Brown Algae

Brown algae are algal species characterized 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). Much 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 thrive in intertidal zones of rocky seashores. They are gathered, dried, and processed for the commercial production of soap, glass, and so on. They are likewise utilized 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 consisted 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 microscopic and unicellular as the majority of protists are known for. Numerous brown algae are macroscopic as currently explained above. Algae are further divided into a number of phyla: Euglenophyta, Chrysophyta (diatoms), Pyrrophyta (dinoflagellates), Chlorophyta (green algae), Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Current studies and findings, though, might lead to modifications in the taxonomic positions and more recent systems of category. For instance, the phylum Phaeophyta is now obsolete in numerous contemporary references. It used to be the phylum including organisms typically referred to as brown algae. At present, the brown algae are now members of Phaeophyceae, which is one of the taxonomic classes under the new phylum, Ochrophyta.

Phaeophyceae is consisted of algal types identified by their brown or greenish-brown color due to the presence of brown pigments, such as fucoxanthin. Nevertheless, 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. However, members of Phaeophyceae are more commonly described jointly 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 types that forms the so-called kelp forest. A kelp forest offers marine species an environment. The giant kelp is considered the longest algal species. It could reach over 50 meters long.

Phaeophyceae is a clade consisted of olive green to brown multicellular algae. The size could vary from a small 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 particular greenish-brown color is credited to and depends on the amount of fucoxanthin. Apart from this pigment, chlorophyll a and c2 are likewise present.

Their carb reserve is laminarin (β1-3 glucose polymer). Similar to other algal groups, brown algae manifests alternation of generations. The sporophyte is frequently the more visible form. Most of the brown algae (except for the Fucales) reproduce sexually by sporic meiosis. Those that can nonsexual recreation recreate by means of motile zoospores.

The body (thallus) of Phaeophyceae does not have the vascular tissues that exist in tracheophytes. Therefore, brown algae do not have true roots, stems, and leaves. The root-like structure of the brown algae is referred to as the holdfast. Comparable to a real root, the holdfast acts 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 consisted of three layers: the outer skin, the middle cortex, and the inner central pith. The pith might include a core of phloem-like cells. In other species, the pith might 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 grow specifically in cold ocean waters.

Evolution and Phylogeny

Brown algae are presumed to have actually evolved from a symbiotic relationship in 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 essential as food and as environment for many water animals. Kelps create a kelp forest that acts as a habitat for small marine animals. Sargassum, another brown algal species, provides a floating mat as another environment for diverse types. Ascophyllum nodosum is capable of repairing carbon. Brown algae have alginate in their cell walls. It is drawn out for use as a food thickener. Fucus species, for example, is harvested for usage in soap and glass making. They are also utilized as fertilizers for crops. Other species are edible to human beings. [1]

Economic Importance of Brown Algae

Algae are very important for their carbon fixation capability. They are an important element 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, and so on.

  • Alginic acid is commercially drawn out and used in the food markets as a thickening agent. It is utilized as a stabilizer in ice cream and baking industries.
  • Alginic acid is likewise used in batteries.
  • Alginic acid is used for making pills and surgical threads.
  • Numerous types are utilized as fertilizers.
  • Kelp is utilized for producing soda ash. It is used in the production of soap and glass.
  • Brown algae like Laminaria is rich in iodine and has been utilized to treat iodine deficiency, e.g. Goitre.
  • They have actually been used for medicinal purposes, e.g. sodium laminarin sulphate is an anticoagulant. They likewise have antibiotic and vermifuge residential or commercial properties. [2]

Life process

The majority of 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) phases. The sporophyte phase is typically the more visible of the two, though some types of brown algae have comparable diploid and haploid phases. Free floating forms of brown algae frequently do not undergo sexual reproduction till they attach themselves to substrate. The haploid generation includes male and female gametophytes. The fertilization of egg cells varies between species of brown algae, and might be isogamous, oogamous, or anisogamous. Fertilization may happen in the water with eggs and motile sperm, or within the oogonium itself.

Certain species of brown algae can likewise carry out asexual reproduction through the production of motile diploid zoospores. These zoospores form in plurilocular sporangium, and can grow into the sporophyte stage instantly.

