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Background of Study

Macroscopic marine algae, popularly known as seaweeds, form one of the important living resources of the ocean. Agar, carrageenan and alginate are popular examples of seaweeds these have been used as food for human beings, feed for animals, fertilizers for plants and source of various chemicals. In the recent past, seaweeds have also been gaining momentum as new experimental systems for biological research and integrated aquaculture systems. Seaweed products are used in our daily lives in one or the other way. For example, some seaweed polysaccharides are employed in the manufacture of toothpastes, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, milk, ice creams, meat, processed food, air fresheners and a host of other items. In several oriental countries like Japan, China, Korea, etc., seaweeds are a staple part of the diet. Some typical examples of seaweed applications are narrated below.

Agar is widely used in paper manufacturing, culture media, packaging material, photography, leather industry, plywood manufacturing, preservation of foodstuffs, dairy industry, cosmetics industry and pharmaceutical industry. Carrageenan is employed in food industry. Its value in the manufacture of sausages, corned beef, meat balls, ham, preparations of poultry and fish, chocolates, dessert gels, ice creams, juice concentrates, marmalade, sardine sauces is well known. It is also used in the manufacturing of non-food items like beer, air fresheners, textiles, toothpastes, hair shampoos, tissues, culture media, fungicides, etc. The applications  of alginate find place in frozen foods, pastry fillings, syrups, bakery icings, dry mixes, meringues, frozen desserts, instant puddings, cooked puddings, chiffons, pie and pastry fillings, dessert gels, fabricated foods, salad dressings, meat and flavour sauces.

The “folk medicine” in coastal zones made extensive use of a variety of seaweed species. Knowledge of the tonic and healing powers of seaweed was passed down among coastal peoples from generation to generation because the mineral content of sea vegetables is extraordinary, and is seen as the root of most of their healing properties. Seaweed has been part of the traditional diet of all coastal cultures, like Japan and China, Hawaii, Wales, Scotland, Iceland, and Ireland. With advances in medicine today, the reasons behind the success of some of these treatments are being elucidated, because we now understand more of the nutritional and biochemical properties of different seaweeds or algae. There are certain medicinal properties for the seaweeds. Seaweeds rich in iodine such as Asparagopsis taxiformis and Sarconema sp. can also be used for controlling goiter disease caused by enlargement of thyroid gland. Indian marine algae have all the essential amino acids needed in the human diet which are not available in other vegetable food materials. Seaweeds yield the most important products such as agar-agar and algin. Tliey are colloidal carbohydrates present in the cell walls of these algae. 

Agar-agar is extracted from seaweeds such as Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis, G. folifera, G. corticata and G. verrucosa. Algin is extracted from species of Sargassum and Turbinaria by Chennubhotla (1996).

Seaweeds constitute a source of non-phytoplankton production; provide energy for associated grazers and contribute remarkably to the benthic detritus food chains. From an ecological perspective, seaweeds are providers of the structural integrity of many biotopes especially low energy shores where they are predominant in terms of size and occupiers of space. Seaweed beds also form important habitat for fishes and invertebrates. In addition, they are useful as indicators of climate change; can be used to study   diversity   patterns and are particularly useful for planning the conservation and sustainable use of inshore marine resources (John and Lawson, 1991; Jennings, et al., 2001; Bolton, et al., 2003). An earliest record of seaweeds utilization dates to 13,000 years ago at a late Pleistocene settlement in Chile. Other archaeological evidences also indicate that seaweeds have been included in folk medicine for many thousands of years in Japan (13,000-300 BC), China (2700 BC), Egypt  (1550  BC)  and  India  (300  BC) (NAAS, 2003; Teas, 2005). Being excellent sources of vitamins, amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, growth hormones, micro- and macro-elements including iodine, many seaweed species are used as food throughout Asia and the Pacific region. Furthermore, occurrence of goitre is very rare among the seaweed-eating populations in Japan and other South-East  Asian  countries (King, 2007).Industrial utilization of seaweeds began with the production of soda and potash from the brown seaweeds for manufacture of soap, glass and iodine (Dhargalkar and Verlecar, 2009), while industrialization of seaweed polysaccharides or phycocolloids as thickening, binding, stabilizing, gelling, emulsifying, clarifying and protecting agents expanded in the second half of the 20th century (Mc Hugh, 2001). Development of the phyco supplement industry with various utilizations in pharmaceuticals, botanicals, nutraceuticals, cosmeceuticals, fish and animal feed additives, agrichemicals, soil additives and as sources of natural pigments, bioactive substances, antiviral agents etc., is in full expansion (Chopin, 2007).

Commercially available varieties of marine macro algae are commonly referred to as seaweeds. Macro algae can be classified as red algae (Rhodophyta), brown algae (Phaeophyta) or green algae (Chlorophyta) depending on their nutrient and chemical composition. Seaweeds serve as an important source of bioactive natural substances. They   have   some   of   the   valuable   medicinal   value components   such   as   antibiotics,   antioxidant   (Lekameera et al., 2007), anticoagulants,    anti-ulcer    products    and   suspending agents   in   radiological   preparations.   Fresh   and   dry seaweeds are extensively consumed by people especially living in the coastal areas.  From the literature, it is observed that the edible seaweeds contain a significant amount of the protein, vitamins and minerals essential for the human nutrition (Fayaz et al., 2005).

Seaweeds were the source of about 35% of newly discovered chemicals followed by sponges (27%) and cnidarians (22%) between 1977 and 1987 (Smit, 2004). Currently, Carraguard, a non- spermicidal microbicide containing carrageenan, a red seaweed derivative has been clinically tested to be a promising product capable of blocking the transmission of HIV/AIDS and lowering the risks of women in contracting the disease (Robertson- Andersson, 2007). Regular consumption of dietary seaweed in Japan and Korea is attributed to low prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS and low risks of various cancers (Teas, 2005). However, as demand for phycocolloids is expected to increase by 8-10% every year. (Dhargalkar and Verlecar, 2009), a much higher demand for seaweed natural products should be expected from the rapid development of novel applications in the phyco supplement industry culture, and utilization as food.

Statement of Problem

Many human body substances require particular mineral elements as part(s) of their respective structure. Examples are iron for hemoglobin and iodine for thyroxine. For our bodies to function, we use proteins called enzymes. Most enzymes require one or more coenzymatic factors; these coenzymatic factors are usually one or more metal cations. Chronic dietary shortages or disease-related mineral depletions can produce both specific and general disease conditions: Iodine shortage results in varying degrees of thyroid dysfunction; poor absorption of dietary calcium can result in osteoporosis. Adequate residential body mineral supplies are critical for optimal body system functioning. My personal observations support the notion that non-specific disease categories such as Chronic Fatigue, lack of energy, subclinical depression and depressed immunity are probably due to inadequate minerals either in the diet and /or in the body. Many times I have seen chronically exhausted patients exhibit complete symptom resolution after several weeks of adding 5-10 grams of seaweeds to their daily diets.

Research Objectives

1.To undergo the extraction yield from different algae

2.To determine the Total Phenolic Content

3.To find out the Antioxidant Activity

Research Question

What is the extraction yield from different algae?

What is the Total Phenolic Content?

What is the Antioxidant Activity?

Significance of Study

The study will be of great importance to researchers in the field of medical research on the use of algae extract to reduce the prevalence of certain chronic diseases like HIV\AIDS, Cancer and other bacterial infections. The research will also as a source of reference to another researcher on the same scope.

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