Green Algae

bulb with algaeOver the weekend we removed a relatively new bulb from the corner of our roof.  It had stopped working.

This is no ordinary light bulb, but an energy saving bulb that is supposed to last for 18 months or longer.  It costs over JA$1,000 i.e. more than $US10.00

To our surprise, we found the bulb rusty and filled with rain water and green algae (singlular: alga).

Although algae to most of us is nothing more than yucky, slimy, green scum; they are actually plant-like organisms which do not have true roots, stems or  leaves etc. They actually bloom, and when they do, they cause the water to have a foul taste.

Algae are aquatic and are found worldwide in the sea, in freshwater and in waste water. Some types of algae grow on trees and on some animals – such as turtles and sloths. green algae on bulbI understand that algae are an extremely important species since they produce more oxygen than all the plants in the world put together! They are also an important food source for all marine organisms.

green algae on bulbI also read that some types of algae are a source of crude oil.  They are also used to provide foods and pharmaceutical and industrial products for humans.  Algae are also used for fertilizers and for dyes.

One type of algae – known as seaweeds are eaten by people. Seaweeds contain most of the nutrients required for good health … such as magnesium, potassium, iodine, iron etc. Seaweeds are also known to produce the richest plant-derived sources of calcium.

Algae also have probiotic compounds which are good for the health of our intestines.

I also eat algae. The kind I eat is known as Carrageenan which is used as a stabilizer in milk products.  In Jamaican we call Carrageenan – ‘Irish Moss’; it is used to make the Irish Moss drink which I thoroughly enjoy 🙂


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