Building insight in seaweed cell wall structure to better valorize carrageenan extraction
Carrageenan is a natural sulphated galactan found in the cell wall matrix of rhodophyte (red seaweed). It is widely used as a thickening agent or to form gels in a food matrix. Due to its functionality at low concentration level and thermoreversible property, the usage of carrageenan is very popular in the food industry (dairy, dessert, meat fillers, etc). However, current practice of industrial carrageenan extraction uses strong alkali and salt content to optimally obtain carrageenan yield. The waste stream of carrageenan production is expensive to manage and dangerous to the environment. In order to understand whether it is feasible to extract carrageenan without the use of strong chemicals and reagents, a deeper understanding of the cell wall components is needed. This study will try to identify how carrageenan is linked with other cell wall components and elucidate the diffusion mechanism of carrageenan out of the seaweed cell wall matrix. Additionally, by identifying other potentially valuable components in the seaweed cell wall, the side stream of carrageenan production can be valorized.