Agronomy & Biotechnology

Seaplants as raw materials for extracts, food and other useful products
One of the highest-profile and economically significant uses of seaweeds (marine algae) is in their role as raw materials for extraction industries that modify, extract and purify the chemical constituents known as biopolymers (e.g. carrageenan, agar and alginates). Seaweeds serve as raw material for products utilised directly as human foods and also as the basis for a variety of well-being and personal  care products. Finally, seaweeds are a source of hydrolysates, meals and other products that serve as plant foods and animal feeds.

The SuriaLink Seaweed Community is being developed as an information source for this important industry segment and we are also lining up trade facilitation facilities to help buyers and sellers of these raw materials to do business with each other.

The importance of seaplant raw materials to RAGS value chains is illustrated by these points:
>> Carrageenan processors have fueled the development of Kappaphycus (cottonii) and Eucheuma (spinosum) farming in several countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tanzania, Kiribati, Fiji and Madagascar; total market volume now exceeds 140,000 commercially dried tons per annum at a value of over 70 M USD.
>> Primarily wild-harvested genera such as Chondrus, Furcellaria, Gigartina, Iridaea, Mastocarpus and Tichocarpus are also mainly produced as carrageenan raw materials;  producing countries include Argentina, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Ireland, Japan, MexicoMorocco, Portugal, North Korea, South Korea, Spain, Russia and the USA; production exceeds 25,000 dry tons valued at more than 20 M USD.
>> Most of the world's production of agar-bearing seaweeds goes to production of agar products; major genera involved include Ahnfeltia, Gelidium, Gelidiella and Gracilaria and Pterocladia; producing countries include Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Thailand, and the USA; production exceeds 110,000 tons valued at more than 100 M USD.

The importance of seaplant materials to alginate value chains is illustrated by these points:
>> Although brown seaweed genera such as Hizikia, Laminaria and Undaria are important human food species, most of the world's ca. million tons of harvested brown seaweeds go to production of biopolymers (alginates) or are processed to make products for agriculture such as animal feed supplements and plant food. Producing countries include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Chile, France, Iceland, India, Ireland, Japan, North Korea, Norway, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, the USA and Vietnam. If at least 70% of total production goes to further processing then this amounts to about 700,000 tons worth in excess of 140 M USD.

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