CARRAGEENAN (A Seaweed Extract)

THE UNDERRATED SEAWEED

This article is written for those not too familiar with “goso”, a variety of seaweed that either grows wild under the sea or cultured (farmed).

“Goso” is the local term we use to name a seaweed belonging to a genus of tropical sea water plant called eucheuma that can grow in different colors. Some can be either brown or green.

“Goso” is the variety of seaweeds we see being sold in the market, by which manner of preparing it, mainly for food, is having it pickled with vinegar, after blanching it for a very short time. Slices of fresh tomato, spring onions and, perhaps, some crushed ginger may be added and mixed to your taste.

What we see in the market are either the variety belonging to the eucheuma cottonii or the eucheuma spinosum. You can distinguish one from the other through the surface appearance of its branches. The former has smooth, rounded surfaces while the latter exhibits thorny or spiky surfaces.

What are being sold in the market mostly come from the farms.

This article will not be discussing the manner these variety of seaweeds are grown and in what under sea water habitat it prefers to grow.

Neither shall this article be talking, for better understanding, about the chemical and technical aspects of production resulting to certain characteristics of its final hydrocolloid product called carrageenan.

For the information of those unfamiliar, hydrocolloid is a substance that forms gel with water.

What this article simply wants to do is make people aware about the versatility and the countless uses/applications of eucheuma’s extracted end-product called carrageenan.

Needless to say that it is not in consuming the seaweed, raw, that earns money for the farmers and taxes for government.

It is in exporting the seaweed, either as dried raw material, semi-refined and refined carrageenan that helps sustain the economy of this country.

The profitability of eucheuma farming and carrageenan processing are solid measures of a product’s significant contribution to the national wealth.

The eucheuma variety of seaweed, therefore, that the Philippines grow in abundance should not be underrated nor underestimated.

Carrageenan is one of the world’s foremost food and industrial additives today.

For better appreciation, some over view of current carrageenan applications are listed below:

FOOD APPLICATION

Beer/Wine/Vinegar – accelerates and improves clarity

Chocolate milk drink – stabilizes and improves viscosity

Ice cream – prevents ice crystal formation

– enhances excellent mouthfeel

Flans/dessert gel – enhances flavor release and excellent mouthfeel

Sauces and dressings – thickens and improves viscosity

PROCESSED MEAT

Beef patty – substitute fat, retains moisture and increase

yield

Luncheon meat – prevents fat separation

– serves as meat extender

Poultry and ham – enhances juiciness and increase yield

NON-FOOD APPLICATION

Canned petfood (meat and fish) – gelling and stabilizing agent

– binder

Toothpaste – stabilizer

Air freshener – gelling agent

OTHERS

To name a few, carrageenan is also being used now in personal care and pharmaceutical products, the likes of drug delivery systems, wound dressings, cosmetics, hand lotion and shampoos.

It is even used as an additive in contraceptive gels.

Farming techniques and carrageenan production are no trade secrets anymore.

But, we are losing our grounds against Indonesia as the main seaweed producer and raw seaweed exporter because of quality problems.

Government must step in and save a very viable industry.

For a country that pioneered the farming and processing of seaweeds, we have plenty to loss.

Advertisements

12 comments on “CARRAGEENAN (A Seaweed Extract)

  1. sitti saloso says:

    sir sa mga palengke po ano po bang tawag nila sa carrageenan kc nagtanong po ako ng carrageenan di nila alam eh

    • quierosaber says:

      yong carrageenan kasi ay producto (polvos yon) na galing sa seaweed o goso pagkatapos na naluto sa chemical. Katulad lang ito ng azucal na makokoha mo pagkatapos ma iprocess ang tobo o sugar cane. Hanggat hindi mo ma polvos yong luto at tuyo na goso o ma kuha yong “extract” (katas?), saka mo na matatawag na carrageenan. Kaya seguro hindi nila alam kong ano yong carrageenan at saka hindi binibenta ito sa palengke.
      Salamat po sa pag basa sa blog ko.

  2. carolyn alcantara says:

    hello.. maaring ko bang malaman kong paano e extract ung carrageenan sa seaweeds?

    • quierosaber says:

      It is a long process, but generally you have to treat the seaweed in alkaline solution first. You can either use filtration method where you separate the gum from insoluble impurities or by alcohol precipitation. The final product from these methods is what you call refined carrageenan. You can also have the semi-refined where the material won’t undergo filtration or precipitation. After it has been treated, dried and chopped, the last step would be to ground or powder it. It may contain impurities but they are considered good fibers when you take it. It does the same job as the refined one except when applying it on a sophisticated product. Otherwise, it serves the same purpose and is much cheaper.

  3. Emma Como says:

    Hi Sir.. I am currently conducting a research involving carrageenan. My problem is that I am not really familiar with seaweeds. How can I be sure that I have the right seaweeds variety?

    • quierosaber says:

      I do not know how these two variety of seaweeds, namely, eucheuma cottonii and eucheuma spinosum are called locally from where you come from. In the Philippines, both are commonly known as “guso”. They are sometimes displayed/sold in wet public markets together with the seashells and fishes. They come greenish or brownish in color. They are sold in small quantities not to be processed but to be eaten as salad. They appear like soft twigs with plenty of little branches. The cottonii variety has smooth-like branches while spinosum, as the word connotes, is somewhat spiny, like having little thorns. These are the main sources of carrageenan. Hope this helps.

  4. Tobinh says:

    Hi Sir. Can you share me some document about chemical and application natures of carrageenan.
    your mail: tolongbinhtobinh@gmail.com
    Thanks

  5. edgar says:

    sir gudpm.maliban sa ipatuyo yong guso
    may iba pa bang paraan upang mabinta na hindi ipatuyo ?kasi problema lagi umuulan.

    • quierosaber says:

      Kailangan talaga ipatuyo yong raw seaweed kasi kong hindi, mabobolok lang yan. Mapansin mo nga kong tuyo yan, lumalabas yong asin. Yon ang nag prepreserve sa guso. Malaking warehouse ang kailangan para ma ilatag at least yong guso. Kong processed naman, kailangan rin ibilad o ipadaan sa isang mainit na blower para matuyo, kasi kong hindi mag didiscolor yong chopped seaweed.

  6. phoebe verina says:

    sir gud pm. can i replace carageenan to gelatin powder (mr. gulaman) ty.

    • quierosaber says:

      You can but if you are into business with it your product might come out expensive because the carageenan has already undergone a refining process.

Let me know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s