Alga is a term that includes a large group of eukaryotic, photosynthetic life forms, which are incredibly diverse. These organisms do not share a common ancestor and, therefore, are not interrelated. The habitat distribution of the Algae can be determined by their pigment. Although the majority of the Algae are found in aquatic habitats that might be in freshwater or marine water. They are economically important in a variety of ways which are discussed below:
- Food source: Most species of marine algae are edible, such as Porphyra, Sargassum and Laminaria. Chlorella and spirulina are protein-rich. They are thus used as food supplements. These are a healthy source of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as the minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese.
- Commercial importance: Agar is used in jelly and ice-cream preparations. Agar is derived from Gracilaria and Gelidium. Carrageenan is used in chocolates, paints, and toothpaste as an emulsifier. Its source is red algae. Algae are also used as liquid fertilizer which helps in the repairing level of nitrogen present in the soil.
- Medicines: Lots of red algae like Corallina are used to treat worm infections.
- Biological indicator: Water pollution is checked with the help of Algae like Euglena and Chlorella.
- Pisciculture: In fish farming, Algae plays a very important role because it helps in the production process.