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). Many of them are macroscopic. In fact, kelps are large brown seaweeds that grow in shallow oceans and form the so-called kelp forest. Fucus is another macroscopic brown algal types. They flourish in intertidal zones of rocky seashores. They are gathered, dried, and processed for the industrial production of soap, glass, and so on. They are likewise utilized as fertilizers.

Synonyms: Phaeophyta; Phaeophyceae; Fucophyceae.


The old plan of category involves 5 significant kingdoms. One of them is the kingdom Protista (protists). This group is consisted of three 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 most protists are known for. Lots of brown algae are macroscopic as already explained above. Algae are more divided into a number of phyla: Euglenophyta, Chrysophyta (diatoms), Pyrrophyta (dinoflagellates), Chlorophyta (green algae), Phaeophyta, and Rhodophyta. Current research studies and findings, though, might result in changes in the taxonomic positions and more recent systems of classification. For instance, the phylum Phaeophyta is now obsolete in lots of modern recommendations. It used to be the phylum including organisms typically described as brown algae. At present, the brown algae are now members of Phaeophyceae, which is among the taxonomic classes under the new phylum, Ochrophyta.

Phaeophyceae is comprised of algal types identified by their brown or greenish-brown color due to the existence of brown pigments, such as fucoxanthin. However, apart from this class, some algal species that are brownish in color have been consisted of here as well, 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 species that are multicellular.

Brown algae taxonomy

Phaeophyceae is comprised 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 species that forms the so-called kelp forest. A kelp forest supplies marine types a habitat. The huge kelp is regarded as the longest algal types. It could reach over 50 meters long.

Phaeophyceae is a clade comprised of olive green to brown multicellular algae. The size might vary from a tiny tuft of a few centimeters to giant kelp of over 50 meters long. Macrocystis pyrifera (huge kelp) is considered the biggest algae. Their particular greenish-brown color is attributed to and depends upon the amount of fucoxanthin. Apart from this pigment, chlorophyll a and c2 are also present.

Their carbohydrate 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 kind. Most of the brown algae (except for the Fucales) recreate sexually by sporic meiosis. Those that can asexual reproduction reproduce by means of motile zoospores.

The body (thallus) of Phaeophyceae does not have the vascular tissues that exist in tracheophytes. Thus, brown algae do not have true roots, stems, and leaves. The root-like structure of the brown algae is described as the holdfast. Comparable to a true root, the holdfast acts as an anchor, preventing the algal thallus to be swept away by the existing. 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 epidermis, the middle cortex, and the inner main pith. The pith might include a core of phloem-like cells. In other types, the pith might be hollow and gas-filled, and for that reason connected with algal buoyancy. The leaf-like structure is referred to as a blade (when it is single and not divided), a frond (when divided), or a lamina (when flattened). The air bladders in the thallus are called pneumatocysts. They increase algal buoyancy.

Brown algae are mainly marine and macroscopic. They flourish specifically in cold ocean waters.

Evolution and Phylogeny

Brown algae are presumed to have actually developed from a cooperative relationship in between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryote based upon having four-membraned chloroplasts. Genetically, they are more closely related to the yellow-green algae.

Biological value

These organisms are very important as food and as habitat for numerous marine animals. Kelps produce a kelp forest that serves as an environment for small marine animals. Sargassum, another brown algal species, provides a drifting mat as another habitat for diverse species. Ascophyllum nodosum is capable of repairing carbon. Brown algae have alginate in their cell walls. It is extracted for usage as a food thickener. Fucus species, for instance, is harvested for use in soap and glass making. They are also utilized as fertilizers for crops. Other species are edible to humans. [1]

Economic Significance of Brown Algae

Algae are very important for their carbon fixation capability. They are an essential component of the water food chain as main producers. 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 industries as a thickening representative. It is used as a stabilizer in ice cream and baking markets.
  • Alginic acid is also used in batteries.
  • Alginic acid is utilized for making tablets and surgical threads.
  • Numerous species 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 abundant in iodine and has been utilized to deal with iodine deficiency, e.g. Goitre.
  • They have actually been utilized for medicinal functions, e.g. sodium laminarin sulphate is an anticoagulant. They likewise have antibiotic and vermifuge properties. [2]

Life process

The majority of brown algae, with the exception of the Fucales, carry out sexual reproduction through sporic meiosis. [48] Between generations, the algae go through separate sporophyte (diploid) and gametophyte (haploid) stages. The sporophyte stage is typically the more visible of the two, though some species of brown algae have comparable diploid and haploid phases. Free drifting types of brown algae typically do not go through sexual reproduction up until they connect themselves to substrate. The haploid generation includes male and female gametophytes. The fertilization of egg cells varies between species of brown algae, and may be isogamous, oogamous, or anisogamous. Fertilization may take place in the water with eggs and motile sperm, or within the oogonium itself.

