CO2 emissions are an essential part of human life. The more we pursue affluent lifestyles, the more emissions we produce. It was thought that CO2 emitted by human activities would be absorbed by forests and become cleaner. However, studies have now shown that the sea and seaweed growing in it absorb CO2 more than absorption by forests.
Blue carbon is the term for carbon (CO2) captured in marine ecosystems such as seaweed beds. It is easy to imagine that forests take in carbon dioxide, but the oceans as well. In fact, it takes in carbon dioxide 2.4 times * as much as on land.
The mechanism is that carbon dioxide is easily soluble in water, so carbon dioxide in the atmosphere dissolves in the sea. In addition, marine ecosystems such as seaweed take in carbon dioxide by photosynthesis. When seaweed is torn off, it becomes "flowing algae" floating on the surface of the sea. Seaweed does not die immediately even if it is torn because it does not take nutrients from its roots. Especially Sargassum fulvellum, which has bubbles in its leaves, drifts far offshore and eventually sinks and accumulates in the deep sea after its end of life. This is how "blue carbon" is stored on the bottom of the deep sea.
＊Journal of the JIME Vol. 52, No. 6（2017）
The place where seaweed grows thickly is called "seaweed beds". It occupies an important position in the marine ecosystem and is truly an underwater forest. However, these seaweed beds continue to decline. There are various causes for this problem such as disappearance due to reclamation of coastal areas, environmental changes caused by rising seawater temperatures and moreover decreased intake of seaweed and aging of fishermen who take seaweed. It is very important to increase seaweed beds for enriching the marine ecosystem. We must do what we can.
Seaweed has been considered to be good for health since ancient times, and the dietary fiber and polysaccharides it contains have been reported to have a variety of beneficial effects.
In addition to being eaten as a food, its ingredients such as alginic acid, carrageenan, and agar are used in a very wide range of fields such as medical and industrial applications. We need to deepen our understanding of seaweed and encourage people to eat seaweed. As a result, we believe that it will lead to more seaweed to grow and more seaweed beds to be created. When eating and growing seaweed, imagine the flowing seaweed becoming "blue carbon".
Fucoidan can extract only about 10g from 1kg of seaweed. Making fucoidan consumes a large amount of seaweed. Although we are in the position of conducting research on fucoidan, we believe that "producing" and "consuming" fucoidan is an excellent initiative from the perspective of the SDGs. We believe that it is our responsibility to spread the goodness of fucoidan, which contributes to the maintenance of people's healthy and comfortable lives, and to increase the consumption of fucoidan.