In a representative species Laminaria, there is an obvious diploid generation and smaller haploid generations. Meiosis happens within numerous unilocular sporangium along the algae’s blade, each one forming either haploid male or female zoospores. The spores are then launched 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 fully grown diploid is the only kind for each generation. Gametes are formed in specialized conceptacles that occur scattered on both surface areas of the receptacle, the outer part of the blades of the parent plant. Egg cells and motile sperm are released from separate sacs within the conceptacles of the parent algae, combining in the water to finish fertilization. The fertilized zygote settles onto a surface and after that differentiates into a leafy thallus and a finger-like holdfast. Light regulates distinction of the zygote into blade and holdfast. [3]

Worldwide there have to do with 1500– 2000 brown seaweed species.

Brown algae come from a large group, the Heterokontophyta, a eukaryotic group of organisms identified most plainly by having chloroplasts surrounded by four membranes, suggesting an origin from a cooperative relationship between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryotic organism. A lot of brown algae contain the pigment fucoxanthin, which is accountable for the distinctive greenish-brown color that gives them their name. Brown algae are distinct amongst heterokonts in developing into multicellular kinds with separated tissues, but they reproduce by means of flagellate spores, which carefully resemble other heterokont cells. Genetic studies reveal their closest relatives to be the yellow-green algae.

Phaeophyta initially appear in the fossil record in the Mesozoic, possibly as early as the Jurassic. Their event as fossils is rare due to their typically soft-bodied habit, and scientists continue to discuss the recognition of some finds. Other algae groups, such as the red algae and green algae have a number of calcareous members, which are most 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 unspoiled in Monterey Formation diatomites, however few other particular fossils, particularly of older specimens are known in the fossil record. [4]

Major Health Benefits of Brown Seaweed

Restricted evidence supports a number of the claims of its medicinal advantages, but some studies suggest it may have health benefits.

  1. Weight reduction
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cognitive Improvement
  4. Others: Skin Care and Arthritis

1. Weight-loss

Inhibition of lipases, a pancreatic enzyme that causes the breakdown of fats, is among the primary therapeutic targets of anti-obesity drugs. In one 2016 study, researchers assessing the anti-pancreatic lipase activity of preparations from 3 brown seaweeds, including Fucus vesiculosus, discovered 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 handling diabetes. Some scientists suggested that it could be developed as a representative for type 2 diabetes therapy.

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

3. Cognitive Improvement

A 2018 study supplied the very first evidence for modulation of cognition with seaweed extract. Compared to their outcomes on a pre-lunch cognitive test, the group getting the supplement which is made by a combination of Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus carried out much better at the cognitive jobs than the placebo group. These findings are most likely discussed by the fact that parts in brown seaweeds prevent the crucial enzymes involved in the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates, permitting the constant blood glucose levels that enable the brain to work consistently well. Researchers require future research study to take a look at the effects on cognition in parallel with blood glucose and insulin responses.

4. Skin Care and Arthritis

Research suggests that the Fucus vesiculosus extract might possess anti-aging and anti-inflammatory activities too. [5]
As above, there are a number of locations where brown seaweeds have actually been investigated and its found they have possible to have an impressive effect on a range of health ailments.

The essential worth in consuming brown seaweeds routinely (in carefully kept track of amounts due to their naturally occuring high iodine level) consists of a variety of benefits for optimum health:.

  • Nurturing the thyroid gland & & brain Stabilizing hormonal agents
  • Improving metabolism & & helping with weight reduction
  • Getting rid of radioactivity, heavy metals & & ecological contaminants from the body
  • Naturally preventing cancer cell growth
  • Calming the skin and the digestive tract
  • supporting bone and joint health

There is continuous research study to check out how brown seaweeds may be important to resolving a series of degenerative diseases, hinder the development of cancer cells and even weight-loss. [6]

What Are the Health Advantages 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 published in the 2012 issue of the journal “PLoS One.” Kelp consumption might be partly responsible for lower rates of breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers amongst Asian women, according to a study released in the February 2005 concern of the “Journal of Nutrition.” In the laboratory animal study, kelp lengthened the menstruation, decreased estrogen levels and hindered both estrogen and progesterone from binding to receptors on cells. Researchers concluded that kelp supplements might assist modulate the endocrine system to help avoid some kinds of cancer.

