Health benefits of Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum)

Posted on: 06/15/2016 - Viewed: 24958
Health benefits of Rockweed (Ascophyllum nodosum)

Ascophyllum nodosum is a large, common brown alga (Phaeophyceae) in the family Fucaceae, being the only species in the genus Ascophyllum. It is seaweed of the northern Atlantic Ocean.

Common names:

Rockweed, Norwegian kelp, knotted kelp, knotted wrack or egg wrack

It is common on the north-western coast of Europe (from Svalbard to Portugal) including east Greenland and the north-eastern coast of North America.

Description

Ascophyllum nodosum has long fronds with large egg-shaped air-bladders set in series at regular intervals in the fronds and not stalked. The fronds can reach 2 m in length and are attached by a holdfast to rocks and boulders. The fronds are olive-brown in color and somewhat compressed but without a mid-rib.

Life history is of one diploid and gametes. The gametes are produced in conceptacles embedded in yellowish receptacles on short branches.

Varieties and forms

Several different varieties and forms of this species have been described.

Ascophyllum nodosum var. minor has been described from Larne Lough in Northern Ireland. There are free floating ecads of this species such as Ascophyllum nodosum mackaii Cotton, which is found at very sheltered locations, such as at the heads of sea lochs in Scottland and Ireland.

Ecology

Ascophyllum nodosum is found mostly on sheltered sites on shores in the mid-littoral where it can become the dominant species in the littoral zone.

The species is found in a range of coastal habitats from sheltered estuaries to moderately exposed coasts, often it dominates the inter-tidal zone (although sub-tidal populations are known to exist in very clear waters). However it is rarely found on exposed shores, and if it is found the fronds are usually small and badly scratched. This seaweed grows quite slowly, 0.5% per day; carrying capacity is about 40 kg wet weight per square meter and it may live for 10–15 years. It may typically overlap in distribution with Fucus vesiculosus and Fucus serratus. Its distribution is also limited by salinity, wave exposure, temperature, desiccation and general stress. These and other attributes of the algae are summarized in Schonbeck & Norton (1980). It may take approximately five years before becoming fertile.

Phlorotannins in Ascophyllum nodosum act as chemical defenses against the marine herbivorous snail, Littorina littorea.

Vertebrata lanosa (L.) T.A. Christensen is a small red alga, commonly found growing in dense tufts on Ascophyllum whose rhizoids penetrate the host. It is considered by some as parasitic, however as it only receives structural support from Knotted Wrack (i.e. non-parasitically), it acts as an epiphyte.

Distribution

Recorded in Europe from: Faroe Islands, Norway, Ireland, Britain and Isle of Man, Netherlands.

North America: Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, Baffin Island, Hudson Strait, Labrador and Newfoundland. It has been recorded as an accidental introduction to San Francisco, California, and as a potentially invasive species eradicated.

Common Uses:

Ascophyllum nodosum is harvested for use in alginates, fertilizers and for the manufacture of seaweed meal for animal and human consumption. It has long been used as an organic and mainstream fertilizer for many varieties of crops due to its combination of both macronutrient, (e.g. N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S) and micronutrients (e.g. Mg, Cu, Fe, Zn, etc.). It also host to cytokinins, auxin-like gibberellins, betaines, mannitol, organic acids, polysaccharides, amino acids, and proteins which are all very beneficial and widely used in agriculture. Ireland, Scotland and Norway have provided the world's principal alginate supply.

Ascophyllum nodosum is frequently used as packaging material for baitworm and lobster shipments from New England to various domestic and international locations. Ascophyllum itself has occasionally been introduced to California, and several species frequently found in baitworm shipments, including Carcinus maennas and Littorina saxatilis may have been introduced to the San Francisco Bay region this way.

Toxicological uses

Because the age of the different parts of A. nodosum can be identified by its shoots, A. nodusum has also been used to monitor concentrations of heavy metals in sea water. A concentration factor for zinc has been reported to be of the order 10 to the fourth.

Chemistry

nodosum contains the phlorotannins tetraphlorethol C and tetrafucol A.

Harvesting controversy

There is controversy over impacts of commercial harvesting of Ascophyllum nodosum for use in garden or crop fertilizers and livestock feed supplements in North America and Europe. Some research has been focused on by-catch and impact on Intertidal zone communities. Opponents of wild Ascophyllum harvests point to the algae's high habitat value for over 100 marine species,[ including benthic invertebrates, commercially important fish, wild ducks, shorebirds, and sea birds Shoreland owners in Maine as well as federal, state, and local agencies in the United States have placed their conservation lands off limits to Ascophyllum removal. Rockweed harvesters point to the value of the seasonal jobs created by the harvest operation.

 

Nutritional Content of Ascophyllum Nodosum

Nutrient

Amount

Unit

Ref.

Ash

17-20

%

(3)

Crude protein

5-10

%

(3)

Total fatty acids

44670

Microgram/g dry matter

(1)

Total fiber

8.8

g/100g dry weight

(2)

Soluble fiber

7.5

g/100g dry weight

(2)

Carbohydrates

13.1

g/100g dry weight

(2)

Calcium

575

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Potassium

765

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Magnesium

225

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Sodium

1173.8

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Copper

0.8

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Iron

14.9

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Iodine

18.2

mg/100g wet weight

(2)

Vitamin B1

0.216

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin B2

0.058

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin B6

0.001

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin B8

0.001

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin B9

3.648

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin C

0.654

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin E

0.029

mg/8g dry weight

(2)

Vitamin B12

0.131

microgram/100g wet weight

(2)

Alginic acid

28

g/100g

(2)

Fucoidan

11.6

g/100g

(2)

Laminarin

4.5

g/100g

(2)

Mannitol

7.5

g/100g

(2)

 

We have this available on https://seatechbioproducts.com/rockweed-ascophyllum-nodosum-human-nutrition-powder-25kg.html

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascophyllum

(1) van Ginneken at al, Polyunsaturated fatty acids in various macroalgal species from North Atlantic and tropical seas (full text)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131239/

(2) MacArtain, Nutritional value of edible seaweeds

http://li123-4.members.linode.com/files/Nutritional%20Value%20of%20Edible%20Seaweeds.pdf

(3) FAO Corporate Document Repository

http://www.fao.org/docrep/X5819E/x5819e04.htm

 

 

 

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