Rights: The University of Waikato Published 21 November 2007 Download

Which part of the seaweed does alginate come from? What do you think a bath of alginate might feel like?


Peter Molan (University of Waikato)

Alginate is the material that seaweeds use to make their cell wall. They don’t use cellulose like land plants. It’s a rubbery, slimy sort of thing - anyone that’s handled seaweed would know what it feels like in concentrated amounts like that. It’s dissolved out of the seaweed and purified as sodium alginate. It can be spun into vats of calcium salt solution to turn it into calcium alginate, and that’s how the fibres are formed.