Cultivation and Uses of Algae

Infographic by onlab

Cultivation by Region:

France is the largest producer of algae in Europe, where it is used primarily in the food and cosmetic industries.
In Ireland, algae have long been used as a foodstuff and for algae baths, which are said to ease musculoskeletal pain.
People have been eating sea greens since as far back as the Vikings, and today, top Norwegian chefs have rediscovered the ingredient.


Farmed seaweed is grown on ropes suspended in the sea.
The seedlings are trimmed for optimal cultivation.
After the seedlings have been attached to the ropes, they begin to grow.
The ropes are rolled up and the seaweed is harvested on land. When harvested at sea, the seaweed is loaded onto boats or into floating baskets.
The seaweed is hung to dry in thin nylon nets.


Five percent of the algae cultivated globally are used to manufacture fertilizers, animal feed, and dyes. Research into alternative uses is also underway.
Certain types of algae with unusual properties are used as animal feed. For example, the dye astaxanthin, extracted from red algae, gives farmed salmon a pink tinge.
Scientists are currently investigating ways of extracting fuel from algae. Algae could become a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels if turned into oil and ethanol.
Research is currently being conducted into slick “carpets” of algae as an alternative to artificial snow, which is damaging to the environment. In the future, you might see people skiing or sledding down green slopes.
Cellulose — the main component of fibers and yarns — can be made from seaweed. This can be used to produce textiles similar to viscose/rayon.