Food additives from seaweeds

Seaweed Products from Irish Supermarket ShelvesFood additives made from seaweeds are mainly polysaccharides, long-chained molecules that are extracted from brown and red algae. These fall into three families: agars and carrageenans from red algae, and alginates from brown algae. Their usefulness mainly lies in their ability to emulsify, stabilise and thicken, but the fact that they come from a natural source is, these days, a major advantage. Humans do not seem to have the ability to break them down, so they are very useful in low-fat foods. Most natural colours come from higher plants such as carrots and chrysanthemums. Some coralline algae are now used as natural sources of calcium and magnesium sulphate.