What Is Algae?
Algae are eukaryotic, photosynthetic and marine organisms of the kingdom Protista. They are found in an aquatic environment. These are chlorophyll bearing simple organisms, which forms producers in a food chain.
Generally, algae are found in various habitats such as marine, moist stones, freshwater, wood and even soil. They undergo an autotrophic mode of nutrition, which is due to chlorophyll pigments and they reproduce both by sexual mode and asexual mode of reproduction.
Phycology is the branch of science, which mainly deals with algae and other organisms like cyanobacteria. Phycology is also known as algology, as it focuses more on freshwater ocean algae.
Types Of Algae
There are various main types of algae, categorised based on their distinct sizes, functions and colour. The main types of algae are red algae, green algae, brown algae, yellow-green algae, golden-brown algae and diatoms.
The great ecological importance of algae are:
- A few species are used in wastewater treatment plants.
- Many large algal species are a food source for many humans.
- A few algae are commercial sources of agar, iodine, potash, alginic acid, etc.
- Algal products are also used in bricks, filters, detergents, and cleaning
- Phytoplanktons are a group of microscopic marine algae, which form a vital part of the food chain.
Let’s learn some more exciting facts about algae.
Facts About Algae
Algae are also used in the production of biofuel. Here, algae play a vital role by converting carbon dioxide gas into fuel. Some algae also store energy in the form of natural oils. The fuel obtained from the algae is called algae fuel or algal biofuel, or algal oil.
Algae have great nutritional value; therefore, it is widely used as a food source for animals and humans. Some species of Blue-green algae contain a minute amount of vitamins and some minerals.
Blue-green algae are used as a nutrient supplement, which helps boost the immune system, helps control cholesterol levels, and helps in losing weight.
The most widespread application of microalgae culture has been in artificial food chains supporting marine husbandry, including finfish, crustaceans, and molluscs.
Algal products can enhance the nutritional value of food and animal feed due to their chemical composition; they play a crucial role in aquaculture.
Macroalgae, which is commonly known as seaweed, are good for human consumption. Other widely cultivated algal crops include kombu, nori, wakame, etc.
The cellular features of algae include a complex structure with a membrane-bound cell organelle and a well-developed cell wall. They comprise a true nucleus, with the presence of locomotory organs such as flagella and cilia.
The rapid increase in algae population or accumulation of algae in the water bodies results in algal blooms. This results in discolouration in the water, decreases the water’s oxygen level, increases the temperature, and overall affects aquatic life.
These were some interesting facts and information about algae.
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