Brown Algae

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Brown algae are algal types defined by being multicellular and having a brown or greenish-brown color. The color is because of the predominance of brown pigments, e.g. fucoxanthin, in addition to the green pigments (chlorophyll a and c). A number of them are macroscopic. In fact, kelps are big brown seaweeds that grow in shallow oceans and form the so-called kelp forest. Fucus is another macroscopic brown algal types. They flourish in intertidal zones of rocky seasides. They are collected, dried, and processed for the commercial production of soap, glass, etc. They are likewise utilized as fertilizers.

Synonyms: Phaeophyta; Phaeophyceae; Fucophyceae.


The old scheme of classification entails 5 significant kingdoms. Among them is the kingdom Protista (protists). This group is comprised of three groups: the animal-like protozoa, the plant-like algae, and the fungus-like slime molds and water molds. Nevertheless, not all algae are tiny and unicellular as a lot of protists are understood for. Numerous brown algae are macroscopic as currently mentioned above. Algae are further divided into a number of phyla: Euglenophyta, Chrysophyta (diatoms), Pyrrophyta (dinoflagellates), Chlorophyta (green algae), Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Recent research studies and findings, though, may lead to changes in the taxonomic positions and newer systems of category. For example, the phylum Phaeophyta is now outdated in numerous modern-day recommendations. It used to be the phylum consisting of organisms commonly described as brown algae. At present, the brown algae are now members of Phaeophyceae, which is one of the taxonomic classes under the brand-new phylum, Ochrophyta.

Phaeophyceae is comprised of algal species defined by their brown or greenish-brown color due to the presence of brown pigments, such as fucoxanthin. However, apart from this class, some algal species that are brownish in color have been included here also, such as the dinoflagellates and the diatoms. Nevertheless, members of Phaeophyceae are more commonly referred to jointly as the brown algae. In contrast to the two algal groups whose members are single-celled, Phaeophyceae consists of algal species that are multicellular.

Brown algae taxonomy

Phaeophyceae is comprised of the following taxonomic orders:.

  • Ascoseirales
  • Asterocladales
  • Chordales
  • Desmarestiales
  • Dictyotales
  • Discosporangiales
  • Ectocarpales
  • Fucales
  • Ishigeales
  • Laminariales
  • Nemodermatales
  • Onslowiales
  • Phaeophyceae ordo incertae sedis
  • Phaeosiphoniellales
  • Ralfsiales
  • Scytothamnales
  • Sphacelariales
  • Sporochnales
  • Stschapoviales
  • Syringodermatales
  • Tilopteridales

General Characteristics of Brown Algae

Kelp is a brown algal species that forms the so-called kelp forest. A kelp forest provides marine types an environment. The huge kelp is considered as the longest algal species. It could reach over 50 meters long.

Phaeophyceae is a clade consisted of olive green to brown multicellular algae. The size might range from a small tuft of a few centimeters to huge kelp of over 50 meters long. Macrocystis pyrifera (huge kelp) is thought about the largest algae. Their particular greenish-brown color is credited to and depends upon the amount of fucoxanthin. Apart from this pigment, chlorophyll a and c2 are also present.

Their carb reserve is laminarin (β1-3 glucose polymer). Similar to other algal groups, brown algae manifests alternation of generations. The sporophyte is frequently the more visible type. Most of the brown algae (except for the Fucales) replicate sexually by sporic meiosis. Those that can asexual reproduction reproduce by means of motile zoospores.

The body (thallus) of Phaeophyceae lacks the vascular tissues that are present in tracheophytes. Hence, brown algae do not have real roots, stems, and leaves. The root-like structure of the brown algae is referred to as the holdfast. Similar to a true root, the holdfast acts as an anchor, avoiding the algal thallus to be swept away by the present. However, the holdfast is not the main organ for water uptake as the true root is. The stem-like part of the algal thallus is called a stipe.

In highly-differentiated brown algae such as Fucus, the stipe is consisted of 3 layers: the outer epidermis, the middle cortex, and the inner main pith. The pith may consist of a core of phloem-like cells. In other species, the pith may be hollow and gas-filled, and for that reason related to algal buoyancy. The leaf-like structure is described as a blade (when it is single and not divided), a leaf (when divided), or a lamina (when flattened). The air bladders in the thallus are called pneumatocysts. They increase algal buoyancy.

Brown algae are primarily marine and macroscopic. They thrive particularly in cold ocean waters.

Evolution and Phylogeny

Brown algae are presumed to have developed from a cooperative relationship in between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryote based on having four-membraned chloroplasts. Genetically, they are more closely related to the yellow-green algae.

