Aquaculture of giant kelp

Giant kelp , Macrocystis pyrifera , has been used for many years as a food source; [1] [2] It contains many compounds such as iodine , potassium , other vitamins and carbohydrates and thus has been used as a dietary supplement . [3] [4] In the beginning of the 20th century, California was harvested as a source for potash . [1] [5] [6] With commercial interest greatly increasing during the 1970s and the 1980s this was primarily due to the production of alginates, and also for biomass production for animal feed. [5] [6] [7] However commercial production for M.pyrifera never became a reality. With the end of the energy crisis and the decline of alginates , the research into farming Macrocystis also declined. [2]


The demand for M.pyrifera is Increasing due to the newfound uses of These plants Such As fertilizers , cultivation for bioremediation Purposes, abalone and sea urchin feed. [2] [8] There is current research going into utilizing M.pyrifera as feed for other aquaculture species such as shrimps. [8] [9] The supply of M.pyrifera for alginate production relies heavily on restoration and management of natural beds during the early 1990s. [2] [8]Other functions such as the substrate are known in California, called the “Kelp bed project” where the adult plants of 3-6m in length were transplanted to increase the stability of the harbor and promote diversity; this was done in efforts to restore the natural environment after extensive harvesting. [8] [10]

With the global demand for aquatic plants, there is a great deal of growth with technology and methods of cultivating them. China and Chile have taken it on a broader scale; These two countries are currently the largest producers of aquatic plants each producing over 300,000 tones each in 2007. [11] Data on how much of this can be attributed to actual M.pyrifera harvesting is sketchy Individual species are kept on record, aquatic plants are usually lumped in a single category. [11] Both these countries a variety of species, in Chile 50% of the production involves several species of Phaeophytesand the other 50% results from Harvesting Rhodophytes . [12] China produces a larger variety of seaweeds which also includes chlorophytes . [13] There are also experiments undergoing in Chile to produce hybrids between this species and M.integrifolia in efforts to produce a super cultivar. [14]

Culturing methods

Reviews The most common method of Cultivating M.pyrifera Was Developed in China in the 1950s called Expired the long line cultivation system, Where the sporelings are Produced in a water cooled greenhouse And Then later planted out in the ocean attached to long lines. [15] The depth to which they are grown is varied in different countries. Since this species has an alternation of generations in its life cycle, which involves a large sporophyte and a microscopic gametophyte. The sporophyte is what is harvested as seaweed. The mature sporophyte forms the reproductive organs called sori , these are found on the underside of the leaves and produce the motilezoospores that germinate into the gametophyte. [16] [17] To induce sporalation, the selected plants are dried up at a temperature of about 9-10 ° C; salinity of 30% and a pH of 7.8-7.9. [12] [15] [18] Photoperiod is also controlled for during sporulation and growth phases. A synthetic twine of about 2 – 6mm in diameter is placed on the bottom of the same container after sporalation and the released zoospores attach themselves to the twine and begin to geminate into male and female gametophytes . [12] [15] [18]These gametophytes release sperm and egg cells that fuse in the water column and attach themselves to the same substrate as the gametophytes (ie the synthetic twine). [12] [15] [18] These plants are then reared up to young sporophyte plants for up to 60 days. [15] [18]

These strings are either wrapped around a small diameter and attached to a larger diameter cultivation. The cultivation ropes vary but are approximately 60m with floating buoys attached. [12] The depths at which they are grown in the water column for some of the countries. In China , M.pyrifera is cultivated on the surface of the earth, and is usually attached to the substrate, usually at 50 cm intervals to each other. [15] In Chile, however, it is grown at a depth of 2m using constant depths. [18]These are then left to grow until ready to harvest. There are several problems with this method of cultivation as there are difficulties in the management of the transition in the juvenile stages; from spore gametophyte and embryonic sporophyte which are all done with water, temperature, nutrients, and light. [15] The Japanese uses a force cultivation method where a 2-year growth rate is achieved within a single growing season by controlling for the above requirements. [15]

In China a project for offshore or deep water cultivation was also looked at where various farm structures were designed to facilitate the growth of M.pyrifera ; nutrients from the deep waters were pumped up into the growing kelps. [15] The greatest benefit for this approach is that the size of the water is reduced. Issues with operational and farm designs for deep water cultivation and further cultivation in this manner. [15]


The duration of the cultivation is varied and usually occurs after two growing seasons (2 years). [12] [15] For the sake of being artificially cultivated, they are harnessed by a system that is attached to the individual lines of the vessels for cleaning. [12] [15] Other countries Such As the United States of America (USA) qui Rely Primarily we naturally grown M.pyrifera use boats to harvest the canopy surface area the canopy is harvested Several times per year. This is possible due to the rapid growth of this species and the vegetative and reproductive parts are left undamaged.[3] [19]


In the UK, the legislation is in force and is not allowed to grow. [20]

See also

  • Edible seaweed
  • Kelp forest
  • Seaweed farming


  1. ^ Jump up to:b Abbott 1996
  2. ^ Jump up to:d Gutierrez et al. 2006
  3. ^ Jump up to:b Bushing 2000
  4. Jump up^ Connor 1989, p. 58
  5. ^ Jump up to:b Neushul 1987
  6. ^ Jump up to:b Druehl et al. 1988
  7. Jump up^ Gerard 1987
  8. ^ Jump up to:d Buschmann et al. 2006
  9. Jump up^ Cruzet al. 2009
  10. Jump up^ Simenstadet al. 1978
  11. ^ Jump up to:b FAO 2007
  12. ^ Jump up to:g Buschmann et al. 2005
  13. Jump up^ Chaoyuan and Guangheng 1987
  14. Jump up^ Westermeieret al. 2007
  15. ^ Jump up to:l Mariculture of Seaweeds
  16. Jump up^ Mondragon & Mondragon 2003
  17. Jump up^ Prescott 1968, pp.226-227
  18. ^ Jump up to:e Westermeier et al. 2006
  19. Jump up^ Hoeket al. 1995, p.170
  20. Jump up^ Schedule 9Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981


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