Sargassum could be used by the pharmaceutical and food industries

The sargassum accumulation phenomenon in the Caribbean has its origin in climate change
Sargassum could be used by the pharmaceutical and food industries
Sargassum affects marine life and tourism - Photo: Adriana Varillas/EL GRÁFICO
14/08/2018
15:47
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Mexico City
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Francisco Arreguín Sánchez, a scientist from the IPN says that the sargassum crisis in the Mexican Caribbean could be an opportunity for the pharmaceutical and food sectors, which could take advantage of chemical substances such as alginates to develop products.

The scientist, from the Interdisciplinary Center of Marine Sciences, explained that the IPN has over 30 years of experience in the extraction and use of alginates from the Pacific coast, which are used by these industries.

In a statement released by the IPN, he says that their technology would have to be adapted to sargassum to be able to exploit it.

He explained that fighting the problem of the massive quantities of seaweed requires international collaboration and the public and private sectors, to generate a model of adequate use.

Arreguín Sánchez emphasized that seaweed is not harmful to marine life, it actually is a habitat that helps to raise young sea turtles and other species, such as eels and invertebrates.

However, he pointed out the negative effects: the coast of Quintana Roo is known for being a nesting place for turtles, and when the eggs hatch and the young turtles go to the sea, the sargassum can be a barrier for them to swim into the ocean.

Arreguín Sánchez said that the massive arrival of sargassum is a global issue and that it needs international collaboration to find a way to mitigate the ecological impact, because the accumulation of this seaweed occurs in several countries in Africa, northern Brazil, the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States.

The scientist pointed out that trends in climate and oceanic indicators warn that the sargassum phenomenon will be recurring during the next two decades.

"The sargassum accumulation phenomenon in Caribbean beaches has its origin in climate change, a natural process associated with 70-years-cycles, known as regime change, and at the beginning of the 80s, a cooling period of several decades ends, and a warm-up begins," explained Arreguín Sánchez.
 

Artículo

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