Biological value

These organisms are necessary as food and as environment for lots of aquatic animals. Kelps develop a kelp forest that works as an environment for small marine animals. Sargassum, another brown algal species, supplies a floating mat as another environment for varied species. Ascophyllum nodosum can fixing carbon. Brown algae have alginate in their cell walls. It is drawn out for usage as a food thickener. Fucus types, for example, is gathered for use in soap and glass making. They are likewise utilized as fertilizers for crops. Other types are edible to humans. [1]

Economic Significance of Brown Algae

Algae are very important for their carbon fixation capability. They are a crucial part of the aquatic food chain as primary producers. Kelp forests support great deals of animals.

They are widely used as edible seaweeds, e.g. Laminaria, Sargassum, etc.

  • Alginic acid is commercially drawn out and used in the food industries as a thickening agent. It is utilized as a stabilizer in ice cream and baking markets.
  • Alginic acid is likewise used in batteries.
  • Alginic acid is used for making pills and surgical threads.
  • Several species are used as fertilizers.
  • Kelp is utilized for producing soda ash. It is utilized in the production of soap and glass.
  • Brown algae like Laminaria is rich in iodine and has been utilized to treat iodine deficiency, e.g. Goitre.
  • They have actually been utilized for medicinal functions, e.g. sodium laminarin sulphate is an anticoagulant. They also have antibiotic and vermifuge properties. [2]

Life process

A lot of brown algae, with the exception of the Fucales, perform sexual reproduction through sporic meiosis. [48] Between generations, the algae go through different sporophyte (diploid) and gametophyte (haploid) phases. The sporophyte stage is frequently the more noticeable of the two, though some species of brown algae have similar diploid and haploid phases. Free drifting kinds of brown algae typically do not undergo sexual reproduction till they attach themselves to substrate. The haploid generation consists of male and female gametophytes. The fertilization of egg cells varies between species of brown algae, and may be isogamous, oogamous, or anisogamous. Fertilization may happen in the water with eggs and motile sperm, or within the oogonium itself.

Certain species of brown algae can likewise carry out asexual reproduction through the production of motile diploid zoospores. These zoospores form in plurilocular sporangium, and can grow into the sporophyte stage instantly.

In a representative species Laminaria, there is a noticeable diploid generation and smaller haploid generations. Meiosis happens within a number of unilocular sporangium along the algae’s blade, each one forming either haploid male or female zoospores. The spores are then released from the sporangia and grow to form male and female gametophytes. The female gametophyte produces an egg in the oogonium, and the male gametophyte releases motile sperm that fertilize the egg. The fertilized zygote then becomes the fully grown diploid sporophyte.

In the order Fucales, sexual reproduction is oogamous, and the mature diploid is the only kind for each generation. Gametes are formed in specialized conceptacles that occur scattered on both surfaces of the receptacle, the outer part of the blades of the parent plant. Egg cells and motile sperm are released from separate sacs within the conceptacles of the moms and dad algae, combining in the water to complete fertilization. The fertilized zygote settles onto a surface area and then separates into a leafy thallus and a finger-like holdfast. Light regulates distinction of the zygote into blade and holdfast. [3]

Worldwide there have to do with 1500– 2000 brown seaweed types.

Brown algae come from a very large group, the Heterokontophyta, a eukaryotic group of organisms distinguished most plainly by having actually chloroplasts surrounded by four membranes, suggesting an origin from a cooperative relationship in between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryotic organism. The majority of brown algae include the pigment fucoxanthin, which is accountable for the distinct greenish-brown color that gives them their name. Brown algae are special among heterokonts in becoming multicellular forms with separated tissues, but they reproduce by means of flagellate spores, which carefully look like other heterokont cells. Hereditary studies reveal their closest relatives to be the yellow-green algae.

Phaeophyta initially appear in the fossil record in the Mesozoic, possibly as early as the Jurassic. Their occurrence as fossils is unusual due to their normally soft-bodied practice, and researchers continue to discuss the recognition of some finds. Other algae groups, such as the red algae and green algae have a variety of calcareous members, which are most likely to leave evidence in the fossil record than the soft bodies of the brown algae. Miocene fossils of a soft-bodied brown macro algae, Julescrania, have been found well-preserved in Monterey Development diatomites, but few other particular fossils, especially of older specimens are known in the fossil record. [4]

Major Health Advantages of Brown Seaweed

Limited proof supports a number of the claims of its medical benefits, but some studies suggest it may have health benefits.

