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    • Article

      Solar irradiation as an alternative bleaching process for agar extracted from Gracilariopsis heteroclada in Iloilo, Philippines 

      LF Endoma, LM Nacional & MRJ Luhan - Botanica Marina, 2019 - De Gruyter
      The current industrial practice of using chemical bleach to achieve the pure white colour of agar is deleterious to both human and environmental health. This study evaluates the potential of solar irradiation as an alternative bleaching process for agar extracted from Gracilariopsis heteroclada in Iloilo, Philippines. The physico-chemical properties of agar obtained from alkaline-treated seaweed after exposure to different bleaching conditions (e.g. solar irradiation, hypochlorite solution, and ultraviolet and fluorescent lights) were examined and compared with commercial bacteriological agar. Photobleaching through solar irradiation produced agar with superior gel strength (1038.61 g cm−2), high 3,6-anhydrogalactose content (41.44%) and low total inorganic sulphate content (1.87%) without compromising agar yield (19.37%). Solar irradiation offers very promising results as a simple, low-cost, environmentally friendly alternative to the chlorine bleaching process for agar extraction.