PROSEA, Presentation of the Algae volume

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Plant Resources of South-East Asia
List of species

PROSEA, Presentation of the Algae volume

Prud'homme van Reine, W.F. and Trono Jr, G.C. (Editors), 2001. Plant Resources of South-East Asia, No 15(1). Cryptogams: Algae. Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, the Netherlands. 318 pp.

General editors of the Prosea Handbook

P.C.M. Jansen, E. Westphal and N. Wulijarni-Soetjipto

Editorial staff of this volume

  • Editors: W.F. Prud'homme van Reine and G.C. Trono Jr
  • Associate editors: A.T. Critchley and E. Westphal
  • Illustrator: P. Verheij-Hayes
  • Language corrector: S. van Otterloo-Butler


Prosea, short for "Plant Resources of South-East Asia", is an international programme focused on South-East Asia. Its purpose is to make available the wealth of dispersed knowledge on plant resources for education, extension, research and industry through a computerized data bank and an illustrated multivolume handbook. A thorough knowledge of plant resources is essential for human life and plays a key role in ecologically balanced land-use systems. Extensive information on the plants growing in the region is needed to enable the plant resources of each country to be used optimally. A large international team of experts is preparing the texts on particular species or genera, which are being published in commodity groups. All taxa are treated in a similar manner with details on uses, botany, ecology, agronomy or silviculture, genetic resources, breeding, prospects and literature.

This volume deals with the algae that are used in some form in South-East Asia. Their utilization falls mainly into four main categories: direct human consumption (vegetables, salads, health food), production of phycocolloids, raw material for animal feed and fertilizer, and medicinal and pharmaceutical uses. Small and unicellular algae (microalgae) are used differently from the larger ones (macroalgae). Several marine macroalgae (seaweeds) as well as a few microalgae are commercially cultured in large quantities. Among the more than 70 taxa included are vegetables such as seagrapes, purpleweed (nori) and also Spirulina and Chlorella. Important producers of phycocolloids are Betaphycus, Eucheuma and Kappaphycus for carrageenan production, Gelidium, Gelidiella and Gracilaria for the production of agar and Sargassum for alginate production. Many species of seaweeds can be used as animal feed, while microalgae often have an important role as feed for larvae of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. The use of seaweeds as fertilizer is profitable: Halimeda adds lime, while many blue-green algae can be used to enhance nitrogen fixation. Examples of medicinal and pharmaceutical uses are Acetabularia major (against gall-stones) and Digenia simplex (a vermifuge).


