Tamil Nadu

Mass growth of food algae in nursery stage under research

The Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute and its field laboratory, the Marine Algal Research Station here, a constituent laboratory under the ambit of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, has embarked upon a research to develop methodologies for mass multiplication of some of the food algae at nursery stage.

The Department of Biotechnology, Union Ministry of Science and Technology, has recently sanctioned a grant of Rs. 1 crore to set up the outdoor continuous running seawater facility to carry forward this research, Vaibhav A Mantri, senior scientist and scientist in-charge of the Research station said. The CSIR had also given a matching grant to establish the state-of- the-art research laboratory under this programme, he told The Hindu .

“The aim is to achieve effective need-based sporulation, preservation of gemlings, selection of fast growing strains at outdoor tanks and develop improved varieties of desired traits,” he said adding “with these efforts we envisage to bring new edible seaweeds under the ambit of commercial cultivation for the benefit of rural coastal population of our country.”

Seaweed was generally regarded as marine vegetable and consumed as direct human food. The extracts from seaweeds were used as food additives and as ingredients of functional food, pet food, fertilizers, bio-fuel, cosmetics and medicines, he said.

About 65 per cent of the 221 marine algae had been exploited for edible purpose and the marine algal biomass was widely used in the snack food industry, he said. Research studies showed that incorporation of most common edible green alga Enteromorpha compress in snack food could increase iron and calcium content to about five fold.

The antioxidant potential of several marine algae was being studied and it appeared that some of these species could be utilised for potential health benefits. “Our studies showed that the mineral content of edible red alga Porphyra vietnamensis is higher than land vegetables,” he said.

There were about 1,000 types of snack foods and the market was driven by creating innovative snack foods.

However, commercial cultivation of edible seaweeds required more systematic attention on their life cycle, phenology and effective control on reproduction as these seaweeds, unlike phycocolloid yielding species, propagated only through spore culture, he said.



Seaweed is generally regarded as marine vegetable and consumed as direct human food



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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 10:42:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/mass-growth-of-food-algae-in-nursery-stage-under-research/article7672416.ece

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