Origin: Algae constitute a polyphyletic group since they do not include a common ancestor, and although their plastids seem to have a single origin, from cyanobacteria, they were acquired in different ways. Green algae are examples of algae that have primary chloroplasts derived from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. Diatoms are examples of algae with secondary chloroplasts derived from an endosymbiotic red alga..
Function & characteristics: Algae (/ˈældʒiː/ or /ˈælɡiː/; singular alga /ˈælɡə/, Latin for “seaweed”) are a very large and diverse group of eukaryotic organisms, ranging from unicellular genera such as Chlorella and the diatoms to multicellular forms such as the giant kelp, a large brown alga that may grow up to 50 meters in length. Most are autotrophic and lack many of the distinct cell and tissue types found in land plants such as stomata, xylem and phloem. The largest and most complex marine algae are called seaweeds, while the most complex freshwater forms are the Charophyta, a division of algae that includes Spirogyra and the stoneworts.There is no generally accepted definition of algae. One definition is that algae “have chlorophyll as their primary photosynthetic pigment and lack a sterile covering of cells around their reproductive cells”. Other authors exclude all prokaryotes and thus do not consider cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) as algae.Algae constitute a polyphyletic group since they do not include a common ancestor, and although their plastids seem to have a single origin, from cyanobacteria, they were acquired in different ways. Green algae are examples of algae that have primary chloroplasts derived from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. Diatoms are examples of algae with secondary chloroplasts derived from an endosymbiotic red alga.
Products: Agar, Alginates, Energy source, Fertilizer, Nutrition, Pollution control, Bioremediation, Pigments, Stabilizing substances
Daily intake:Naturally growing seaweeds are an important source of food, especially in Asia. They provide many vitamins including: A, B1, B2, B6, niacin and C, and are rich in iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium. In addition commercially cultivated microalgae, including both algae and cyanobacteria, are marketed as nutritional supplements, such as Spirulina, Chlorella and the Vitamin-C supplement, Dunaliella, high in beta-carotene.Algae are national foods of many nations: China consumes more than 70 species, including fat choy, a cyanobacterium considered a vegetable; Japan, over 20 species; Ireland, dulse; Chile, cochayuyo. Laver is used to make “laver bread” in Wales where it is known as bara lawr; in Korea, gim; in Japan, nori and aonori. It is also used along the west coast of North America from California to British Columbia, in Hawaii and by the Māori of New Zealand. Sea lettuce and badderlocks are a salad ingredient in Scotland, Ireland, Greenland and Iceland.The oils from some algae have high levels of unsaturated fatty acids. For example, Parietochloris incisa is very high in arachidonic acid, where it reaches up to 47% of the triglyceride pool. Some varieties of algae favored by vegetarianism and veganism contain the long-chain, essential omega-3 fatty acids, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids, but the original source is algae (microalgae in particular), which are eaten by marine life such as copepods and are passed up the food chain. Algae have emerged in recent years as a popular source of omega-3 fatty acids for vegetarians who cannot get long-chain EPA and DHA from other vegetarian sources such as flaxseed oil, which only contains the short-chain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).
Dietary restrictions: Yes
The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information. Foodnet India encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional.