Variation of Native Agar Gel Strength in Light Deprived Gracilaria chilensis Bird, McLachlan et Oliveira

J. A. Hemmingson and R. H. Furneaux

Abstract

Wild-grown Gracilaria chilensis subjected to a post-harvest period of light-deprived culture prior to extraction gave native agar with greatly improved gel strength. Two quite different sets of post-harvest seawater nutrient and motion conditions gave the greatest improvements in gel strength. Gel strengths of dialysis/freezethaw purified native agars (711–912 g cm−2 for a 1.5% w/w gel) compared favourably with those of a commercial bacteriological agar (645 g cm−2 for a 1.5% w/w gel). Such a post-harvest light deprivation regime might be a practical, environmentally friendly alternative to the chemical processing (alkali treatment) currently necessary for the production of food grade agar from Gracilaria chilensis.

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Botanica Marina publishes high-quality contributions from all of the disciplines of marine botany at all levels of biological organisation from subcellular to ecosystem: chemistry and applications, genomics, physiology and ecology, phylogeny and biogeography. Research involving global or interdisciplinary interest is especially welcome as well as applied science papers dealing with emerging conceptual issues or developing technologies.

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