Brown Algae

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Brown algae are algal species defined by being multicellular and having a brown or greenish-brown color. The color is because of the predominance of brown pigments, e.g. fucoxanthin, in addition to the green pigments (chlorophyll a and c). Many of them are macroscopic. In fact, kelps are big brown seaweeds that grow in shallow oceans and form the so-called kelp forest. Fucus is another macroscopic brown algal types. They flourish in intertidal zones of rocky seashores. They are gathered, dried, and processed for the business production of soap, glass, and so on. They are also used as fertilizers.

Synonyms: Phaeophyta; Phaeophyceae; Fucophyceae.


The old scheme of classification involves 5 significant kingdoms. One of them is the kingdom Protista (protists). This group is comprised of 3 groups: the animal-like protozoa, the plant-like algae, and the fungus-like slime molds and water molds. However, not all algae are tiny and unicellular as the majority of protists are understood for. Many brown algae are macroscopic as already pointed out above. Algae are more divided into several phyla: Euglenophyta, Chrysophyta (diatoms), Pyrrophyta (dinoflagellates), Chlorophyta (green algae), Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Current research studies and findings, however, might lead to modifications in the taxonomic positions and newer systems of category. For instance, the phylum Phaeophyta is now obsolete in lots of modern-day recommendations. It used to be the phylum including organisms frequently referred to as brown algae. At present, the brown algae are now members of Phaeophyceae, which is among the taxonomic classes under the new phylum, Ochrophyta.

Phaeophyceae is comprised of algal species identified by their brown or greenish-brown color due to the existence of brown pigments, such as fucoxanthin. However, apart from this class, some algal species that are brownish in color have been consisted of here too, such as the dinoflagellates and the diatoms. Nevertheless, members of Phaeophyceae are more widely described collectively as the brown algae. In contrast to the two algal groups whose members are single-celled, Phaeophyceae consists of algal types that are multicellular.

Brown algae taxonomy

Phaeophyceae is consisted of the following taxonomic orders:.

  • Ascoseirales
  • Asterocladales
  • Chordales
  • Desmarestiales
  • Dictyotales
  • Discosporangiales
  • Ectocarpales
  • Fucales
  • Ishigeales
  • Laminariales
  • Nemodermatales
  • Onslowiales
  • Phaeophyceae ordo incertae sedis
  • Phaeosiphoniellales
  • Ralfsiales
  • Scytothamnales
  • Sphacelariales
  • Sporochnales
  • Stschapoviales
  • Syringodermatales
  • Tilopteridales

General Characteristics of Brown Algae

Kelp is a brown algal species that forms the so-called kelp forest. A kelp forest offers marine species a habitat. The giant kelp is considered the longest algal types. It might reach over 50 meters long.

Phaeophyceae is a clade comprised of olive green to brown multicellular algae. The size might vary from a tiny tuft of a couple of centimeters to giant kelp of over 50 meters long. Macrocystis pyrifera (huge kelp) is thought about the largest algae. Their characteristic greenish-brown color is credited to and depends upon the amount of fucoxanthin. Apart from this pigment, chlorophyll a and c2 are also present.

Their carb reserve is laminarin (β1-3 glucose polymer). Similar to other algal groups, brown algae manifests alternation of generations. The sporophyte is often the more noticeable kind. The majority of the brown algae (except for the Fucales) reproduce sexually by sporic meiosis. Those that are capable of asexual reproduction reproduce by means of motile zoospores.

The body (thallus) of Phaeophyceae lacks the vascular tissues that are present in tracheophytes. Thus, brown algae do not have true roots, stems, and leaves. The root-like structure of the brown algae is described as the holdfast. Similar to a true root, the holdfast works as an anchor, avoiding the algal thallus to be swept away by the current. Nevertheless, the holdfast is not the main organ for water uptake as the true root is. The stem-like part of the algal thallus is called a stipe.

In highly-differentiated brown algae such as Fucus, the stipe is comprised of 3 layers: the outer skin, the middle cortex, and the inner central pith. The pith may consist of a core of phloem-like cells. In other species, the pith may be hollow and gas-filled, and therefore connected with algal buoyancy. The leaf-like structure is described as a blade (when it is single and not divided), a leaf (when divided), or a lamina (when flattened). The air bladders in the thallus are called pneumatocysts. They increase algal buoyancy.

Brown algae are mostly marine and macroscopic. They thrive particularly in cold ocean waters.

Advancement and Phylogeny

Brown algae are presumed to have progressed from a symbiotic relationship between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryote based upon having four-membraned chloroplasts. Genetically, they are more carefully related to the yellow-green algae.

