The White Sea macroalgae can be used in cosmetology, pharmacology, medicine, food and agricultural industries. Alga, a rapidly renewable plant material, has high potential as a promising new source of zero-waste technologies, the scientists say.
Northern (Arctic) Federal University (NArFU) scientists conducted the study, using samples of brown algae. They used samples of four species: Ascophyllum nodosum, Fucus vesiculosus, Laminaria digitata, Saccharina latissima. The results are published in the Algal Research journal.
There are up to 160 species of algae in the White Sea, 10 of which are of commercial value. In addition, local algal communities can recover 70% of their original state in just two-three years.
Algae support the livelihood of many people within coastal communities. They are called superfoods. Such products contain many nutrients - polysaccharides (laminarin, alginate, fucoidan), essential amino acids, important minerals (iodine, potassium, selenium, magnesium, iron, zinc, etc.), vitamins A, C, D, E.
According to scientists, algae can replace 25% of the European protein consumption and 50% of the total amount of vegetable oil consumption. Moreover, algae can become a valuable source of essential amino acids.
The sustainable use of seaweed-derived biopolymers is now crucial to replace plasticisers with biodegradable materials, the scientists stated. Seaweed substances such as alginates, fucoidans, and cellulose can act as main or complementary components in their composition.