Gracilaria is a genus of red algae (Rhodophyta) notable for its economic importance as an agarophyte, as well as its use as a food for humans and various species of shellfish. Various species within the genus are cultivated among Asia, South America, Africa and Oceania.
Gracilaria bursa-pastoris (S.G.Gremlin) Silva and Gracilaria multipartita (Clemente) Harvey have long been established in southern England and northwestern France, but confusion between Gracilaria gracilis (Stackhouse) Steentoft, L.Irvine & Farnham and Gracilariopsis longissima (S.G.Gmelin) Steentoft, L. Irvine & Farnham, (as Gracilaria verrucosa (Hudson) Papenfuss or Gracilaria confervoides (L.) Greville) (Steentoft et al. 1995), has prevented recognition of the northern boundaries.
Gracilaria is used as a food in Japanese, Hawaiian, and Filipino cuisine. In Japanese cuisine, it is called ogonori or ogo. In the Philippines, it is called gulaman and used to make gelatin, also called gulaman. In Jamaica, it is known as Irish moss. Gracilaria oligosaccharides with degree of polymerization 6 prepared by agarase digestion from agar-bearing Gracilaria sp. polysaccharides have been shown to be an effective prophylactic agent during in vitro and in vivo experiments against Japanese encephalitis viral infection. The sulfated oligosaccharides from Gracilaria sp. seem to be promising candidates for further development as antiviral agents.
Gracilaria commonly appears as a macroalgae for sale in the aquarium trade. Its nutrient uptake ability makes it a suitable choice for a refugium, and it is a highly palatable algae to many herbivorous fish, such as tangs.
- Steentoft, M. and Farham, W.F. 1997. Northern distribution boundaries and thermal requirements of Gracilaria and Gracilariopsis (Gracilariales, Rhodophyta) in Atlantic Europe and Scandinavia. Nord. J. Bot. 5: 87–93
- Kyaw, Aye, The Production of Gracilaria eduli in Burma, Report of the Training Course on Gracilaria Algae, Manila, Philippines, 1–30 April 1981, accessed 27 April 2013
- Davidson, Alan (2004). Seafood of South-East Asia: A Comprehensive Guide with Recipes. Ten Speed Press. p. 197. ISBN 978-1-58008-452-9.
- Thomas J. Goreau; Robert Kent Trench (2013). Innovative Methods of Marine Ecosystem Restoration. CRC Press. pp. 193–. ISBN 978-1-4665-5773-4. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- Kazłowski B, Chiu YH, Kazłowska K, Pan CL, Wu CJ (August 2012). "Prevention of Japanese encephalitis virus infections by low-degree-polymerisation sulfated saccharides from Gracilaria sp. and Monostroma nitidum". Food Chem 133 (3): 866–74. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.01.106.
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