“Seaweed”. Seaweed is the common name for numerous marine plant species and algae that are Microscopic, Multi cellular and grow in Seabed as well as in other water bodies such as rivers, ponds, lakes etc. Phytoplanktons are Seaweed that mostly survive suspended in the water column and acts as the base for most marine food chain while some Seaweeds like the Kelp are giant and grow in abundant. The term Seaweed include members of the Red, Brown and Green algae. The study of advance Seaweed is known Phycology.
Seaweeds are simpler in their biological structure than plants that grow on soil. This is mainly because Seaweed absorb it’s nutrients from the surrounding water. Since these plants thrive in water it has no need for long roots or complex conducting tissues. Kelp has root like parts called as Holdfasts, but these root like parts help Kelp to attach themselves to rocks. Most Seaweeds attaches them selves to something in order to survive and only a few noted weeds grow while drifting in lose water.
Uses of Seaweed:
Seaweed can be used as a source of food for Humans, for industrial applications and as fertilizer. It is largely consumed as food in Asia, particularly in Japan, Korea and China. Here Seaweed cultivation has become a major industry. The use of algae as industrial application at present is largely restricted to extraction of Phycocolloids and Biochemicals. Seaweed also has the potential to be used as a source of long and short – chain chemicals with medicinal effects. Research on Seaweed when subjected to fermentation or pyrolysis is still being done.
Following are the different application of Seaweed;
Ueses industrial gums
Other uses of Seaweed;
Seaweed as organic fertilizer, compost for organic gardening. These plants are also under serious consideration to be used as a source of Bioethenol. It is also extensively used in toothpaste, cosmetics and paints. It contains Alginates which is used in making industrial products such as paper coating, adhesive, dyes, gels and explosives. May research has suggested Australian Seaweed may interfere with bacterial colonization. The presence of Sulfated sacchiarides in red and green alge is known to inhibit some RNA and DNA based viruses.
Side effects of Seaweed
Ocean water contains Mercury, to which Seaweed is exposed. Hence some researchers claim eating these plants might introduce very severe harmful chemical such as mercury into your system. An independent study published in 2009 in Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health indicates that seaweed indeed contains a relatively low quantity of Mercury in the Korean diet, where these plants is eaten very frequently.
Brown Seaweed is known to be excellent source for Iodine. Iodine when consumed in large quantities has negative impact on once body. Excessive Iodine consumption effects the proper functioning of the Thyroid gland which in turn may effect your hormone and metabolism.
Not much research is done on the effect of brown algae on women who are pregnant. However, it is generally understood that women who are pregnant need to avoid consumption of excessive amount of Iodine.