The science bit

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Ireland has a long history of seaweed use dating back to the Middle Ages. As an island with an extensive coastline of approximately 3171 kilometres, we have an abundance of over 500 different seaweed species.

Seaweed, also known as macroalgae is among the most important organisms on the planet. Algae produce over 70% of the earth’s oxygen and can serve as a major carbon sink, while also satisfying global needs for food, fuel, agricultural and pharmaceutical products.

In agriculture, seaweed extracts are widely used in plant nutrition, and act as biostimulants due to the presence of plant hormones. Biostimulants act on plant physiology through different pathways than nutrients to improve plant health, crop yields & quality, and post-harvest shelf life. Some of the benefits of biostimulants include:

  • Regulates and enhances the plant’s physiological process, to induce yield increases and enhance plant health and plant quality;
  • Increases plant tolerance to and recovery from abiotic stresses;
  • Enhances the plants ability to assimilate applied nutrients;
  • Improves quality attributes of produce, including sugar content & colour;
  • Improves soil structure and its moisture-holding capacity;
  • Promotes the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms which enhance soil fertility;
  • Increases biotic stress resistance, to enhance plant defense against pests and diseases, reducing nematode infestation and pest population such as red spider mite and aphids;