  1. Weight Loss
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cognitive Enhancement
  4. Others: Skin Care and Arthritis

1. Weight reduction

Inhibition of lipases, a pancreatic enzyme that causes the breakdown of fats, is among the primary healing targets of anti-obesity drugs. In one 2016 research study, scientists examining the anti-pancreatic lipase activity of preparations from 3 brown seaweeds, including Fucus vesiculosus, found that they revealed significant inhibition of lipase activity.

2. Diabetes

Edible seaweed is low in calories and abundant in dietary fiber, unsaturated fats, and vitamins, making it suitable for managing diabetes. Some researchers indicated that it could be established as a representative for type 2 diabetes treatment.

Seaweed is not “weed”, this is sea vegetable and a powerhouse of nutrition!

3. Cognitive Improvement

A 2018 study provided the first proof for modulation of cognition with seaweed extract. Compared with their results on a pre-lunch cognitive test, the group getting the supplement which is made by a mix of Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus carried out much better at the cognitive jobs than the placebo group. These findings are likely discussed by the truth that parts in brown seaweeds prevent the crucial enzymes involved in the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates, permitting the consistent blood glucose levels that allow the brain to work consistently well. Researchers call for future research to analyze the impacts on cognition in parallel with blood glucose and insulin reactions.

4. Skin Care and Arthritis

Research study suggests that the Fucus vesiculosus extract might have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory activities too. [5]
As above, there are a variety of locations where brown seaweeds have actually been investigated and its found they have possible to have a remarkable impact on a variety of health disorders.

The key value in consuming brown seaweeds routinely (in carefully kept track of quantities due to their naturally taking place high iodine level) includes a number of benefits for ideal health:.

  • Nurturing the thyroid gland & & brain Balancing hormones
  • Improving metabolic process & & assisting in weight-loss
  • Getting rid of radioactivity, heavy metals & & environmental toxins from the body
  • Naturally hindering cancer cell growth
  • Relaxing the skin and the digestive tract
  • supporting bone and joint health

There is ongoing research study to check out how brown seaweeds might be crucial to solving a series of degenerative illness, hinder the development of cancer cells and even weight reduction. [6]

What Are the Health Advantages of Brown Seaweed Supplements?


Fucoidan, a substance found in brown seaweed, might assist avoid metastasis of lung cancer, according to a tissue culture study published in the 2012 concern of the journal “PLoS One.” Kelp consumption may be partly responsible for lower rates of breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers among Asian females, according to a research study released in the February 2005 concern of the “Journal of Nutrition.” In the laboratory animal research study, kelp extended the menstruation, reduced estrogen levels and hindered both estrogen and progesterone from binding to receptors on cells. Scientist concluded that kelp supplements might assist regulate the endocrine system to help avoid some types of cancer.

Radiation Security

Brown seaweed might help secure versus the harmful effects of radiation exposure, according to nutritionist Phyllis Balch, author of the book “Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal.” A study published in the February 2004 problem of the journal “Health Physics” discovered that sodium alginate, an extract of brown algae, avoided absorption of radioactive strontium from contaminated milk. Scientist kept in mind that the brown algae extract was extremely efficient and without poisonous side effects.

Factors to consider

Supplementing with brown seaweed may increase your risk for thyroid illness, according to a research study released in the September 2003 concern of the journal “Endocrine Practice.” In the study, healthy participants who took in 4 kelp capsules daily for 4 weeks showed significantly increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormonal agent. All levels went back to normal within two weeks of stopping the kelp supplements. Researchers concluded that further studies on the health results of long-term supplements with kelp are needed. [7]

How seaweed helps hair development?

There is still much to be found about the extent of seaweeds advantages but the main benefits of using seaweed for your hair and scalp are:.


The high iodine content in seaweed makes it anti-microbial which might help with dandruff and preventing infections of the scalp.

This indicates it will prevent the growth of germs and other microorganisms on the scalp which can lead to fungal infections or skin inflammation.

In fact, one study discovered that the application of a particular Pacific red seaweed to rats triggered an increase in hair development rate and healing. More research is required, but it might show that seaweed can help with hair development and basic well-being.

Keep Hair Shiny And Glossy

The fatty acids in seaweed coat the hair strands and assist to keep them safeguarded and smooth while the other nutrients enhance the hair and follicles. All of this combined lead to glossy, healthy hair.


The fats omega-3 and omega-6 make it terrific for enhancing the hair roots and possibly encouraging hair development by maintaining healthy hair roots which is where the hair grows from the root in the skin.

