Factsheets for Brown Seaweeds (phylum Phaeophyta)

Genus: Cystoseira Trade name: cystoseira Symbol: CY
AuthorityC. Agardh Type species: Cystoseira concatenata (Linnaeus) C. Agardh
Commercial species: barbata (BAR)
Common names: Chain bladder, Fraoch freangach, Rainbow bladderweed, Woody Chain Bladder 
Classification: Eukaryota, Phylum Heterokontophyta, Order Fucales, Family Cystoseiraceae. 
AlgaeBase names and species:  145 names - 45 current as of 12-2001.
Comprehensive lists of common names , generic & specific names can be found at AlgaeBase. >>Click here<<  for SuriaLink's policy on names.
SuriaLink SeaPlant Utility Rating
Useful food & source of myostatin binder & anti-inflammatory drugs - can be farmed - expansion potential.
Agronomy & harvesting must use good  environmental practices. Endangered in some areas (e.g. Mediterranean).
Cystoseira thalli are generally parenchymatous, with cells dividing in such a way that they form a fleshy sheet of tissue. The plants are generally medium brown or dark brown in colour. Growth occurs in many planes, which allows for tissue differentiation similar to that in higher plants. Tissue is differentiated into the holdfast, stipe, blades, and floats, or pneumatocysts. The basal region of the thallus includes small blades and branches. The distinct apical region includes pneumatocysts and associated branches. Cystoseira has a discoid holdfast, that is triangular in shape. The holdfast comprises fine, hair-like hyphae. An excellent description in detail can be found at the site of Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI)
Grows on rocky bottoms and pebble grounds in sublittoral areas at 0.5-10 m depths. Various species found in temperate and subtropical zones through much of the world.

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Cystoseira production
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Tons per annum
wild harvest
Tons per annum
Egypt n/a 0


n/a 0
Production seems to be occurring in several countries (e.g. throughout the Mediterranean) and the sources are both wild and cultivated (e.g. in the Canary Islands) but no figures have been located to date.
Biology & Agronomy
There are several reports concerning the biology of Cystoseira including the cited one at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). There are also reports of this genus being cultivated in the Canary Islands
( see prosourceonline) but details are not readily available since the work is proprietary.
Cystoseira is utilised as a source of alginates and of a myostatin binder that appears to be a low-molecular weight sulfopolysaccharide.
We have several monographs in progress covering analytical procedures post-harvest treatment and process technology. Check the processing index for available web pages and monographs. 
Products, Uses & Applications
Cystoseira has been used on an apparently modes scale as a source of alginates and animal feed or fertiliser. It has attracted interest in recent years as a source low-molecular weight sulfopolysaccharide that acts as a myostatin binder and is therefore of interest as an aid to muscle development among athletes. Cystoseira is also of interest a a source of anti-inflammatory drugs.
List of species' uses and community affiliations
Genus GenID SpID Species Uses Communities
Cystoseira CY BAR barbata FI, IA, PA, MD AI, BP, NP, WB

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Cystoseira is most strongly associated with the  Agri-Industry, Biopolymer, NutriPharm and Wellbeing communities.
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