Certain types of brown algae can also perform asexual recreation through the production of motile diploid zoospores. These zoospores form in plurilocular sporangium, and can develop into the sporophyte stage right away.

In a representative types Laminaria, there is a noticeable diploid generation and smaller sized haploid generations. Meiosis occurs within a number of unilocular sporangium along the algae’s blade, every one forming either haploid male or female zoospores. The spores are then released 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 fully grown diploid sporophyte.

In the order Fucales, sexual reproduction is oogamous, and the fully grown diploid is the only form for each generation. Gametes are formed in specialized conceptacles that occur scattered on both surfaces of the receptacle, the external part of the blades of the parent plant. Egg cells and motile sperm are released from different sacs within the conceptacles of the parent algae, integrating 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 differentiation of the zygote into blade and holdfast. [3]

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

Brown algae belong to a large group, the Heterokontophyta, a eukaryotic group of organisms identified most prominently by having actually chloroplasts surrounded by 4 membranes, recommending an origin from a symbiotic relationship between a basal eukaryote and another eukaryotic organism. Many brown algae include the pigment fucoxanthin, which is accountable for the distinct greenish-brown color that provides their name. Brown algae are unique amongst heterokonts in developing into multicellular kinds with separated tissues, however they recreate by means of flagellate spores, which closely resemble other heterokont cells. Genetic research studies reveal their closest relatives to be the yellow-green algae.

Phaeophyta initially appear in the fossil record in the Mesozoic, potentially as early as the Jurassic. Their event as fossils is rare due to their typically soft-bodied habit, and researchers continue to debate the recognition of some finds. Other algae groups, such as the red algae and green algae have a number of calcareous members, which are more 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 found unspoiled in Monterey Formation diatomites, however couple of other specific fossils, particularly of older specimens are understood in the fossil record. [4]

Major Health Advantages of Brown Seaweed

Restricted proof supports a lot of the claims of its medical advantages, however some research studies recommend it might have health advantages.

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

1. Weight reduction

Inhibition of lipases, a pancreatic enzyme that triggers the breakdown of fats, is among the main healing targets of anti-obesity drugs. In one 2016 study, researchers examining the anti-pancreatic lipase activity of preparations from three brown seaweeds, consisting of Fucus vesiculosus, found that they revealed substantial inhibition of lipase activity.

2. Diabetes

Edible seaweed is low in calories and abundant in dietary fiber, unsaturated fatty acids, and vitamins, making it appropriate for managing diabetes. Some researchers showed that it could be developed as a representative for type 2 diabetes treatment.

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

3. Cognitive Enhancement

A 2018 study provided the first proof 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 mix of Ascophyllum nodosum and Fucus vesiculosus performed much better at the cognitive jobs than the placebo group. These findings are most likely described by the reality that components in brown seaweeds prevent the crucial enzymes associated with the breakdown and absorption of carbohydrates, permitting the consistent blood glucose levels that enable the brain to work consistently well. Scientists require future research to analyze the results on cognition in parallel with blood sugar 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 variety of locations where brown seaweeds have actually been investigated and its discovered they have prospective to have an impressive effect on a series of health ailments.

The essential value in eating brown seaweeds frequently (in thoroughly kept an eye on amounts due to their naturally taking place high iodine level) consists of a number of advantages for optimum health:.

  • Nurturing the thyroid gland & & brain Stabilizing hormonal agents
  • Improving metabolism & & helping with weight reduction
  • Removing radioactivity, heavy metals & & environmental toxic substances from the body
  • Naturally hindering cancer cell development
  • Calming the skin and the digestive system
  • supporting bone and joint health

There is continuous research to explore how brown seaweeds might be important to resolving a series of degenerative illness, prevent the growth of cancer cells and even weight loss. [6]

What Are the Health Benefits of Brown Seaweed Supplements?


Fucoidan, a compound discovered in brown seaweed, may help prevent metastasis of lung cancer, according to a tissue culture research study published in the 2012 concern of the journal “PLoS One.” Kelp usage might be instrumental for lower rates of breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers among Asian females, according to a research study released in the February 2005 concern of the “Journal of Nutrition.” In the laboratory animal study, kelp extended the menstrual cycle, decreased estrogen levels and inhibited both estrogen and progesterone from binding to receptors on cells. Researchers concluded that kelp supplements might help modulate the endocrine system to assist prevent some forms of cancer.

Radiation Security

Brown seaweed might help protect versus the harmful results of radiation exposure, according to nutritionist Phyllis Balch, author of the book “Prescription for Dietary Wellness: Using Foods to Recover.” A research study published in the February 2004 concern of the journal “Health Physics” discovered that sodium alginate, an extract of brown algae, prevented absorption of radioactive strontium from contaminated milk. Researchers kept in mind that the brown algae extract was extremely efficient and without poisonous adverse effects.


