"Seaweed" is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean and other bodies of water. Seaweeds are incredibly efficient at sucking up carbon dioxide and using it to grow. Seaweeds pull more of the greenhouse gas from the water than eelgrass, mangroves, and salt marshes combined.Traditionally, seaweeds are categorized as “Reds”, “Greens” or “Browns” based on their predominant or unique pigments.
The red algae (Rhodophyta) have a red coloration due to the pigments phycocyanin and phycoerythrin. They commercially used as natural dyes, used nowadays in products, such as chewing gum, soft drinks, dairy products and cosmetic products, e.g., lipstick and eyeliner. Research has demonstrated this species has anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-tumor, neuroprotective (brain) and hepatoprotective (liver) benefits.
The green seaweeds (Chlorophyta) are green since no other pigments mask the chlorophyll. Compounds extracted from green seaweed are very versatile and could be applied as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, functional foods and feed, in agriculture and bioremediation. One of the most common green seaweed species, Ulva, is used in heavy metal bioremediation to remove heavy metals for their recuperation, promoting a heavy metal circular economy.
The predominance of fucoxanthin characterizes the brown seaweeds (Phaeophyceae), that is, along with the chlorophylls, a pigment of this algae group. They contain alginates which are used in food, cosmetic, textile, and pharmaceutical industries as emulsifiers, thickeners, and gel-forming agents. Studies show that fucoxanthin has anti-tumoral, antioxidant and anti-obesity properties.
García-Poza, Sara, et al. “The Evolution Road of Seaweed Aquaculture: Cultivation Technologies and the Industry 4.0.” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 8 Sept. 2020, www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/18/6528.
“1. INTRODUCTION.” SEAWEED RESOURCES AND THEIR CULTURE IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA REGION, www.fao.org/3/AC007E/AC007E01.htm.