and as hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycaemic agents.

Numerous industrial ingredients such as hydrocolloids (agar-agar, alginates) used in stabilizers, thickeners and fillers, pigments, vitamins, chelated micro-minerals (selenium, chromium, nickel, arsenic) and prebiotic substances in the form of complex carbohydrates (alginates, fucose-containing polymers, mannitol and laminarin).

Organic mineral rich fertilizers which are usually rich in potassium but poorer in nitrogen and phosphorus.

.Red seaweed of the genus Gracilaria and green seaweed of the genus Ulva have been found to be suitable species for bioremediation. Extracts, the production of food additives and food structuring, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and fine chemicals. Seaweed is also used in integrated aquaculture systems organic and in-organic waste water treatment.

Brown algae live primarily in shallow waters or on shoreline rocks and have very flexible stems that allow them to withstand the constant pounding of the waves. This area and used by local communities for recreation, shoreline fish and small sea algae rafters. Seaweeds based near shore location nest many invertebrates that are food for arthropodes and coastal birds. High collection rate of seaweed for either animal feed, alginate production or as source of biofuel might alter equilibrium of the coastal ecosystems. Recent research has linked wild harvest of kelp in Norway to detrimental impacts on fish abundance and the foraging efficiency of birds. It is brown seaweeds that mainly reproduce sexually and exist in two forms (large sporophyte and microscopic gametophyte) what is harvested is the sporophyte form and best protected where it is located naturally.

The unique chemical composition of seaweeds and their fast growth rates offer many new opportunities for bio refining.

We have learned from the past that the technical and culturally developments of society depends or analogue to the amount of energy they can produce.

In this article we argue that cascading bio refinery valorisation concepts are viable alternatives to only using seaweeds as carbohydrate sources for the fermentative production of biofuels. because of the size and effect on the environment should be developed and done so offshore.


Seaweeds can develop under variable environments. However, every seaweeds have requirements for water salinity, nutrients, water movement , temperature and light. Seaweed cultivation depends on their way of reproducing. However, many challenges remain with respect to use of seaweeds for use as medicine and chemical production, such as the large seasonal variation in the chemical composition of seaweeds including the location. When seaweed reproduce vegetative, some pieces of seaweeds can be tied to rope or nets that are suspended between wooden stakes or they can be simply placed at the bottom of a pond without fixation or forced to the bottom using a fork-shaped tool in sediments and using sand-filled tubes in sandy soil.

Once seaweeds have grown to a suitable size, they are harvested. In vegetative propagated seaweeds, the harvest is done either by removing the entire plant or by removing most of it but leaving a small piece that will grow again. When the whole plant is removed, small pieces are cut from it and used as seed stock for further cultivation.

It is the brown seaweeds that mainly reproduce sexually and exist in two forms (large sporophyte and microscopic gametophyte) what is harvested is the sporophyte form and differ.


Synthetic Biology

1 Fermentation Technologies

2 Separation Technologies

3 Enzyme Technology

4 Algal Biotechnology and

5 Bio fuels

Waste water treatment.

Seaweeds and micro algae have been busy cleaning water from there existence onwards. If that was not the case our sea and oceans would have turned into sewages. It is much cheaper and efficient to use these properties and product produced in the process as called bioremediation.


• 1) Bio waste products with high nitrogen content will be used for Cultivation of algae.

• 2) Algae and bio waste will be used for production of biogas.

• 3) Residues from biogas production will be used for soil improvement / enhancement.

• 4) Biogas will be upgraded to Liquid Biogas (LBG)

Future for micro and macro algae.

• 1. Large-scale production of micro algae is still a challenge.

• 2. Large-scale production of macro algae must be offshore.

• 3. A new bio refinery concept is needed to extract high value products as Proteins, food & feed ingredients, materials etc. before end use for Energy.

• 4. Macro algae are the new biomass resource for the next decades.

• 5. Micro algae is an important raw material for high value products


The current Role of seaweed in our Lives


The information in regard of the use of micro and macro algae has changed dramatically due to new studies done to establish the grow and use of algae for the production of bio-fuel. The last being not of that much importance to the small seaweed producer but the information as such placed in the public domain does.