Biological importance

These organisms are very important as food and as environment for lots of marine animals. Kelps produce a kelp forest that serves as a habitat for little marine animals. Sargassum, another brown algal species, provides a floating mat as another environment for varied species. Ascophyllum nodosum can fixing carbon. Brown algae have alginate in their cell walls. It is drawn out for usage as a food thickener. Fucus species, for instance, is harvested for use in soap and glass making. They are also utilized as fertilizers for crops. Other types are edible to people. [1]

Economic Value of Brown Algae

Algae are very important for their carbon fixation ability. They are an essential part of the marine food chain as main manufacturers. Kelp forests support large numbers of animals.

They are widely utilized as edible seaweeds, e.g. Laminaria, Sargassum, etc.

  • Alginic acid is commercially extracted and utilized in the food markets as a thickening representative. It is utilized as a stabilizer in ice cream and baking industries.
  • Alginic acid is likewise utilized in batteries.
  • Alginic acid is utilized for making tablets and surgical threads.
  • Several species are used as fertilizers.
  • Kelp is used for producing soda ash. It is utilized in the production of soap and glass.
  • Brown algae like Laminaria is rich in iodine and has actually been utilized to deal with iodine shortage, e.g. Goitre.
  • They have actually been utilized for medical functions, e.g. sodium laminarin sulphate is an anticoagulant. They also have antibiotic and vermifuge properties. [2]

Life process

Many brown algae, with the exception of the Fucales, carry out sexual reproduction through sporic meiosis. [48] In between generations, the algae go through separate sporophyte (diploid) and gametophyte (haploid) stages. The sporophyte stage is typically the more noticeable of the two, though some species of brown algae have similar diploid and haploid stages. Free floating types of brown algae often do not undergo sexual reproduction till they attach themselves to substrate. The haploid generation consists of male and female gametophytes. The fertilization of egg cells varies between species of brown algae, and might be isogamous, oogamous, or anisogamous. Fertilization might happen in the water with eggs and motile sperm, or within the oogonium itself.

Specific types of brown algae can also carry out asexual reproduction through the production of motile diploid zoospores. These zoospores form in plurilocular sporangium, and can grow into the sporophyte stage immediately.

In a representative types Laminaria, there is a noticeable diploid generation and smaller sized haploid generations. Meiosis occurs within several unilocular sporangium along the algae’s blade, every one forming either haploid male or female zoospores. The spores are then released from the sporangia and grow to form male and female gametophytes. The female gametophyte produces an egg in the oogonium, and the male gametophyte releases motile sperm that fertilize the egg. The fertilized zygote then grows into the mature diploid sporophyte.

In the order Fucales, sexual reproduction is oogamous, and the mature diploid is the only kind for each generation. Gametes are formed in specialized conceptacles that occur scattered on both surfaces of the receptacle, the external portion of the blades of the parent plant. Egg cells and motile sperm are launched from separate sacs within the conceptacles of the parent algae, combining in the water to complete fertilization. The fertilized zygote settles onto a surface area and then differentiates into a leafy thallus and a finger-like holdfast. Light controls distinction of the zygote into blade and holdfast. [3]

Worldwide there are about 1500– 2000 brown seaweed species.

Brown algae come from a large group, the Heterokontophyta, a eukaryotic group of organisms distinguished most prominently by having actually chloroplasts surrounded by 4 membranes, suggesting an origin from a symbiotic relationship in between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryotic organism. The majority of brown algae contain the pigment fucoxanthin, which is responsible for the distinct greenish-brown color that provides their name. Brown algae are special among heterokonts in becoming multicellular types with separated tissues, but they recreate by means of flagellate spores, which carefully resemble other heterokont cells. Hereditary research studies show their closest relatives to be the yellow-green algae.

Phaeophyta first appear in the fossil record in the Mesozoic, perhaps as early as the Jurassic. Their occurrence as fossils is unusual due to their usually soft-bodied practice, and researchers continue to debate the recognition of some finds. Other algae groups, such as the red algae and green algae have a variety of calcareous members, which are more likely to leave evidence in the fossil record than the soft bodies of the brown algae. Miocene fossils of a soft-bodied brown macro algae, Julescrania, have been discovered well-preserved in Monterey Development diatomites, however few other certain fossils, especially of older specimens are understood in the fossil record. [4]

Major Health Benefits of Brown Seaweed

Restricted evidence supports a number of the claims of its medical advantages, but some studies recommend it might have health advantages.

