Factsheets for Red Seaweeds (phylum Rhodophyta)

Genus: Kappaphycus Trade name: cottonii Symbol: KA
AuthorityDoty Type species: n/a 
Commercial species: alvarezii (ALV),  cottonii (COT). inerme (INM), interme (INR), striatum (STT), procrusteanum (PRO)
Common names: Agal agal, Agal agal besar, Agar-agar, Agar agar besar, Agar agar pulau, Agar agar seru laut, Chilin-t' sai, Cottonii, Eucheuma, Eucheuman, Guso, Kirinsai
Classification: Eukaryota, Phylum Rhodophyta, Class Rhodophyceae, Subclass Florideophycidae, Order Gigartinales, Family Areschougiaceae. 
AlgaeBase names and species:  6 names - 6 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.
 Rated as "alien & invasive" in Hawaii.
Thalli may reach several kg. in weight. Turgid and brittle. Branching not truly opposite. Branches often arise from interior or undersurfaces of dense thalli & may grow toward the light (see photo) in a "candelabra-like" appearance. Colour variants include red, green & brown (photo).
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).

Photos of Kappaphycus

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
Kappaphycus production
click country to go to GIS
Tons per annum
wild harvest
Tons per annum
China 0 800
Fiji 0 100
India 0 200
Indonesia formerly ca. 500 mt/yr 48,000
Kiribati 0 100
Madagascar 0 300
Malaysia formerly small amounts 4,000
Philippines formerly ca. 500 mt/yr 60,000
Tanzania 0 1,000

114, 700

ca. 200 114,500
Almost all commercially available Kappaphycus is cultivated. This is a fast-growing genus that can exhibit specific growth rates on the order of 3-6% per day and yields upwards of 30 dry tons/hectare/year on well-tended farms. Approximate annual production figures from recent years are shown above. Please note that Kappaphycus cultivation has been tried over the past three decades in several countries and attempts to grow the genus commercially continue in many countries. Many have made a few commercial shipments and some may yet become steady commercial sources. These countries include Brazil, Cuba, Djibouti, French Antilles, French Polynesia, Guam, Federated States of Micronesia (notably Ponape), Honduras, Japan, Kenya, Kiribati, Maldives, Myanmar, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, USA (Hawaii), Venezuela and Vietnam.
We have several documents in progress for the Carragar Community. Click to the production index to see available web pages and monographs. Two that are of particular relevance to Kappaphycus farming are the Definition of Factors Critical to the Success of Seaplant Farming Ventures and the Guide to Seaplant Farm Development & Management.
Biology & Agronomy
Commercial cottonii production is currently on the order of 80-120,000 dry tons per year at the commercial standard of 38% moisture-content.
Although some cottonii is consumed directly as human food most material is used as a source of the commercially valuable marine biopolymer (red algal galactan) called carrageenan.
Cottonii 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), Belize, Cuba, Venezuela, Madagascar, Maldives, Vietnam, and India. In all of these countries cultivation has utilised cultivars initially developed to commercial scale in the Philippines. In some cases local cultivars have also entered commercial production but it appears that most of the world crop is still descended from introduced Philippine material.
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 Kappaphycus and other eucheuma seaweeds. Check the processing index for available web pages and monographs. 
Products, Uses & Applications
Most Kappaphycus 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
Kappaphycus KA ALV alvarezii FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Kappaphycus KA COT cottonii FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Kappaphycus KA INM inerme FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Kappaphycus KA INR interme FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Kappaphycus KA PRO procrusteanum FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB
Kappaphycus KA STT striatum FH, FI, IA, MD, PA, PC, WB BP, FM, SV, WB

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

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Kappaphycus is most strongly associated with the Seaweed and Biopolymer communities. The genus is also eaten as a Seavegetable.
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