Algas marinas

During the Forum of seawater and seaweed in which we have been last week, we had the opportunity to chat with one of the people who know more about algae: Professor and biologist Leonel Pereira, from the University of Coimbra (Portugal). Pereira is a strong advocate of including algae in our diet. We at Just the Sea, we also declare ourselves “algae” and to introduce you to the consumption of algae we have perfect snacks with some of the best known species: Wakane, sea spaghetti, Kombu, barnacle seaweed or sea lettuce.

But why if we are a coastal country, with two seas and an ocean, we consume few algae? Pereira explained the reason: all the main algae consumers in the world are countries that, apart from being coastal, have another sad characteristic in common, being involved in the first and second world war. In these periods of history the population is forced to look for other sources of food different from the habitual ones and thus it happened to China, Japan, France, or England that are great consumers of algae.

In Spain we consume mostly brown or brown algae, which are those found in the Atlantic. However, according to Professor Pereira this situation will change and due to the global warming that is affecting the sea temperature, there will be an increase in red algae in the Atlantic. This will lead to the industry that has settled in recent years, have to adapt to this change.

Pereira recommends that people who extract algae for consumption should receive prior training, as with mushrooms, especially to respect a natural resource on which marine ecosystems depend.


Seaweed Drugs

Also about algae but about its pharmacological and dermocosmetic application, we talked with Lourdes Mourelle, researcher of Applied Physics at the University of Vigo. Lourdes is part of the first publication, coordinated by the College University of Dublin, on a scientific study of pharmacological products made from bioactive substances from algae, especially to treat inflammatory processes, resulting in less aggressive drugs and with less side effects . Mourelle has been responsible for conducting the scientific review of this publication, of which Vigo’s researcher is the only Spanish who participates.