  1. Weight-loss
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cognitive Enhancement
  4. Others: Skin Care and Arthritis

1. Weight-loss

Inhibition of lipases, a pancreatic enzyme that causes the breakdown of fats, is one of the primary therapeutic targets of anti-obesity drugs. In one 2016 research study, scientists evaluating the anti-pancreatic lipase activity of preparations from three brown seaweeds, consisting of Fucus vesiculosus, found that they revealed considerable inhibition of lipase activity.

2. Diabetes

Edible seaweed is low in calories and rich in dietary fiber, unsaturated fats, and vitamins, making it appropriate for managing diabetes. Some researchers suggested that it could be developed as an agent for type 2 diabetes treatment.

Seaweed is not “weed”, this is sea vegetable and a powerhouse of nutrition!

3. Cognitive Improvement

A 2018 research study offered the first evidence for modulation of cognition with seaweed extract. Compared to their results on a pre-lunch cognitive test, the group receiving the supplement which is made by a mix of Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus carried out much better at the cognitive tasks than the placebo group. These findings are likely discussed by the truth that parts in brown seaweeds prevent the key enzymes associated with the breakdown and absorption of carbs, allowing for the steady blood sugar level levels that permit the brain to work regularly well. Researchers call for future research to analyze the results on cognition in parallel with blood glucose and insulin actions.

4. Skin Care and Arthritis

Research study suggests that the Fucus vesiculosus extract may have anti-aging and anti-inflammatory activities too. [5]
As above, there are a number of areas where brown seaweeds have been looked into and its discovered they have possible to have an exceptional effect on a series of health ailments.

The key worth in consuming brown seaweeds frequently (in thoroughly kept an eye on amounts due to their naturally happening high iodine level) includes a variety of benefits for ideal health:.

  • Nurturing the thyroid gland & & brain Stabilizing hormones
  • Improving metabolism & & facilitating weight-loss
  • Eliminating radioactivity, heavy metals & & ecological toxins from the body
  • Naturally inhibiting cancer cell growth
  • Soothing the skin and the digestive tract
  • supporting bone and joint health

There is continuous research study to explore how brown seaweeds may be important to fixing a series of degenerative illness, hinder the development of cancer cells and even weight loss. [6]

What Are the Health Benefits of Brown Seaweed Supplements?


Fucoidan, a compound found in brown seaweed, might assist prevent transition of lung cancer, according to a tissue culture research study released in the 2012 problem of the journal “PLoS One.” Kelp usage may be partly responsible for lower rates of breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers amongst Asian females, according to a study published in the February 2005 problem of the “Journal of Nutrition.” In the laboratory animal study, kelp lengthened the menstruation, decreased estrogen levels and prevented both estrogen and progesterone from binding to receptors on cells. Researchers concluded that kelp supplements might help regulate the endocrine system to help prevent some forms of cancer.

Radiation Security

Brown seaweed may assist protect versus the harmful impacts of radiation exposure, according to nutritional expert Phyllis Balch, author of the book “Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Recover.” A study published in the February 2004 issue of the journal “Health Physics” found that sodium alginate, an extract of brown algae, avoided absorption of radioactive strontium from polluted milk. Researchers noted that the brown algae extract was highly effective and without hazardous side effects.


Supplementing with brown seaweed might increase your danger for thyroid illness, according to a study released in the September 2003 issue of the journal “Endocrine Practice.” In the research study, healthy participants who took in four kelp capsules per day for four weeks showed considerably increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. All levels returned to typical within 2 weeks of stopping the kelp supplements. Researchers concluded that further studies on the health effects of long-lasting supplementation with kelp are required. [7]

How seaweed assists hair growth?

There is still much to be found about the level of seaweeds advantages but the primary advantages of using seaweed for your hair and scalp are:.


The high iodine material in seaweed makes it anti-microbial which may aid with dandruff and avoiding infections of the scalp.

This means it will prevent the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms on the scalp which can result in fungal infections or skin irritation.

In fact, one research study found that the application of a specific Pacific red seaweed to rats caused a boost in hair development rate and healing. More research study is needed, but it might suggest that seaweed can help with hair development and general well-being.

Keep Hair Shiny And Glossy

The fats in seaweed coat the hair strands and help to keep them secured and smooth while the other nutrients enhance the hair and roots. All of this integrated results in shiny, healthy hair.


The fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 make it terrific for enriching the hair roots and possibly motivating hair growth by maintaining healthy hair follicles which is where the hair grows from the root in the skin.