Supplementing with brown seaweed may increase your risk for thyroid disease, according to a research study published in the September 2003 issue of the journal “Endocrine Practice.” In the study, healthy individuals who consumed 4 kelp capsules each day for 4 weeks showed considerably increased levels of thyroid-stimulating hormonal agent. All levels returned to regular within two weeks of stopping the kelp supplements. Researchers concluded that further studies on the health effects of long-lasting supplementation with kelp are needed. [7]

How seaweed assists hair growth?

There is still much to be found about the level of seaweeds benefits but the main benefits of using seaweed for your hair and scalp are:.


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

This suggests it will prevent the growth of germs and other microorganisms on the scalp which can result in fungal infections or skin inflammation.

In fact, one research study discovered that the application of a particular Pacific red seaweed to rats caused a boost in hair growth rate and healing. More research study is needed, but it might show that seaweed can aid with hair development and general well-being.

Keep Hair Shiny And Shiny

The fats in seaweed coat the hair strands and help to keep them safeguarded and smooth while the other nutrients enrich the hair and roots. All of this combined lead to glossy, healthy hair.


The fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 make it excellent for enhancing the hair follicles and possibly motivating hair growth by maintaining healthy hair follicles which is where the hair grows from the root in the skin.

Scalp Care

The enzymes and antioxidants in seaweed assistance to get rid of dirt and oils from the scalp, avoiding item buildup or similar concerns.

By clarifying the scalp, utilizing seaweed will help to prevent accumulation and potential skin issues on the skin of your scalp.

How To Utilize Seaweed For Hair

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

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

Here are two dishes for topical hair treatments including seaweed that are basic to develop at home:.

Organic Seaweed Clay Shampoo

You will require:.

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Seaweed
  • 2 Tbsp Clay Powder
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  1. Add one tablespoon of dried seaweed into a bowl and include one cup of warm water. Make sure the water is not boiling as this will damage the seaweeds advantageous properties.
  2. Leave the seaweed to take in the water for half an hour. You will discover the seaweed and water ends up being a little ‘slimy’ and this is when you should include 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 up to 10 minutes.

This natural option to hair shampoo should soak up excess oil from the scalp due to the clay, while the seaweed adds hydration, vitamins, and other essential benefits to the mix.

Organic Seaweed Hair Mask

You will need:.

Half Cup Olive Oil

  • 1 Tbsp Dried Seaweed/Seaweed Powder
  • Half Cup Conditioner

Mix in a bowl equivalent parts of oil and conditioner to develop a thin however not watery paste. Include a tablespoon of seaweed powder to the mixture and combine 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 need to be left feeling much healthier with the oil and seaweed covering the hair strands.

This will assist to promote smoother, softer hair by keeping the conditioner treatment consisted of within the hair and producing a protective barrier between your hair and the outside elements.

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 coating the strands. [8]

Keep in mind

Seaweed can include the popular components collagen and other nutrients that are accountable for hair recovery, hydration, mineralisation and likewise its thickness!

Owing to the abundance of zinc and vitamins A and C in some seaweed, they may likewise stimulate hair development and production. [9]

Brown Algae in Fish Tank

Brown algae is a typical problem in lots of aquarium, especially those that have been recently set up. It’s not hazardous to fish but can turn your gorgeous aquarium into an ugly mess. This slimy layer coats not simply the tank walls however also the substrate, decorations, and plants. If it coats your water plants, they won’t have the ability to photosynthesize appropriately and might damage and die.

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

Actions for Removing Brown Algae From Aquarium

Here are some steps tips for eliminating brown algae.

  1. Offer it time. Brown algae is a natural occurrence when setting up a new fish tank as the tank’s system requires time to grow. It takes about 4 to 6 weeks to cycle a tank, that is, to establish its germs and nitrogen cycle. Also, plants in brand-new tanks do not grow as rapidly and absorb as much nutrients as those in more recognized tanks.
  2. The brown algae needs to clean up by itself within a couple of weeks. Initially, there will be couple of nutrients in brown algae, but it ends up being more nutritious as it develops in time and fish will begin to consume it. If it doesn’t clean up or if your tank isn’t a new setup, you may have other concerns on hand.
  3. Clean it. The very best method to eliminate brown algae is with manual cleaning. Remove 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 clean the leaves of aquatic plants. Eliminate any decors from the tank prior to cleaning them.
  4. Bleach. If your tank designs are covered with brown algae, soaking them in a bleach service every couple of weeks will help. They’ll need to be rinsed completely with water or taken in water for a couple of hours to reduce the effects of the bleach prior to putting them back in the tank.
  5. Algae eaters. Otocinclus catfish, amano shrimp, and nerite snails are a few of the sea animals that will consume brown algae and some other types of algae. Nevertheless, do not present them to your new tank too early as they may start eating your plants. Include them one to two weeks after establishing your tank, when the brown algae gets more obvious.

