|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,
Kiribati, Fiji and
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,
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,
Namibia, New Zealand,
Russia, South Africa,
Spain, Thailand, and
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
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,
North Korea, Norway,
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.