Scalp Care

The enzymes and antioxidants in seaweed assistance to eliminate dirt and oils from the scalp, preventing product accumulation or comparable issues.

By clarifying the scalp, utilizing seaweed will help to prevent build-up and potential skin issues on the skin of your scalp.

How To Utilize Seaweed For Hair

Seaweed can be used for hair either by consuming it regularly or by using topical treatments in a routine.

Lots of recipes are basic and easy to make at home as soon as you have actually access to dried seaweed or a seaweed powder.

Here are 2 recipes for topical hair treatments including seaweed that are simple to create in your home:.

Organic Seaweed Clay Shampoo

You will require:.

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Seaweed
  • 2 Tbsp Clay Powder
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  1. Add one tablespoon of dried seaweed into a bowl and add one cup of hot water. Ensure the water is not boiling as this will ruin the seaweeds advantageous residential or commercial properties.
  2. Leave the seaweed to take in the water for half an hour. You will find the seaweed and water becomes a little ‘slimy’ and this is when you need to add two tablespoons of clay.
  3. Mix well until the paste is silky smooth and thin but not watery. Apply to hair and massage into the scalp, leaving it on for approximately 10 minutes.

This natural option to shampoo ought to soak up excess oil from the scalp due to the clay, while the seaweed includes hydration, vitamins, and other necessary advantages to the mix.

Organic Seaweed Hair Mask

You will require:.

Half Cup Olive Oil

  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Seaweed/Seaweed Powder
  • Half Cup Conditioner

Mix in a bowl equivalent parts of oil and conditioner to create a thin however not watery paste. Add a tablespoon of seaweed powder to the mixture and integrate well.

  1. Apply to hair as a mask and delegate soak up for half an hour.
  2. Rinse out of the hair with water and your hair should be left feeling healthier with the oil and seaweed finish the hair strands.

This will help to promote smoother, softer hair by keeping the conditioner treatment included within the hair and developing a protective barrier between your hair and the outside aspects.

The conditioner of your choice will offer the hair the conditioning it requires while the seaweed and oil work to keep that hydration within the hair by coating the hairs. [8]


Seaweed can consist of the widely known components collagen and other nutrients that are accountable for hair healing, hydration, mineralisation and also its density!

Owing to the abundance of zinc and vitamins A and C in some seaweed, they might also stimulate hair growth and production. [9]

Brown Algae in Aquarium

Brown algae is a common problem in numerous aquarium, especially those that have actually been recently established. It’s not unsafe to fish but can turn your gorgeous aquarium into an unsightly mess. This slimy layer coats not simply the tank walls however also the substrate, decors, and plants. If it coats your marine plants, they will not have the ability to photosynthesize effectively and might compromise and die.

There are many types of brown algae however what numerous fish owners refer to as brown algae isn’t algae. They are instead diatoms or single-celled algae that have actually walls made of silica. Silica exists in natural waters as it’s discovered in many forms of rocks such as quartz and sandstone.

Steps for Removing Brown Algae From Fish Tanks

Here are some steps tips for eliminating brown algae.

  1. Provide it time. Brown algae is a natural occurrence when establishing a new fish tank as the tank’s system requires time to mature. It takes about four to six weeks to cycle a tank, that is, to establish its bacteria and nitrogen cycle. Also, plants in new tanks do not grow as quickly and take in as much nutrients as those in more established tanks.
  2. The brown algae ought to clear up by itself within a few weeks. At first, there will be few nutrients in brown algae, however it becomes more healthy as it establishes gradually and fish will start to eat it. If it doesn’t clear up or if your tank isn’t a brand-new setup, you may have other problems on hand.
  3. Clean it. The very best method to eliminate brown algae is with manual cleansing. Remove your fashion jewelry and watch, wash your hands, and roll up your sleeves. Use scrapers, sponges, and magnetic scrubbers to remove the algae from the tank walls. Gently wipe the leaves of marine plants. Remove any decors from the tank before cleaning them.
  4. Bleach. If your tank decors are covered with brown algae, soaking them in a bleach solution every couple of weeks will help. They’ll require to be rinsed thoroughly with water or taken in water for a few hours to reduce the effects of the bleach prior to putting them back in the tank.
  5. Algae eaters. Otocinclus catfish, amano shrimp, and nerite snails are some of the sea creatures that will eat brown algae and some other kinds of algae. However, do not introduce them to your new tank too early as they may begin eating your plants. Include them one to two weeks after setting up your tank, when the brown algae gets more obvious.

