Algae is the green slime you see in ponds or in a fish tank and the long brown/red/green strands of seaweed you see on the beach or in rockpools. Already millions of people around the world eat seaweed from Japan to Chile, South Africa to Belize and even in England. In fact you've probably eaten food with seaweed in it and not noticed it as chemicals from seaweed are used in many sweets, desserts, meat products and even drinks!
The benefits of seaweed are many. It is very nutritious as it has lots of good minerals and vitamins for the body. These include vitamin A, which helps fight off colds and viruses and calcium which is good for your bones and teeth. Seaweed is also easy to grow and doesn't take up precious land space as it's grown in water. It grows quickly and can even grow in polluted waters and in places where normal food crops wouldn't survive.
Algae facts -
- Algae is the most important organism on earth as it provides nearly all of earth's oxygen which we need to breathe!
- Algae is eaten by everything from the tiniest shrimp to the largest living animal, the blue whale.
- The first plants on earth evolved from shallow freshwater algae some 400 million years ago
- Fuels used in cars and aeroplanes may be powered by algae in the future.
- Algae can also be grown as feed for animals and as fertiliser to spread on soil and help crops grow.