Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 571–577 | Cite as

Opportunities and challenges for the development of an integrated seaweed-based aquaculture activity in Chile: determining the physiological capabilities of Macrocystis and Gracilaria as biofilters

  • Alejandro H. BuschmannEmail author
  • Daniel A. Varela
  • María Carmen Hernández-González
  • Pirjo Huovinen


Seaweed production is a reality in Chile. More than ten species are commercially used to produce phycocolloids, fertilizers, plant growth control products, human food or animal fodder and feed additives. These multiple uses of algae offer a number of possibilities for coupling this activity to salmon, abalone and filter-feeder farming. In this context, different experiments carried out in Chile have demonstrated that Gracilaria chilensis and Macrocystis pyrifera have great potential in the development of an integrated aquaculture strategy. The present Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) approach study showed that Gracilaria can be cultured best at 1 m depth whereas Macrocystis has an especially good growth response at 3 m depth. Both species use available nitrogen efficiently. On the other hand, high intensities of solar radiation (UV and PAR) can be critical at low depths of cultivation, and our results indicate that both species show photosynthetic susceptibility mainly at noon during the summer. The demand of Macrocystis for abalone feeding is increasing, thus improving the opportunity for developing an integrated nutrient waste recycling activity in Chile. Although Gracilaria shows a higher nitrogen uptake capacity than Macrocystis, its market value does not yet allow a massive commercial scaling.


Chile Gracilaria Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture Macrocystis Physiology Seaweeds as biofilters 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of FONDECYT 1050550 and Programa Bicentenario de Inserción Académica from CONICYT-Chile. We recognize the great support of the following people: Verónica Riquelme, Adrián Villarroel, Luis Henríquez, Pablo Leal, Pamela Fernández, Mónica Maldonado and Helena Abreu. The English review by Sandra Pereda is also acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro H. Buschmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Daniel A. Varela
    • 1
  • María Carmen Hernández-González
    • 1
  • Pirjo Huovinen
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro I-MarUniversidad de Los LagosPuerto MonttChile

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