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Title Seaweeds – a potential source of food, feed and fertiliser
Author Name Devinder Dhingra
Abstract

Many communities in the world consume naturally growing and cultivated/ farmed seaweeds as food. Currently, commercial cultivation/farming produces more than 96% of seaweeds in the world and only around 3-4% is obtained from wild harvest (non-cultivated).Naturally occurring and cultivated seaweeds are categorized into green, brown and red seaweeds, based on their pigmentation. More than 200 species of seaweeds are of commercial value, but only around 10 species of seaweeds are popularly cultivated. China, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and the Philippines are the leading producers of cultured/farmed species (viz. Eucheuma, Japanese kelp, Gracilaria, Unndaria pinnatifid); and Chile,China and Norway for wild species (mainly brown and red) and Chilean kelp. Seaweeds are rich in dietary fiber (polysaccharides), essential amino acids, major and micronutrients (minerals), vitamins etc. It has been reported that some species are a good source of plant growth regulators. Mainly, the people in China, Japan and Korea relish the soups, stews, flakes, coatings, snacks, etc., made from seaweeds. The use of seaweeds as human food in India is not very common. The second major use of seaweeds after food is the extraction of three important hydrocolloids (Agar, Alginate and Carrageenan). These are used as food additives and in many other industrial applications. A small portion of seaweed is used as an ingredient as livestock feed and fish feed. Seaweed meal and liquid extract of seaweed have been tried in conjunction with inorganic fertilizers with beneficial effects on crop yield, quality produce and soil health. Seaweed is an important marine resource and the coastline in India can be utilized to commercially cultivate seaweed species beneficial for human health and plants. Research is required in developing functional foods, health foods and nutraceuticals from seaweeds to improve the health and nutritional status of the human population. This paper briefly describes the status of production and utilization of seaweeds in different parts of the world.

Keyword A m i n o a c i d s , D i e t a r y f i b e r , Hydrocolloids , Vitamins. ,
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