Carrageenans
The Seaweed Site
May 16, 2016
http://www.seaweed.ie/uses_general/carrageenans.php

Happy Sunday BEST Community,

As many of you already know, this week in the Bioenergy and Sustainability school we are looking a the industrial applications of algae. Which of course, is a very exciting topic for us as interns. So far this week we have seen various applications of algae and the possibilities to encorportate this CO2 connoisseur into our daily lives seems to be endless. 

In addition to the oils, plastics, and CO2 absorbance sites previously talked about, another interesting industrial application of this incredible plant is a stabilizing agent for many of our favorite foods such as ice cream and milk. The most common type of algae used for this particular purpose is Carrageenan. Carrageenan is used today in countless products found in the United States, and you probably had no idea. The algae acts as a anti-separation mechanism in various milk based products and in particular, chocolate milk. The algae prevents the chocolate from fractionating out of the milk itself and furthermore the whey within the milk separating all together. Furthermore, carrageenan is now found in antiviral drugs such as HIV medications due to its anti-microbial properties. 

It truly is amazing what can be done with algae and the endless uses it seems to have. Next time you crack open your favorite chocolate milk, take a look on the label. You might have been consuming algae for years and not even know it!

Blaze Walsh
Undergraduate Intern
2016 Bio Energy and Sustainability School
Soil and Water Science Department 
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