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Macrocystis integrifolia

Common name:

Giant sargassum, huiro

Distribution and Biology:

Inhabits the Pacific coast of North America and the sub-Antarctic waters of South America, South Africa and New Zealand. It inhabits from the intertidal, forming underwater forests. The lower limit of its bathymetric distribution is at a depth of 30 meters. Like other brown algae, it has structures reminiscent of those of higher plants. Its phylloids ("leaves") are greenish brown in color and can measure more than half a meter in length. Along the cauloid ("stem") there are cysts, which are small air-filled vesicles that serve as floaters. At their base they have a grampon attachment and stipes (thallus), from which the blades emerge towards the surface of the sea, in search of the sun and in constant movement, which helps the oxygenation of the sea. Although these algae are considered of great importance in the industry, in countries where they are abundant, they are not exploited.


This macroalgae is harvested artisanally on the beaches where it rods, in the southern zone of Ica and Arequipa in Peru. After a primary processing, it is derived to the alginate industry, for the extraction of alginic acid.
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