  • P.O. Ang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Department of Biology, Shatin N.T. Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China (Hormophysa cuneiformis, Turbinaria)
  • P. Antarikanonda, Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR), Technology Transfer Group, Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900, Thailand (Blue-green algae)
  • W.S. Atmadja, Puslitbang Oseanologi-LIPI, Jl. Pasir Putih 1, Ancol Timur, P.O. Box 4801/JKTF, Jakarta 11048, Indonesia (Enteromorpha, Eucheuma, Kappaphycus alvarezii, Melanamansia glomerata, Ulva)
  • H.P. Calumpong, Silliman University, Dumaguete City 6200, the Philippines (Acanthophora muscoides, A. spicifera)
  • E. Coppejans, Research Group Phycology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S8 9000 Gent, Belgium (Codium, Dictyota)
  • A.T. Critchley, Degussa Texturants, Usine de Baupte, Carentan, F-50500 Normandy, France (associate editor)
  • R. Dardjat, Centre for Scientific Documentation, Institute of Sciences, Jalan Cisitu, Sangkuriang, Bandung 40135, Indonesia (Gelidium, G. spinosum)
  • O. de Clerck, Research Group Phycology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S8 9000 Gent, Belgium (Dictyota)
  • P. Gronier, 3 Route nationale, 80400 Hombleux, France (Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria edulis, G. salicornia, Hypnea)
  • A.M. Hatta, Balitbang Sumberdaya Laut Ambon-LIPI, Guru-Guru Poka, Ambon 97233, Indonesia (Caulerpa, C. racemosa, C. taxifolia, Gelidiella acerosa, Gelidium, G. spinosum, Kappaphycus striatus)
  • R.J. King, 12 Garciastreet, Campbell A.C.T., 2612 Australia (Bostrychia radicans, Catenella nipae)
  • K. Lewmanomont, Kasetsart University, Faculty of Fisheries, Bangkok 10900, Thailand (Gracilaria blodgettii, G. changii, G. edulis, G. firma, G. fisheri, G. tenuistipitata, G. verrucosa, Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis)
  • W. Moka, Jl. Lanto Dg. Pasewang 53, Makassar 90142, Indonesia (Gracilaria salicornia)
  • S.-M. Phang, University of Malaya, Institute for Advanced Studies, Kuala Lumpur 59100, Malaysia (Arthrospira, Blue-green algae, Brachytrichia quoyi, Chlorella, Gracilaria blodgettii, G. changi, G. edulis, G. firma, G. fisheri, G. tenuistipitata, G. verrucosa, Gracilariopsis lemaneiformis, Nostoc)
  • W.F. Prud'homme van Reine, Leiden University, Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Einsteinweg, P.O. Box 9514, 2333 CC Leiden, the Netherlands (Anabaena, Caloglossa leprieurii, Ceratodictyon intricatum, Codium, Dictyota, Gelidiella acerosa, Gracilaria, G. verrucosa, Gracilariopsis, G. heteroclada, Kappaphycus, Laurencia, Melanamansia glomerata, Porphyra, Sargassum, editor)
  • R. Sutijanto, Jl. Lanto Dg. Pasewang 53, Makassar 90142, Indonesia (Gracilaria salicornia)
  • G.C. Trono Jr, University of the Philippines, Marine Science Institute, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, the Philippines (Asparagopsis taxiformis, Betaphycus gelatinus, Caulerpa lentillifera, Ceratodictyon spongiosum, Chnoospora, Colpomenia sinuosa, Dictyopteris jamaicensis, Digenea simplex, Eucheuma, E. denticulatum, Ganoderma farinosum, Gracilaria eucheumatoides, Grateloupia filicina, Halymenia, Hydroclathrus, Hypnea, Monostroma nitidum, Padina, Portiera hornemanni, Scinaia hormoides, Tricleocarpa fragilis, Valonia aegagropila, editor)
  • C.K. Tseng, Institute of Oceanology, Academia Sinica, 7 Nan-hai Road, Qingdao 266071, China (Betaphycus gelatinus)
  • P.Y. van Aalderen-Zen, Valeriusstraat 45, 1422 HS Uithoorn, the Netherlands (Acetabularia major, Chaetomorpha, Cladophora, Dictyosphaeria cavernosa, Halimeda)
  • C. Van den heede, Research Group Phycology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S8 9000 Gent, Belgium (Codium)
  • E. Westphal, Prosea Publication Office, Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 341, 6700 AH Wageningen, the Netherlands (associate editor)


Many algae from freshwater and marine environments have served as food for South-East Asian people since time immemorial; indeed, the ancient Chinese pharmacopoeia, dating back to at least 4000 B.C. included certain algae for medicinal purposes as well. With burgeoning populations along all coasts of the world, an emphasis on coastal foods has become more important internationally then ever before. Algae are not only used as vegetables or for medicinal or pharmaceutical use, but are also important as producers of phycocolloids and as animal feed. This volume is therefore timely in its approach to record and reveal the nature of the algal resources, their present and past uses by indigenous people of South-East Asia and the potential for technology transfer.

While understanding the economic potential of algae is important, of equal consequence is the basic knowledge of the useful species, their nomenclature, taxonomic, ecological, life history and biogeographical data together with descriptions and illustrations. Without these data together with impressive bibliographic references, no one will adequately know enough to understand what can be expected from these plants, how to regulate their differing life cycles in order to manage them as crops rather than individual plants suitable for "cottage gardening". Raising them as crops would help to improve income and living standards of the rural populations of South-East Asia; such knowledge would allow the native peoples to better understand the plants of their region.

This book provides a basic understanding of the differences of these species-rich groups so that an abundance of textures, tastes and colours can be found and modified for specific purposes, from appetizers to soups, salads, entrées and desserts. The industrialized world is the biggest user of colloids extracted from many species of algae; these are principally used as stabilizers, homogenizers, thickeners, and texture and flavour enhancers, while a minor number of uses includes dental moulds, sizing, paints and a large number of decorative additions.

In separate paragraphs 70 genera, species and groups are covered, whereas general aspects of the algae are dealt with in an introductory chapter. The information presented here is the result of a collective effort of many contributors and the approach by the Prosea organization.

This volume will be very welcome and surely will establish a standard to be followed for other regions in the world.

Honolulu, August 2001

Dr. Isabella A. Abbott
Wilder Professor of Botany, emerita
Botany Department
University of Hawaii