Scalp Care

The enzymes and anti-oxidants in seaweed aid to remove dirt and oils from the scalp, avoiding product accumulation or comparable problems.

By clarifying the scalp, utilizing seaweed will help to prevent accumulation and possible skin issues on the skin of your scalp.

How To Utilize Seaweed For Hair

Seaweed can be utilized for hair either by consuming it regularly or by using topical treatments in a routine.

Many dishes are simple and simple to make at home once you have access to dried seaweed or a seaweed powder.

Here are 2 dishes for topical hair treatments involving seaweed that are simple to produce in the house:.

Organic Seaweed Clay Shampoo

You will need:.

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Seaweed
  • 2 Tablespoon Clay Powder
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  1. Include one tablespoon of dried seaweed into a bowl and add one cup of warm water. Ensure the water is not boiling as this will damage the seaweeds useful homes.
  2. Leave the seaweed to soak in the water for half an hour. You will find the seaweed and water ends up being a little ‘slimy’ and this is when you should add 2 tablespoons of clay.
  3. Mix well until the paste is silky smooth and thin however not watery. Apply to hair and massage into the scalp, leaving it on for as much as 10 minutes.

This natural alternative to shampoo should soak up excess oil from the scalp due to the clay, while the seaweed includes hydration, vitamins, and other essential benefits to the mixture.

Organic Seaweed Hair Mask

You will need:.

Half Cup Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Seaweed/Seaweed Powder
  • Half Cup Conditioner

Mix in a bowl equivalent parts of oil and conditioner to create a thin however not watery paste. Include a tablespoon of seaweed powder to the mixture and combine well.

  1. Apply to hair as a mask and leave to absorb for half an hour.
  2. Wash out of the hair with water and your hair should be left feeling healthier with the oil and seaweed finish the hair strands.

This will help to promote smoother, softer hair by keeping the conditioner treatment contained within the hair and producing a protective barrier in between your hair and the outside elements.

The conditioner of your choice will give the hair the conditioning it requires while the seaweed and oil work to keep that hydration within the hair by coating the hairs. [8]

Keep in mind

Seaweed can include the popular components collagen and other nutrients that are responsible for hair recovery, hydration, mineralisation and also its density!

Owing to the abundance of zinc and vitamins A and C in some seaweed, they might also promote hair growth and production. [9]

Brown Algae in Aquarium

Brown algae is a typical problem in many aquarium, specifically those that have actually been recently established. It’s not harmful to fish however can turn your beautiful aquarium into an ugly mess. This slimy layer coats not just the tank walls but also the substrate, decors, and plants. If it coats your aquatic plants, they won’t have the ability to photosynthesize properly and might compromise and pass away.

There are numerous kinds of brown algae however what numerous fish owners describe as brown algae isn’t algae. They are rather diatoms or single-celled algae that have walls made from silica. Silica exists in natural waters as it’s found in lots of forms of rocks such as quartz and sandstone.

Actions for Removing Brown Algae From Aquarium

Here are some steps tips for getting rid of brown algae.

  1. Offer it time. Brown algae is a natural incident when establishing a brand-new fish tank as the tank’s system needs time to mature. It takes about four to six weeks to cycle a tank, that is, to develop its germs and nitrogen cycle. Likewise, plants in brand-new tanks don’t grow as rapidly and take in as much nutrients as those in more established tanks.
  2. The brown algae ought to clear up by itself within a few weeks. Initially, there will be couple of nutrients in brown algae, however it becomes more healthy as it develops with time and fish will begin to eat it. If it does not clean up or if your tank isn’t a brand-new setup, you might have other issues on hand.
  3. Clean it. The very best method to eliminate brown algae is with manual cleansing. Eliminate your precious jewelry and watch, clean your hands, and roll up your sleeves. Usage scrapers, sponges, and magnetic scrubbers to eliminate the algae from the tank walls. Gently clean the leaves of aquatic plants. Eliminate any decorations from the tank before cleaning them.
  4. Bleach. If your tank designs are coated with brown algae, soaking them in a bleach option every couple of weeks will assist. They’ll need to be rinsed completely with water or taken in water for a few hours to neutralize the bleach prior to putting them back in the tank.
  5. Algae eaters. Otocinclus catfish, amano shrimp, and nerite snails are a few of the sea animals that will consume brown algae and some other types of algae. However, don’t introduce them to your new tank too early as they may begin consuming your plants. Add them one to 2 weeks after establishing your tank, when the brown algae gets more obvious.

