Factsheets for Red Seaweeds (phylum Rhodophyta)

Genus: Eucheuma Trade name: spinosum Symbol: EU
AuthorityJ. Agardh Type species:  Eucheuma denticulatum (N.L. Burman) F.S.Collins & Hervey 
Commercial species: cartilaginium (CAR), denticulatum (DEN), isiforme (ISI), muricatum (MUR)
Common names: Agal agal, Agal agal besar, Agar-agar, Agar agar besar, Agar agar pulau, Agar agar seru laut, Chilin-t' sai, Crude agar, East-Indian Carrageen, Eucheuma, Eucheuman, Java agar, Kirinsai, Makassar weed, Ruwe agar, Ryukyu-tsunomata, Singapore weed, Spinosum, Tosaka nori, Zanzibar weed
Classification: Eukaryota, Phylum Rhodophyta, Class Rhodophyceae, Subclass Florideophycidae, Order Gigartinales, Family Areschougiaceae.
AlgaeBase names and species:  45 names - 19 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
Major aquaculture crop used for food & galactans
Agronomy must use good  environmental practices.
Similar to Kappaphycus but with spiny branches. Thalli may reach several kg. in weight. Turgid and brittle. Branching not truly opposite. Colour ranges light tan to dark red or brown.
Natural populations tend to grow scattered among or near soft and hard corals in tropical reef areas. "Cottonii of commerce" is cultivated (see "Production" section below).

For a thorough treatment see SuriaLink Monograph # 1-0703
The ABC of Eucheuma Seaplant Production
Agronomy, Biology and Crop-handling of Betaphycus, Eucheuma and
the Gelatinae, Spinosum and Cottonii  of Commerce
Eucheuma production
click country to go to GIS
Tons per annum
wild harvest
Tons per annum
Indonesia n/a 13,447
Japan n/a n/a
Kiribati n/a n/a
Madagascar n/a 500
Malaysia n/a n/a
Philippines n/a 10,102
Tanzania n/a 4,000
USA n/a n/a


n/a 28,049
Approximate annual production figures from recent years are as above.
Biology & Agronomy
Commercial spinosum production is currently on the order of 25-30,000 dry tons per year at the commercial standard of 38% moisture-content.
Although some spinosum is consumed directly as human food most material is used as a source of the commercially valuable marine biopolymer (red algal galactan) called carrageenan.
Spinosum is commercially cultivated on a substantial, continuous basis in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia (Sabah) and Tanzania. Experimental farming or intermittent commercial activity has occurred in several countries including China, Japan, Federated States of Micronesia (Ponape), Fiji, Kiribati, USA (Hawaii) and in Caribbean countries. Local cultivars have entered commercial production in several places but there has also been transplantation both within and between countries (e.g. Philippine stocks to Indonesia and vice versa). 
We also have a monograph in process on the subject of red algal galactans. These are the basis for commercial marine biopolymers such as carrageenan and agar.
We have several monographs in progress covering analytical procedures, post-harvest treatment and semi-refining technology for Eucheuma and similar seaweeds. Check the processing index for available web pages and monographs. 
Products, Uses & Applications
Most Eucheuma is dried, baled or sacked and shipped for processing into semirefined or refined carrageenan. Some is eaten fresh as food. Check the Carragar Links and the Biopolymer Links for information on these topics.
List of species' uses and community affiliations
Genus GenID SpID Species Uses Communities
Eucheuma EU ALV alvarezii FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU CAR cartilagineum FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU DEN denticulatum FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU DEN denticulatum FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU GEL gelatinae FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU ISI isiforme FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU MUR muricatum FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Eucheuma EU STR striatum FH, FI, IA, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB

click to relevant uses or communities on the index/legend table below>>>

    to uses                                                    to communities  
Eucheuma is most strongly associated with the Biopolymer,  Seaweed,   Seavegetables and Wellbeing communities.
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