These algae eaters can have their own problems. Otocinclus catfish requires water to be well oxygenated and tidy. Amano shrimp will eat the young shoots of plants when they run out of algae to eat, so it is essential to adjust the number of shrimp to the amount of brown algae in your tank.

How to Limit Brown Algae Growth

All fish tanks will have some type of algae, and it’s difficult to completely eliminate it completely. Nevertheless, there are some ways in which you can restrict the quantity of algae development.

  • Check your water. If your tank has actually been recently set up, it will need more regular testing of the water till a healthy environment has been developed. Temperature level, pH, nitrates, ammonia, and more can affect the quality of your tank’s water. For a more mature tank, routine water testing will assist you maintain a healthy system.
  • Modification the water. Routine changes of water can help prevent algae from growing. This minimizes the quantity of nutrients in the water. Don’t alter the water frequently, though, as this can distress the balance of excellent germs in the tank. Also, don’t alter more than 50% of the water at time to prevent worrying your fish.
  • Add more plants. Marine plants take in the nitrates in water however just a couple of plants will not do much in your tank. At least 25% of your system needs to be plants for it to make a difference in the water quality.
  • Examine the filtration. Numerous owners underestimate their tank’s filtering requirements. Pick a purification system that has to do with one and a half to 2 times the size of your fish tank.
  • Don’t overfeed. Any food that’s not eaten by your fish will rot and launch more nutrients into the water which feeds the brown algae.
  • Activated carbon. Adding more triggered carbon to the water filter can help soak up extra nutrients.
  • Usage reverse-osmosis water. Regular tap water has phosphates and nitrates and if these levels are high, it can increase algae growth. Utilizing reverse-osmosis or distilled water can help. [10]

Negative effects of brown algae

Brown algae are generally safe, but, at high doses of numerous grams daily, they may trigger short-term diarrhea.

According to a 2003 research study that was issued in the journal “Endocrine Practice,” supplementing with Phaeophyta may significantly increase the levels of thyroid-stimulating hormonal agent.

However, the biggest negative effects of eating too much Phaeophyta is ingesting too much iodine.

Consuming too much iodine has been connected with the advancement of subclinical hypothyroidism (also known as moderate thyroid failure), that might increase the danger of heart issues.

In addition, in some individuals, a high intake of iodine can cause an acneiform eruption (skin issues such as acne rosacea, acne vulgaris, perioral dermatitis, and folliculitis).

Groups at greatest danger for iodine toxicity are seniors, individuals with thyroid illness, and establishing infants. [11]


The suitable dose of brown algae depends on several elements such as the user’s age, health, and a number of other conditions. At this time there is insufficient clinical information to identify a suitable range of doses for brown algae. Remember that natural items are not always necessarily safe and does can be crucial. Make certain to follow pertinent directions on item labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other health care specialist prior to using.

Special precautions and warnings

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


Phaeophyta progressed about 150-200 million years back. They are either microscopic or macroscopic. Life process of phaeophyta varies from one member to another. In higher members of phaeophyta, life process consists of alternation of haploid stage and diploid phase. They can adapt to a large marine environment; tidal, intertidal and deep zones. Some members of phaeophyta have adaptive bladders, indicated for drifting photosynthetic parts on or near the water surface for collecting light. Biggest phaeophyta types, for example, a huge kelp can reach to about 70 meters in length. They frequently cause nuisance to aquarium environment by establishing brown patches on any exposed surface areas such as glass, rocks or gravel.

Commercially made use of phaeophyta consist of those come from the orders, Laminarales and Fucales. Formerly, marine seaweeds of phaeophyta were used for the extraction of iodine and potash. In current times, phaeophyta are thoroughly exploited for the extraction of alginic acid, which is used for deriving alginate, a significant colloidal gel utilized as a stabilizer, emulsifier or binder in numerous industrial applications. Apart from alginic acid, agar, carrageenans are likewise stemmed from phaeophyta. Commercially, alginate is used in material printing, baking, tooth pastes, soaps, ice creams, meat conservation, etc. Another use of phaeophyta is in the manufacturing of farming or horticultural sprays. In addition, phaeophyta is utilized as a food source. The brown algae, laminaria is cultivated on man-made algal ponds (using ropes) for the production of food supplements and alginates. Collected phaeophyta are then processed to prepare seaweed meals. These extremely proteinaceous seaweed meals are exported to different countries, especially to resolve the problem of malnutrition. Brown algae have proven to be among the most adaptable types, and are also one of the significant contributing consider the upkeep of a well balanced community. [13]


Our Score