Radiation Defense

Brown seaweed may assist safeguard versus the harmful effects of radiation direct exposure, according to nutritional expert Phyllis Balch, author of the book “Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Heal.” A research study published in the February 2004 problem of the journal “Health Physics” found that sodium alginate, an extract of brown algae, avoided absorption of radioactive strontium from contaminated milk. Researchers kept in mind that the brown algae extract was highly reliable and without hazardous side effects.


Supplementing with brown seaweed might increase your danger for thyroid disease, 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 significantly increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone. All levels returned to regular within two weeks of stopping the kelp supplements. Scientist concluded that further studies on the health results of long-lasting supplements with kelp are required. [7]

How seaweed assists hair development?

There is still much to be found about the extent of seaweeds advantages however the main advantages of using seaweed for your hair and scalp are:.


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

This indicates it will avoid the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms on the scalp which can cause fungal infections or skin inflammation.

In fact, one study discovered that the application of a specific Pacific red seaweed to rats triggered a boost in hair development rate and recovery. More research study is needed, however it might show that seaweed can aid with hair growth and basic wellness.

Keep Hair Shiny And Shiny

The fatty acids in seaweed coat the hair strands and help to keep them safeguarded and smooth while the other nutrients enhance the hair and follicles. All of this integrated lead to glossy, healthy hair.


The fats omega-3 and omega-6 make it great for enhancing the hair roots and possibly motivating hair development by keeping healthy hair roots which is where the hair grows from the root in the skin.

Scalp Care

The enzymes and antioxidants in seaweed aid to eliminate dirt and oils from the scalp, preventing product accumulation or similar problems.

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

How To Use Seaweed For Hair

Seaweed can be utilized for hair either by consuming it routinely or by using topical treatments in a regular.

Numerous dishes are basic and easy to make at home once you have access to dried seaweed or a seaweed powder.

Here are 2 dishes for topical hair treatments including seaweed that are easy to produce in the house:.

Organic Seaweed Clay Shampoo

You will require:.

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Seaweed
  • 2 Tablespoon Clay Powder
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  1. Add one tablespoon of dried seaweed into a bowl and include one cup of warm water. Ensure the water is not boiling as this will ruin the seaweeds beneficial residential or commercial properties.
  2. Leave the seaweed to soak in the water for half an hour. You will discover the seaweed and water becomes a little ‘slimy’ and this is when you need to add two tablespoons of clay.
  3. Mix well up 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 take in excess oil from the scalp due to the clay, while the seaweed includes hydration, vitamins, and other essential benefits 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 produce a thin but not watery paste. Add a tablespoon of seaweed powder to the mix and integrate well.

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

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

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

Keep in mind

Seaweed can consist of the well-known elements collagen and other nutrients that are responsible for hair recovery, hydration, mineralisation and likewise its density!

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

Brown Algae in Fish Tank

Brown algae is a typical issue in lots of aquarium, specifically those that have actually been just recently set up. It’s not dangerous to fish but can turn your stunning fish tank into an awful mess. This slimy layer coats not simply the tank walls however likewise the substrate, designs, and plants. If it coats your aquatic plants, they won’t be able to photosynthesize effectively and may weaken and pass away.

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

Steps for Removing Brown Algae From Aquarium

Here are some actions ideas for getting rid of brown algae.

  1. Offer it time. Brown algae is a natural occurrence when setting up a new fish tank as the tank’s system needs time to grow. It takes about four to 6 weeks to cycle a tank, that is, to establish its bacteria and nitrogen cycle. Likewise, plants in brand-new tanks do not grow as quickly and soak up as much nutrients as those in more established tanks.
  2. The brown algae needs to clear up on its own within a few weeks. In the beginning, there will be couple of nutrients in brown algae, however it ends up being more healthy as it develops with time and fish will start to eat it. If it doesn’t clear up or if your tank isn’t a brand-new setup, you might have other problems on hand.
  3. Tidy it. The best method to get rid of brown algae is with manual cleaning. Eliminate your fashion jewelry and watch, clean your hands, and roll up your sleeves. Use scrapers, sponges, and magnetic scrubbers to get rid of the algae from the tank walls. Carefully wipe the leaves of water plants. Remove any designs from the tank prior to cleaning them.
  4. Bleach. If your tank decorations are covered with brown algae, soaking them in a bleach option every couple of weeks will assist. They’ll need to be washed thoroughly with water or soaked in water for a few hours to reduce the effects of the bleach before putting them back in the tank.
  5. Algae eaters. Otocinclus catfish, amano shrimp, and nerite snails are some of the sea creatures that will consume brown algae and some other types of algae. However, do not present them to your new tank too early as they might begin consuming your plants. Include them one to two weeks after setting up your tank, when the brown algae gets more apparent.

