Seaweed Aquaculture for Food and Fuels

Man doing aquaculture with text overlay that says Seaweed Aquaculture for Food and Fuels

Seaweed Aquaculture for Food and Fuels

The farming of seaweeds is increasingly becoming a common and highly competitive source for food production as well as other non-food utilization such as for livestock, pharmaceutical, commercial, and biofuel productions. All these diverse uses point to the growing importance of biomass in the global food and non-food market. Seaweeds farming has experienced exponential growth over the last decade, although mostly confined to the traditional Asian countries that have used seaweeds for traditionally over many years. However, other countries are slowly taking up seaweed farming due to its many beneficial nutritional and economic benefits.

What makes Seaweed Aquaculture tick?

Seaweeds do not require any advanced technologies to farm. It only requires the use of the available sea and ocean land where it is cultivated and matures very quickly. Seaweed farming does not need any fertilizers or pesticides, and this has multiple benefits to the health-conscious people as well as the environmentally conscious people. This form of farming results in sustainable agriculture that does not negatively affect our environment and also provides us with healthy foods on our tables.

Seaweed aquaculture for food

Seaweeds are a highly nutritious superfood that is rich in proteins, vital minerals such as iodine, potassium, and iron, as well as essential amino acids, and vitamins that are readily available in terrestrial plants. In several Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Malaysia, seaweeds have been a traditional food dating back thousands of years. China has one of the longest histories of seaweed utilization as food. In contrast, Japan has used seaweeds extensively in the preparation of their traditional sushi meal, while Malaysians commonly eat seaweeds raw as a salad. One advantage of seaweeds is that it is grown and matures very fast. Kelp, a form of seaweed, has been noted to increase at 30 centimeters a day with one acre of sea area having the potential to produce 25 tons of green seaweeds.

Seaweed consumption is beneficial to human health. Not only does seaweed provide an unusual and alternative food source, but it has been shown to possess several anticancer, antiviral, and anticoagulant properties. All these properties help in controlling and abetting chronic diseases such as obesity, cancer, and diabetes.

Seaweed aquaculture for fuels

As the world clamors for action on climate change, there is a notable shift away from fossil-based fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. This is because they are slowly depleting and are still some of the leading causes of global warming that is among other things leading to rising sea levels and increased hurricanes. One alternative to fossil-based fuels is biofuels. Seaweeds are an excellent source of biofuels. While compared to terrestrial bioethanol such as sugarcane and corn, seaweeds have a higher biomass yield and high carbohydrate contents, which are the essential factors for biofuel production. There is ongoing research on getting the best seaweed species that will be ideal for producing bioethanol. Scientists predict that as the world’s climate continues to heat up, the best place to grow biofuel producing plants will be in the sea.

You might also like these articles:

  1. Seaweed and the Environment
  2. The Many Uses of Seaweed
  3. The Amazon Rainforest is Vanishing Faster Than Ever


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