Eucheuma spinosum J. Agardh , nom. Gmelin Weber Bosse Vernacular names Usually the vernacular names are common names for all Eucheuma and Kappaphycus spp.

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Eucheuma denticulatum Description Eucheuma denticulatum, a perennial red seaweed, is composed of rigid clumps of low-growing, cartilaginous thalli. These clumps can range in size depending on growing conditions, but are able to reach considerable size, up to 50 centimeters in length and weighing over 1 kilogram. The primary axis and regularly spaced branches are cylindrical, each bearing whorled spinose spine-like branchlets which sometimes develop into secondary lateral branches. This one species can be found in a variety of shades from brown to green to red, especially when cultivated.

This algae has the unique ability of its branches to form secondary holdfasts to other plants as well as the substrate, forming thick carpet-like beds of seaweed where individual plants are hard to distinguish. This growth pattern coupled with the strength of the holdfasts enables Eucheuma denticulatum to withstand such strong water movement without being torn up or shredded. Quite the contrary, it seems to prefer such a harsh environment as it has never been recorded in calm or protected habitats.

However, the primary cause for cultivation of this seaweed is as the major source of the hydrocolloid known as iota carrageenan, which has unique properties that distinguish it from other carrageenans and make it a valuable asset in many applications from the food industry to cosmetic products. Iota carrageenan is also considered a phycocolloid, meaning a hydrocolloid that is derived from seaweed. It is one of three carrageenans, the others being kappa and lambda.

Some of the main advantages of using iota as a thickening or a gelling compound is that it yields more elastic or softer gels, as opposed to kappa, which is a source of more rigid or brittle gels. When constructing formulas using iota carrageenan, it is important to note that it reacts best with the presence of calcium such as with milk or cream. It is also important to note that gels made using iota have the ability to be frozen and then thawed before use.

This makes it possible to make a base and to mold it and freeze it or keep it frozen and to take it out before service, thus prolonging the shelf life of the gel. In the s, cultivation began in both countries and this now supplies most of these species, with only small quantities being collected from the wild. Several cultivars are known but only a small number are successfully and widely cultivated. This longer line could be secured at either end to a stake, another line, a frame, or a raft.

Harvesting occurs every 4 to 6 weeks, and depending on the method, can involve bringing in entire lines, or un-tying each piece of seaweed directly.

A thicker line runs between the "ends" of the rectangle. Between these ends, long 10 - 20 meter thick lines are run, and the seedlings are secured to these long lines via "tie-ties". An off-bottom farm may become exposed to open air for short periods of time at certain low tides, although it remains submerged most of the time. An advantage of the off-bottom method is that it can be visited at slack and low tides without a boat, and it is often closer to the home of the farmer.

Disadvantages include proximity to rainwater runoff, which can reduce growth or trigger ice-ice disease, susceptability to higher temperatures, and also these shallow water farms can be more vulnerable to grazers such as rabbitfish. The "long-line method" can be used in deeper water, and requires the use of floats, which can be small buoys, but are often simply empty plastic water jugs or bottles with the caps still secured.

These lines can be dozens of meters long. An advantage of this approach is that much greater farming areas can be exploited by a farming community. There are higher operational costs due to required use of boats, and more maintenance to periodically untangle the long lines. Rafts are more expensive to construct, but they offer the convenience of being towed in to shore for harvest and replacement with new seedlings.

Then, the farmer can boat back with the replenished raft in tow to the float, and re-secure the raft. In general, the rafts are less susceptible to becoming entangled with each other than the long lines. A "basket method" has emerged in certain areas in the Philippines and Indonesia, which is similar to the raft method, but uses floating baskets. There is an additional cost for the baskets, and more substantial floats are required, but work effort is reduced by eliminating the tedious work associated with tie-ties each harvest.

Studies have also shown that this species can be useful as bioremediation for wastewater and nutrient saturated areas, especially around fish farms.


Biology and ecology of Kappaphycus alvarezii and Eucheuma denticulatum [1999]



Eucheuma denticulatum




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