NCERT Biology Class 11 – What are Algae and its types?

What are the characteristics of algae?

The special characteristics of algae are the same for both plants and animals. For example, algae can photosynthesize like plants, and they have specialized structures and cell organisms, such as centrioles and flagella, found only in animals. The general characteristics of algae are listed below.

  • Algae are photosynthetic organisms
  • Algae can be single-celled or multicellular organisms
  • Algae do not have a precisely defined body, and therefore do not have structures such as roots, stems or leaves.
  • Algae are found where there is sufficient moisture.
  • Reproduction in algae occurs in sexual and sexual forms. Spores are caused by fertilization.
  • Algae survive independently, although some can establish a spontaneous relationship with other organisms.

algae examples


What is the importance of Algae? – Economic importance of algae

These eukaryotic marine organisms have no roots, flowers or twigs. It plays an important role in the recovery of alkali used as a soil binding agent. They are economically important in various ways as discussed below:

  • Diet: Algae are rich in carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins A, B, C, and E as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, manganese and zinc. Therefore, people in Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Norway, North and South America, France, Germany, Japan, and China use it as a food ingredient.
  • Fodder: Algae are used as fodder to feed livestock and livestock. It is used as a grain in various countries including northern European countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
  • Fish farming: Algae play an important role in fish farming as it helps in the production process. Fish used plankton and plankton as food. This helps maintain the health of the marine habitat, as algae naturally absorb carbon dioxide and provide oxygen to the water.
  • Fertilizers: Algae are rich in minerals and vitamins. Therefore they are used as a liquid fertilizer, which helps to improve the amount of nitrogen contained in the soil.
  • Alkaline recovery: Blue-green algae help reduce high levels of alkalinity in the soil.
  • Binding factor: Algae act as a binding agent against natural processes such as erosion.
  • Biological Indicators: Algae are very sensitive, their pigments can change or die if there is even a slight change in the environment.

Algae are important in the natural habitat because they account for about half of the photosynthesis of terrestrial organisms. They serve as food for aquatic life. Some of them even live in coexistence like lichens. Lichens are an innate link between algae and fungi in terrestrial habitats. The presence of lichens indicates the level of pollution in the environment.

Algae are used in various industries. For example, kelp (brown macroscopic algae) is harvested, dried and processed for commercial production of soap and glass. They are also used as fertilizer. They are also used in the production of agar, which is used as a growth medium in microbiological studies. They are an important source of vitamins (A, B1, B2, B6, niacin, C), iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium, and calcium.


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