These algae eaters can have their own problems. Otocinclus catfish needs water to be well aerated and tidy. Amano shrimp will consume the young shoots of plants when they run out of algae to consume, so it is very important to adjust the variety of shrimp to the amount of brown algae in your tank.

How to Limitation Brown Algae Growth

All fish tanks will have some kind of algae, and it’s tough to totally remove it totally. However, there are some ways in which you can restrict the amount of algae development.

  • Evaluate your water. If your tank has been recently established, it will require more frequent screening of the water up until a healthy environment has actually been developed. Temperature level, pH, nitrates, ammonia, and more can affect the quality of your tank’s water. For a more mature tank, regular water testing will assist you keep a healthy system.
  • Change the water. Regular changes of water can help avoid algae from growing. This lowers the quantity of nutrients in the water. Do not change the water frequently, though, as this can distress the balance of good germs in the tank. Likewise, do not change more than 50% of the water sometimes to prevent worrying your fish.
  • Include more plants. Aquatic plants take in the nitrates in water however simply a couple of plants will not do much in your tank. A minimum of 25% of your system needs to be plants for it to make a distinction in the water quality.
  • Check the filtering. Lots of owners underestimate their tank’s filtering requirements. Pick a filtration system that has to do with one and a half to 2 times the size of your aquarium.
  • Do not overfeed. Any food that’s not eaten by your fish will rot and launch more nutrients into the water which feeds the brown algae.
  • Triggered carbon. Including more triggered carbon to the water filter can help soak up extra nutrients.
  • Use reverse-osmosis water. Routine tap water has phosphates and nitrates and if these levels are high, it can increase algae growth. Using reverse-osmosis or pure water can assist. [10]

Adverse effects of brown algae

Brown algae are normally safe, but, at high doses of several grams daily, they may trigger short-lived diarrhea.

According to a 2003 study that was issued in the journal “Endocrine Practice,” supplementing with Phaeophyta may considerably increase the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormonal agent.

However, the biggest side effects of eating excessive Phaeophyta is consuming excessive iodine.

Taking in too much iodine has actually been connected with the advancement of subclinical hypothyroidism (likewise referred to as moderate thyroid failure), that may increase the risk of heart issues.

Furthermore, in some people, a high consumption of iodine can cause an acneiform eruption (skin issues such as acne rosacea, acne vulgaris, perioral dermatitis, and folliculitis).

Groups at highest threat for iodine toxicity are senior citizens, individuals with thyroid disease, and establishing children. [11]


The proper dose of brown algae depends on numerous aspects such as the user’s age, health, and a number of other conditions. At this time there is insufficient clinical details to identify an appropriate variety of doses for brown algae. Keep in mind that natural products are not constantly necessarily safe and does can be important. Make certain to follow appropriate instructions on item labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare specialist before utilizing.

Special precautions and warnings

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is inadequate trustworthy information available about the safety of brown algae during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid using brown algae during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. [12]


Phaeophyta progressed about 150-200 million years back. They are either tiny or macroscopic. Life cycle of phaeophyta varies from one member to another. In higher members of phaeophyta, life process consists of alternation of haploid phase and diploid phase. They can adjust to a large marine environment; tidal, intertidal and deep zones. Some members of phaeophyta have adaptive bladders, suggested for drifting photosynthetic parts on or near the water surface for collecting light. Biggest phaeophyta types, for instance, a giant kelp can reach to about 70 meters in length. They frequently cause annoyance to aquarium environment by developing brown spots on any exposed surface areas such as glass, rocks or gravel.

Commercially exploited phaeophyta consist of those come from the orders, Laminarales and Fucales. Previously, marine seaweeds of phaeophyta were utilized for the extraction of iodine and potash. In recent times, phaeophyta are thoroughly made use of for the extraction of alginic acid, which is utilized for obtaining alginate, a significant colloidal gel used as a stabilizer, emulsifier or binder in lots of industrial applications. Apart from alginic acid, agar, carrageenans are also derived from phaeophyta. Commercially, alginate is utilized in fabric printing, baking, tooth pastes, soaps, ice creams, meat preservation, and so on. Another use of phaeophyta is in the manufacturing of agricultural or horticultural sprays. In addition, phaeophyta is utilized as a food source. The brown algae, laminaria is cultivated on manufactured algal ponds (utilizing ropes) for the production of food supplements and alginates. Harvested phaeophyta are then processed to prepare seaweed meals. These extremely proteinaceous seaweed meals are exported to numerous countries, especially to fix the problem of poor nutrition. Brown algae have actually proven to be among the most adaptable types, and are likewise among the major contributing consider the upkeep of a well balanced community. [13]


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