A group of students from Tec de Monterrey have found a way to utilize the bladder wrack that washes up on Mexican shores by converting it into products with medical and cosmetic
In a project called Nexo, these young people obtain alginates and fucoidans from the seaweed through a process called enzymatic hydrolysis.
The alginates are present in the cell walls of the seaweed. They’re used in the form of salts and become a body gel when hydrated.
In contrast, the fucoidans are sugars found in the walls of the seaweed, and they’re used as natural antioxidants and sunscreens.
The students plan to sell the substances and want the project to create jobs in the areas
affected by bladder wrack.
“It’s not feasible to just let the bladder wrack dry out and decompose, because seaweed produces sulfuric acid when it decomposes, which acidifies the water or land and is harmful when inhaled,” explained Cassandra Prieto Medrano, a biotechnology engineer from the Guadalajara campus.
The Mexican Caribbean has suffered from the invasion of tons of bladder wrack on its beaches, which affects economic activity due to the drop in tourism and the environment due to alterations to the ecosystem.