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Algae cultivation in Bali

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Algae was used exclusively as a fertilizer in antiquity and was incorporated in the form of ash into glass manufacture in the 20th century. Today 97 percent of algae production serves the food industry. Out of approximately 30,000 algae species known throughout the world, only a few dozen are exploited. They include carrageen (Chondrus crispus), also called Irish moss, from which is extracted a colloid used as a jelling, thickening, or stabilizing agent by the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. In the Far East, the cultivation of this kind of red algae is an important source of revenue for coastal populations. Cuttings of algae are attached on submerged ropes, held taut between stakes, following the main current. Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer of red algae, a market dominated by the Philippines, which produced over 600,000 tons in 2002 (32 percent of global production). If all of the species of algae are combined, however, China is the leading producer and consumer.

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