There are several advantages to seeing the world of the algae and seaweed in a different aspect and possible beneficial benefits for small and local communities located near the sea.

The Past.

In the previous century, harvested naturally grown seaweed was a well-known ingredient (up to 10%) in diets for cattle, horses, and fish in several coastal regions of Europe and America and there was something what is now called seaweed grazing.


Animals like horses, cows, sheep and goats where allowed to graze along the shore and more frequently when fodder was short. Nowadays, seaweed is not a standard dietary ingredient anymore. The direct contribution of seaweed to the energy requirements of some animals is rather low because of the high fibre content and low digestibility of the polysaccharides and the relatively low fat content. To be able to digest it properly the digestion has to change or has to adapt itself. The animals who are used to eat grass, scrubs do not or have to adapt the digestion in minor ways like cows, horses, rabbits, goats and sheep's. The same did happen to humans, the Japanese have a different fauna and flora within there digestive system than people living in the West. People in the West are capable to digest more dairy products than Indians.

Different diets lead to different diseases and have effects on vitality and ageing. The understanding how dietary habits of different groups of people related to their degree of health available and are important. Both clinical research and epidemiological studies, which compare the rates of diseases in populations with different dietary habits, point to Japan’s low rate of hart failure, obesity, breast cancer and healthy ageing ...compared with the West. It is in line what we did see by animals and it is not only being the nutritional value what is important but also other aspects like improved health and wellbeing. Most of the health related properties associated with the high mineral content, polysaccharides and other bioactive substances like fucoidans and other, which cannot be fond in plants. During the last 8 thousand years people were advised to use small amount of seaweed to there diet. Large amounts do no good because our digestive tract cannot cope with is and without substantial adaptation like in Japan, not digestible.

Attention should be given to the (seasonal) variation in composition and the composition and consequences. For animals applies the same, apart from functional nutritive characteristics, seaweed do have physicochemical properties relevant in animal feed. Different seaweed species contain a variety of polysaccharides that may contribute to human and animal health. Several of these polysaccharides may create a better intestinal environment by stimulation of the micro biota population, production of fermentation products, protection of the gut wall, etc. Most of the recently published seaweed studies focus on the functional components that might stimulate immune functions and increase gut health of livestock. Although many of the published studies were based on the use of seaweed extracts, it is likely that intact dried and ground seaweed may beneficially influence the intestinal tract as well. The precise affects on health of the mixture of polysaccharides, as present within the seaweed, the different characteristics, on intestinal health in different animal species is now being researched.

With regard to protein, there is little evidence for beneficial bioactive effects in farm animal nutrition above the contribution to the amino acid supply of the animals. Rather, the presence of a high indigestible fibre content, lectins and polyphenols in certain species may contribute to a relatively low bioavailability of amino acids.

There is already demand for algae and seaweeds as raw material in the following sectors:


Health food products like omega 3 – EPA or DHA,


Animal feed incl. fish feed

Agriculture, fertiliser

Biofuel and energy






Some of the others potential use and utilisation and only a few of many are;

• Industrial gums

• Animal feed ingredients and supplements.

• Chemicals

• Biofuels

• Medicinal uses

• bio filters in IMTA

• Use in climate change adaptation and coastal defence (Building with Nature)

• Seaweed to enhance capture fisheries

• Wastewater treatments

New possibilities and new opportunities…Do not think big but look around for local uses and there might be more than you expect.

To make it easier for the seaweed / algae producer I will list the different applications behind buttons for easy access. There are however so many application possible that it is impossible to know everything. However for most the internet is not far away anymore. We do not claim copyright nor suggest that we have it right all the time, just a signpost.



Seafood  energy  health  Pharma.  cosmetics  kelp petfood  drinkswinecancercapsules

Seaweed online info site bio-fuel and algae Free energy

SeaweedZeewierAlga marina AlgueAlgae 

Seaweed producers.

Seaweed Ireland

Irish Seaweed

Seaweed market

sea plant site



Wild sea vegetables

Seaweed milk shakes

Seaweed products for health


Do stay young

Aloe Vera

Cactus products

Medical properties of seaweed

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Beara Holidays, Ireland

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