Nature’s Most Effective Absorber of Toxic Pollutants
What is Alginate from Seaweed?
Alginate derived from seaweed is reported in technical journals and articles worldwide as nature’s most effective absorber of toxic pollutants. Algae has proven to be a bio sorbent for heavy metals with major advantages over conventional treatment methods. Specific alginate is refined from brown seaweed and is a polysaccharide distributed widely in the cell walls of brown algae.
In addition to a wide-range of environmental uses, it is also considered a natural and safe product in foods, textiles and pharmaceuticals.
Another remarkable function that has been discovered about alginates, is their unique ability to absorb pollutants such as ammonia, bacteria, organics and heavy metals in cleaning wastewater.
After the extraction of alginate from brown seaweeds, there is an insoluble waste product, mostly cellulose, and the absorbing properties of this have been tested and found to be equal to the original brown seaweeds. So, there is the potential to use either seaweed or residues and alginates from seaweed extraction.
In the book Seaweed Ecology and Physiology by Dr. Catriona L. Hurd and Paul J. Harrison, they point out that “some metals such as Cu, Pb, and Sr, may be passively adsorbed by the charged polysaccharides in the cell wall and intercellular matrix and other metals (e.g. Zn, Cu, Cd) are taken up actively against large intracellular concentration gradient’s.
The natural accumulation pollutants including heavy metals (such as copper, nickel, lead, zinc and cadmium) by seaweeds became apparent when those seaweeds used as human foods were first analyzed. The heavy metal content, especially of the large brown seaweeds, varied according to their geographic source and sometimes to their proximity to industrial waste outlets. From these studies came the idea of using seaweeds as biological indicators of heavy metal pollution.
Research has shown that seaweeds can help remove acid from water. In fact, experiments in the Yellow Sea in northeastern China where the seaweed Laminaria japonica are grown, it was shown that seaweeds absorb carbon dioxide in the water through photosynthesis.
Many seaweeds, including kelp, thrive in acidifying ocean waters. They take up carbon dioxide and nutrients from their environment, improving water quality as they grow by drawing down levels of the dissolved acid along with nitrogen and phosphorus. Seaweeds also give off oxygen, which can help with dead zones. Various species of seaweed are able to extract toxic compounds from seawater and point to the brown seaweed, Undaria pinnatifida, known as wakame in Japan as having been the focus of research in this area for almost a decade.
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