Seaweeds

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Various marine macroalgae are used as human food in many parts of the world, notably in Japan. In the British Isles Red Laver (Porphyra umbilicalis), Green Laver (Ulva lactuca), Carrageen Moss (Chondrus crispus and Gigartina stellata) and Pepperdulse (Osmundea pinnatifida) are each eaten in certain localities. However, seaweed does not contribute significant quantities to human food supplies and seems unlikely to increase much in consumption. The chief commercial importance of seaweed is as a source of alginic acid which, in addition to innumerable other uses, has many applications in the food industry as an emulsifier (Booth, 1975). A surprising number of processed foods and household products now contain substances derived from seaweed. Examples include ice cream, toothpaste, cakes, milk desserts, milk chocolates, fruit juice, beer and baby foods.

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