The Commercial Use of Carrageenan

| September 25, 2016

To answer your question, what is carrageenan, can be answered by knowing the use of the carrageenan. The use of the carrageenan has been wide in many products, even the commercial one. You may not realize that the use of the carrageenan can be found in many products which you usually consume. Maybe, it is time for you to know the commercial product which uses carrageenan as the additional ingredient.

How the carrageenan is used in commercial product


The main commercial sources of carrageenan used to be the subtidal Irish moss beds in the cold-water Maritime Provinces of Canada. It is where up to 65,000 wet tonnes of moss were gathered annually in the 1970s. Besides that, the bulk of harvest is collected using long-handled rakes and specially-designed dredges from asmall boat. Nowadays, the amount of the carrageenan is about 35,000 wet tonnes. The process includes drying the seaweed, instead of spreading and air-drying or using rotary dryers. After that, it is exported to other countries. Decades ago, carrageenan was exported from Ireland to USA and Denmark for processing.

The various market requirement and problems with supply led to the development of an aquaculture industry for other warm—water carrageenan-producers, such as iEucheumaand Kappaphycus. Then, it is the first originated in the Philippines, as the simple process of tying vegetative fragments of the plants onto monolines (the strong nylon line) which are attached to stakes or rafts. It allowed the seaweed to grow for several weeks and the product is then harvested by hand and dried. The red algae are totipotent, so it is quite small fragments which will grow into entirely new plants. For commercial use or industry, it is a good method for coastal communities and cultivation techniques. It has spread to south-eastern Asia and around the Indian Ocean rim.

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