The greenish film that develops in stagnating ponds, walls of aquarium and seaweeds are nothing but single celled microbe called algae. There are huge number of species of algae that grows in different shapes and sizes. Most of them contain chlorophyll which helps them prepare food on their own. They do not have stems, leaves, flowers or seeds but they multiply in a number of ways.
The tiniest algae are single-celled forms and other extreme are the giant kelps. The thin green film that forms on moist stones, flowerpots is actually millions of individual single celled algae. The red sea is noted for the reddish algae that sometimes tint its water. Algae also come in various colors – green, shades of brown, red, delicate pink to deep violet. While many species of algae are edible eaten by human, farm animals, marine creatures etc, some produce poisons that kills millions of fish.
Probing the secrets of algae, the scientists have come up with a surprising number of uses. Antibiotics have been developed from certain species. Agar, a jelly like substance has been used in the manufacture of products ranging from adhesives, soaps, shaving creams and pharmaceuticals. Alginic acid acts as a stabilizer in ice cream, salad dressings and other foods. It is also used in the preparation of surgical threads, films, plastics, papers and other products.
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