Seaweed Hydrocolloid Production: An Update on Enzyme Assisted Extraction and Modification Technologies

Nanna Rhein-Knudsen, Marcel Tutor Ale, Anne S. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

825 Downloads (Pure)


Agar, alginate, and carrageenans are high-value seaweed hydrocolloids, which are used as gelation and thickening agents in different food, pharmaceutical, and biotechnological applications. The annual global production of these hydrocolloids has recently reached 100,000 tons with a gross market value just above US$ 1.1 billion. The techno-functional properties of the seaweed polysaccharides depend strictly on their unique structural make-up, notably degree and position of sulfation and presence of anhydro-bridges. Classical extraction techniques include hot alkali treatments, but recent research has shown promising results with enzymes. Current methods mainly involve use of commercially available enzyme mixtures developed for terrestrial plant material processing. Application of seaweed polysaccharide targeted enzymes allows for selective extraction at mild conditions as well as tailor-made modifications of the hydrocolloids to obtain specific functionalities. This review provides an update of the detailed structural features of κ-, ι-, λ-carrageenans, agars, and alginate, and a thorough discussion of enzyme assisted extraction and processing techniques for these hydrocolloids.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMarine Drugs
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3340-3359
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (


  • Seaweed
  • Carrageenan
  • Alginate
  • Agar
  • Enzymatic extraction


Dive into the research topics of 'Seaweed Hydrocolloid Production: An Update on Enzyme Assisted Extraction and Modification Technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this