Industrial uses of macroalgae extracts expanded rapidly after the Second World War, but were sometimes limited by the availability of raw materials. Once again, research into life cycles has led to the development of cultivation industries that now supply a high proportion of the raw materials for some hydrocolloids. Today, approximately 1 million tons of wet macroalgae are harvested annually and extracted to produce the above three hydrocolloids. Total hydrocolloid production is in the region of 55,000 tons/yr, with a value of 585 million U.S. dollars.
There are a number of artificial products reputed to be suitable replacements for macroalgae gums but none have the exact gelling and viscosity properties of macroalgae gums and it is very unlikely that macroalgae will be replaced as the source of these polysaccharides in the near future.
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