These algae eaters can have their own difficulties. Otocinclus catfish needs water to be well oxygenated and tidy. Amano shrimp will consume the young shoots of plants when they lack algae to eat, so it is essential to adjust the number 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 challenging to fully remove it entirely. Nevertheless, there are some ways in which you can limit the quantity of algae development.

  • Test your water. If your tank has been just recently established, it will require more frequent testing of the water until a healthy environment has actually been developed. Temperature, pH, nitrates, ammonia, and more can impact the quality of your tank’s water. For a more mature tank, routine water testing will assist you preserve a healthy system.
  • Modification the water. Routine modifications of water can assist prevent algae from growing. This lowers the quantity of nutrients in the water. Do not alter the water too often, however, as this can disturb the balance of excellent germs in the tank. Likewise, don’t change more than 50% of the water at time to prevent stressing your fish.
  • Add more plants. Water plants absorb the nitrates in water but just one or two plants will not do much in your tank. At least 25% of your system requires to be plants for it to make a difference in the water quality.
  • Examine the filtering. Lots of owners underestimate their tank’s filtering requirements. Select a purification system that’s about 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 release more nutrients into the water which feeds the brown algae.
  • Activated carbon. Adding more triggered carbon to the water filter can help absorb extra nutrients.
  • Usage reverse-osmosis water. Regular tap water has phosphates and nitrates and if these levels are high, it can increase algae development. Using reverse-osmosis or distilled water can assist. [10]

Side effects of brown algae

Brown algae are normally safe, however, at high doses of numerous grams each day, they may trigger momentary diarrhea.

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

Nevertheless, the biggest side effects of eating excessive Phaeophyta is consuming too much iodine.

Taking in excessive iodine has been related to the development of subclinical hypothyroidism (likewise called mild thyroid failure), that might increase the danger of heart problems.

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

Groups at highest danger for iodine toxicity are seniors, people with thyroid illness, and establishing babies. [11]


The proper dosage of brown algae depends upon numerous elements such as the user’s age, health, and numerous other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific info to identify an appropriate range of dosages for brown algae. Remember that natural products are not constantly necessarily safe and does can be important. Be sure to follow appropriate instructions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or doctor or other healthcare professional before using.

Special preventative measures and cautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is insufficient dependable info offered about the security of brown algae during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and prevent using brown algae during pregnancy or while breast-feeding. [12]


Phaeophyta evolved about 150-200 million years back. They are either tiny or macroscopic. Life cycle of phaeophyta varies from one member to another. In greater members of phaeophyta, life process includes alternation of haploid phase and diploid stage. They can adjust to a wide marine environment; tidal, intertidal and deep zones. Some members of phaeophyta have adaptive bladders, meant for floating photosynthetic parts on or near the water surface for collecting light. Largest phaeophyta types, for example, a huge kelp can reach to about 70 meters in length. They often cause annoyance to fish tank environment by establishing brown patches on any exposed surfaces 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 used for the extraction of iodine and potash. In current times, phaeophyta are thoroughly made use of for the extraction of alginic acid, which is used for deriving alginate, a major colloidal gel utilized as a stabilizer, emulsifier or binder in many commercial applications. Apart from alginic acid, agar, carrageenans are likewise originated from phaeophyta. Commercially, alginate is utilized in material printing, baking, tooth pastes, soaps, ice creams, meat conservation, etc. Another use of phaeophyta remains in the production of agricultural or horticultural sprays. In addition, phaeophyta is utilized as a food source. The brown algae, laminaria is cultivated on manufactured algal ponds (using ropes) for the production of food supplements and alginates. Harvested phaeophyta are then processed to prepare seaweed meals. These highly proteinaceous seaweed meals are exported to various countries, particularly to solve the issue of poor nutrition. Brown algae have actually proven to be among the most versatile types, and are also among the major contributing factors in the upkeep of a balanced environment. [13]


Click to rate this post!
[Total: 1 Average: 5]

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.