Edited by Ho Dinh Hai Long An - Vietnam Updated: 04/11/2015
1- Introduction to Seaweeds
1.1- Overview Seaweed refers to several species of macroscopic, multicellular, marinealgae that live near the seabed (benthic). The term includes some members of the red, brown, and green algae. Seaweeds can also be classified by use (as food, medicine, fertilizer, filtration, industrial, etc.). The study of seaweed is known as phycology. Edible seaweeds are Macro algae that can be eaten and used in the preparation of food. It typically contains high amounts of fiber and they contain a complete protein. They may belong to one of several groups of multicellular algae: the red algae, green algae, and brown algae. Edible seaweeds are also harvested or cultivated for the extraction of alginate, agar and carrageenan, gelatinous substances collectively known as hydrocolloids or phycocolloids. Hydrocolloids have attained commercial significance, especially in food production as food additives. The food industry exploits the gelling, water-retention, emulsifying and other physical properties of these hydrocolloids. Edible seaweeds are also called as Sea vegetables. Sea vegetables are seaweeds used as vegetables. Most edible seaweeds are marine algae whereas most freshwater algae are toxic. Some marine algae contain acids that irritate the digestion canal, while some others can have a laxative and electrolyte-balancing effect. The dish often served in western Chinese restaurants as 'Crispy Seaweed' is not seaweed but cabbage that has been dried and then fried.