Is There Kelp in Your Cupboard?

kelpWhat you may not know is that many household products, medicines, and cosmetics contain substances from kelp—including dog food and lipstick. Seaweeds, which are large ocean plants called algae come in three forms:  brown, red and green algae, each providing important ingredients for the manufacture of food and other products.

Alginate, carrageenan and beta carotene are the names for the algae products you might find in foods or other products in your cupboards. These seaweed derivatives help ingredients mix together and form thick, gooey gels. They are found in salad dressing, frozen deserts, paint and beer.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers many interactive games and fun science experiments to teach children how to become a seaweed sleuth at home. Download the worksheet or play the interactive game to learn which seaweeds are used in common foods and household products. Check out the live kelp forest web cam. It’s really fun!

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