Green Seaweeds (Chlorophyta)
Green Seaweeds contain chlorophyll like land plants and normally grow in very shallow water close to shore where they benefit from nutrient-rich runoff from the land. They are normally used for their nutritional content. Common green seaweeds include Ulva lactuca (sea lettuce) and Codium fragile.
File photo name: Ulva compressa
BROWN SEAWEEDS (Phaeophyta)
Photo file name: Fucus vesiculosus
Brown seaweeds are the most common seaweeds found on rocky beaches. The brown colour of the seaweed is due to the pigment fucoxanthin, which overshadows the green pigment chlorophyll. While both are used in the photosynthesis of light, fucoxanthin improves the process when the seaweed is covered by water.
Brown seaweeds contain many potential bioactive components. Ascophyllum nodosum
, for example, contains alginic acids, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotenoids, cobalamin (vitamin B12), fucoidans, iodine, laminarins and mannitol.
The largest, unique constituent in Ascophyllum nodosum
is the polysaccharide fraction that makes up about 52% of the dry weight. Contained within this fraction are important sources of complex, sulphated polysaccharides that provide this seaweed with unique properties and distinctive characteristics not found in terrestrial plant sources or other common marine plants.
Numerous scientific studies have linked sulphated polysaccharides with having immune system stimulating effects, with roles in cell proliferation, immune cell activation, cell adhesion, cell-to-cell communications, and basic reproduction and fertilization processes.
is in great demand for applications in the health, personal care beauty and cosmetic industries. This brown seaweed is widely used in direct human consumption as a constituent of health food tablets in the nutriceuticals sector.
(Bladderwrack) is another brown seaweed largely used in health and beauty industry applications. Fucus
contains magnesium, protein, fucoidan, retinol and derivatives (vitamin A). This brown seaweed is widely used in cosmetic preparations and thalassotherapy applications. Research findings associate various potential health benefits to Fucus
that may help in treatment of atherosclerosis and immunity. It has also been reported to be of high potential use as an antioxidant, in estrogen-related cancer treatment and act as an anti-aging agent by improving skin elasticity and softness.
The brown seaweed Laminaria digitata
contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C), calcium, carbohydrates, iron, laminarins, magnesium, manganese, mannitol, niacin (vitamin B3), protein, riboflavin (vitamin B2), sodium, thiamin (vitamin B1). It is a particularly rich source of the essential iodine necessary for many bodily functions including thyroid function.
is used mainly in treatments against cellulite and obesity, either alone or combined with other extracts to enhance its activity. The mineral salts and especially iodine stimulate the general metabolism and cause an increase in the osmotic exchanges thus bringing about elimination of the excess fluids.
The alginic acid or algin present in Laminaria
has thickening and emulsifying properties, and these are also very useful in cosmetic applications, and antibacterial properties have also been attributed to this seaweed.
, Fucus vesiculosus
and Laminaria digitata
are offered in flakes (cut & sift), granules, ground powder and flour formats.
RED Seaweeds (Rhodophyta)
File photo name: Chondrus crispus
The red colour of these seaweeds is due to the larger amount of red phycoblin pigments overshadowing the green pigment chlorophyll. The red pigments help absorb the available light penetrating to lower water depths. This method allows red seaweed to survive in low light conditions.
The light intensity under which a particular seaweed has grown has an affect on the amount of red pigments present, this is reflected in the overall colour. With high light content of red pigment is reduced and the seaweeds can become lighter pink. With low light levels, pigment production is enhanced producing vibrant red plants.
(Irish Moss) is known for its gelling and thickening properties. This red seaweed is used widely in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Chondrus crispus is harvested commercially and the carrageenan is extracted and used in the pharmaceutical and food industries.
The product is offered in flakes and is also available in flour formats.
Dulse is an exceptionally nutritious seaweed, containing approximately 10 - 20% protein and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and beta carotene (which the body uses to manufacture Vitamin A.) It is harvested for its health benefits and for making skin care and cosmetic products.
The product is offered in flakes, granule, ground powder, and flour formats.