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The First International Seaweed Symposium held in Edinburgh, UK, 1952: applied seaweed science coming of age

Indergaard, Mentz
Journal of applied phycology 2017 v.29 no.5 pp. 2165-2173
Phaeophyceae, foods, gelation, industry, macroalgae, polysaccharides, surveys, Nova Scotia, United Kingdom
Since the first commercial and systematic use of large brown algae for potash in the eighteenth century, chemists have applied their knowledge to benefit the industrial utilization of seaweeds. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the focus of seaweed chemistry started to shift from the inorganic to the organic content. Trailing the chemists, seaweed botanists also became directly involved in the industrial efforts by surveying and assessing seaweed populations. In the 1930s, a modern seaweed industry emerged, based on seaweed polysaccharides and seaweed meal. Prior to World War II seaweed botanists, chemists and industrialists had no regular, joint international arena.The First International Seaweed Symposium (ISS) was held in Edinburgh, 14–17 July 1952. It was referred to as the follow-up of the limited: “Conference on utilization of seaweeds” which was held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1948. A main driving force was the Canadian war effort to extract substitute gelling materials from local seaweeds for use in the foodstuff industry. The conference in Halifax was rooted both in the annual Canadian “Irish Moss meetings” in Ottawa 1944–1947 and in the post-WWII expansion of regional laboratories of the National Research Council of Canada. The First ISS was attended by approximately 160 scientists from 21 countries. The symposium demonstrated the role and secured the position of this new applied, multi-disciplinary seaweed science.