At the Dublin Institute of Technology, researchers have discovered the antibacterial and anti-microbial properties of brown Irish seaweed that is edible. The brown Irish seaweed, commonly referred to as Himanthalia elongate, Laminaria saccharin and Laminaria digitate, were tested in both their raw and processed states after they were cooked.

Brown Irish Seaweed Research

Scientists found that in its raw state, any of the variety of Irish seaweed could combat pathogenic and microbial agents belonging to the Enterobacteriaceae family at a 100% inhibition rate. While processing the seaweed with heat reduced the seaweed’s efficacy in combating bacteria, the brown Irish seaweed still retained about 70 percent of its antimicrobial properties.

The findings are consistent with research that demonstrates that raw seafood consumption results in a decreased microbial presence. Additionally, researchers found no evidence of food poisoning outbreaks suggesting that the safety of edible seaweeds tolerates the salinity of the surrounding atmosphere without sequencing the Listeria bacterium.

The researchers revealed that brown Irish seaweed derived its antimicrobial properties from its ability to ensure that other indigenous and non-indigenous microbes and microflora failed to survive. The treatment of germinating spores and dormant cells during exposure to Irish brown seaweed suggests that stable incorporation of Irish brown seaweed.

Seaweed Extracts as Natural Antimicrobials

Among all of the variety of Irish seaweed, H. elongata was the best species in terms of inhibition against all the different microbial organisms tested in the study. Extracts of the seaweed species studied showed maximum inhibition against L. monocytogenes. There is a very real possibility of using seaweeds extracts as natural antimicrobials in the food industry. The microbial diversity of the seaweeds demonstrated that raw seaweeds are of good microbiological status and may be appropriate for commercial adoption.

Seaweed health benefits are extensive according to researchers. To learn more about the extent of the health benefits associated with seaweed, consult



Gupta S, Rajauria G, Abu-Ghannam N. Study of the microbial diversity and antimicrobial properties of Irish edible brown seaweeds. International Journal of Food Science & Technology [serial online]. March 2010;45(3):482-489. Available from: Academic Search Alumni Edition, Ipswich, MA. Accessed May 11, 2016.