The Sea: source of life
The oceans have seen the birth of life on earth and have contributed, thanks to algae, to its development on emerging continents.
They cover more than 70% of the surface of our planet and contain 97% of the available water. They are home to an animal and plant biomass estimated at 30 billions tons. Due to the very short life cycle of most of these species, the average annual production of this biomass is around 430 billion tons, to be compared with the 3.5 billion tons of food biomass produced annually by agriculture.
With millions of animal, plant and microbial species, the sea is undoubtedly a great source of "blue biotechnology".
In this often hostile world, nature has not yet revealed all its secrets. Its richness is at the height of the choices available to researchers, to enable them to uncover the solutions to which nature has already found answers and which will make it possible to respond to the challenges with which humanity is confronted today.
The number of algae species existing in the world is estimated between 200.000 and one million. Their study is today one of the most promising ways to provide answers to the health, food, environmental and energy challenges of humanity at the dawn of this new millennium.
Seaweed is the fastest growing plant organism in nature and have the capacity to produce biologically active compounds which can find applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food and animal feed (O'Sullivan et al. 2010; Jiménez-Escrig et al. 2011; Lee and al. 2013).
Nutritional studies on seaweed have shown that green, brown and red algae have good nutritional characteristics and could be used as an alternative source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals (Chojnacka et al. 2012; Raposo and al. 2013).