Carrageenan is made up of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium sulphate esters of galactose and 3, 6-anhydrogalactose units. It is a wholly natural ingredient obtained from certain species of red edible seaweed called the Class Rhodophyceae. The popular sources for Carrageenan are the ChondrusCripus, EucheumaCottonii and EucheumaSpinosum species.
The Chondruscrispus species grows mainly in cold water territories such as the northern coasts of the Atlantic while the Eucheuma species are abundantly found in tropical climates like the Philippines. The Philippines has successfully launched and maintained numerous EucheumaCottonii and EucheumaSpinosum seaweed farms providing ample supply and good quality to meet the growing demand.
There are three Carrageenan types which are of commercial interest because of the various applications of hydrocolloids in food and other industrial uses. They are called the Iota, Kappa and Lambda Carrageenan. Marine Hydrocolloids Carrageenan uses the EucheumaCottonii for the production of Kappa Carrageenan and the EucheumaSpinosum for Iota Carrageenan. ChondrusCrispus species is used for production of Lambda Carrageenan.