The secret life of seaweed

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First of all, seaweed isn't a plant. It's algae, macro-algae if you must, a collection of single-cell marine life. And there's not just one species. What the Japanese grow, harvest, and eat is nothing like the seaweed off our own coast. And that coast would be Maine, actually, which is already turning into a major resource for edible and commercial seaweed. One reason: the Gulf of Maine has both the highest and lowest tides in the world. Eelgrass? Kelp? Both seaweeds. Marine life couldn't go on without them.

Some three dozen countries are involved in seaweed production, with China and Indonesia leading the way. It's a $6 billion industry, most of which is used for food, but seaweed will one day power cars and planes, or make electricity too.

How many kinds of seaweed are there? Could be as many as a million species.

Where did I learn all this? Well, a woman by the name of Susan Hand Shetterly has just published a book called Seaweed Chonicles, A World at the Water's Edge, and she knows. Official publication date is Tuesday.

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This page contains a single entry by Cornichon published on August 4, 2018 10:00 AM.

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