These algae eaters can have their own difficulties. Otocinclus catfish needs water to be well aerated and clean. Amano shrimp will eat the young shoots of plants when they lack algae to eat, so it is essential to adjust the number of shrimp to the amount of brown algae in your tank.

How to Limit Brown Algae Development

All aquarium will have some kind of algae, and it’s difficult to fully eliminate it totally. Nevertheless, there are some ways in which you can limit the amount of algae growth.

  • Evaluate your water. If your tank has been just recently established, it will need more regular screening of the water until a healthy environment has actually been developed. Temperature level, pH, nitrates, ammonia, and more can impact the quality of your tank’s water. For a more mature tank, routine water screening will help you maintain a healthy system.
  • Change the water. Routine modifications of water can help prevent algae from growing. This reduces the quantity of nutrients in the water. Do not change the water frequently, however, as this can disturb the balance of excellent bacteria in the tank. Likewise, do not alter more than 50% of the water at time to prevent worrying your fish.
  • Include more plants. Water plants take in the nitrates in water however simply a couple of plants will not do much in your tank. At least 25% of your system requires to be plants for it to make a difference in the water quality.
  • Inspect the purification. Lots of owners underestimate their tank’s filtering requirements. Choose a filtration system that’s about one and a half to 2 times the size of your fish tank.
  • Do not overfeed. Any food that’s not eaten by your fish will rot and release more nutrients into the water which feeds the brown algae.
  • Triggered carbon. Including more activated carbon to the water filter can assist take in extra nutrients.
  • Use reverse-osmosis water. Routine tap water has phosphates and nitrates and if these levels are high, it can increase algae development. Utilizing reverse-osmosis or distilled water can help. [10]

Side effects of brown algae

Brown algae are normally safe, but, at high doses of several grams each day, they might trigger temporary diarrhea.

According to a 2003 study that was provided in the journal “Endocrine Practice,” supplementing with Phaeophyta might considerably increase the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormonal agent.

Nevertheless, the greatest adverse effects of consuming too much Phaeophyta is consuming excessive iodine.

Consuming too much iodine has been related to the advancement of subclinical hypothyroidism (also referred to as mild thyroid failure), that may increase the threat of heart problems.

In addition, in some people, a high intake of iodine can cause an acneiform eruption (skin issues such as acne rosacea, acne vulgaris, perioral dermatitis, and folliculitis).

Groups at greatest danger for iodine toxicity are seniors, individuals with thyroid disease, and developing infants. [11]


The suitable dosage of brown algae depends on numerous factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is inadequate clinical info to determine a proper series of dosages for brown algae. Remember that natural products are not constantly necessarily safe and does can be important. Make sure to follow pertinent directions on item labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other health care professional prior to using.

Special precautions and warnings

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is inadequate reputable info available about the security of brown algae during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and avoid utilizing brown algae during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. [12]


Phaeophyta evolved about 150-200 million years earlier. They are either tiny or macroscopic. Life process of phaeophyta varies from one member to another. In higher members of phaeophyta, life cycle includes alternation of haploid phase and diploid stage. They can adapt to a wide marine environment; tidal, intertidal and deep zones. Some members of phaeophyta have adaptive bladders, indicated for drifting photosynthetic parts on or near the water surface for collecting light. Biggest phaeophyta types, for instance, a giant kelp can reach to about 70 meters in length. They frequently cause annoyance to aquarium environment by establishing brown spots on any exposed surface areas such as glass, rocks or gravel.

Commercially made use of phaeophyta include those belong to the orders, Laminarales and Fucales. Formerly, marine seaweeds of phaeophyta were used for the extraction of iodine and potash. In current times, phaeophyta are thoroughly exploited for the extraction of alginic acid, which is used for obtaining alginate, a significant colloidal gel utilized as a stabilizer, emulsifier or binder in numerous commercial applications. Apart from alginic acid, agar, carrageenans are also originated from phaeophyta. Commercially, alginate is used in fabric printing, baking, tooth pastes, soaps, ice creams, meat preservation, etc. Another use of phaeophyta remains in the manufacturing of agricultural or horticultural sprays. In addition, phaeophyta is utilized as a food source. The brown algae, laminaria is cultivated on man-made algal ponds (utilizing ropes) for the production of food supplements and alginates. Harvested phaeophyta are then processed to prepare seaweed meals. These extremely proteinaceous seaweed meals are exported to different countries, specifically to fix the issue of malnutrition. Brown algae have actually shown to be among the most adaptable types, and are likewise among the major contributing consider the maintenance of a well balanced ecosystem. [13]


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