BOTANICAL & SUPPLEMENT INGREDIENTS
Seaweeds are one of our greatest health secrets - a true 'super' functional ingredient. It may seem surprising that marine plants could offer such a plethora of functions for one's health, well being and personal care. The benefits of seaweeds have been known for a long time and modern science is increasingly revealing and confirming biological activities and benefits of these under-appreciated marine plants.
Technically speaking, there are three major classes of seaweeds or "macroalgae" as referred to by scientists. These include green seaweeds (Chlorophyta), brown seaweeds (Phaeophyta) and the red seaweeds (Rhodophyta). Although all seaweeds use light and photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide into useful energy to grow, they also contain a wide variety of additional light sensitive pigments enabling them to capture this light energy from the various depths of the water in which they live. It is the presence of these additional pigments that give seaweeds their wide range of colours.
Acadian Seaplants Limited offers a variety of premium brown and red seaweeds. The Specialty Ingredients Division has expertise in the harvesting and processing of wild seaweed species used in botanical and supplement applications. Each species has unique properties which make it suitable for specific commercial applications.
Each seaweed species grows in its own specific environment on the shoreline. The key factors determining distribution and horizontal banding on the shore include the amount of time the seaweeds are left uncovered by the tide, the depth of water the seaweed grows in at high tide and the degree of shelter from pounding waves provided by the shoreline. These micro-environments are often well defined and enable us to harvest specific seaweeds of optimal quality.
Even though dietary consumption of seaweeds in Western countries is gaining popularity, their primary use remains the production of hydrocolloids such as alginate, agar, and carrageenan, which finds commercial applications as various thickeners and gelling agents in various industries such as structured foods, toothpastes, dyes, paints, and medical growth media.
Numerous bioactive components have been identified in seaweeds in the recent past. These include a structurally diverse set of active biomolecules, such as carotenoids, terpenoids, polyphenols, sulphated polysaccharides, peptides, and carbohydrates that exhibit a range of biological properties, including antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor activities. With some additional research seaweeds have considerable potential to be much more widely used as raw material sources of natural biochemicals with wide-ranging medicinal and industrial uses.