Economic importance of algae
Algae have diverse economic uses. They perform half of the total carbon dioxidefixation on earth by photosynthesis, acting as the primary producers in aquatic habitats.
(a) Food source: Many species of marine algae such as Porphyra, Sargassum, and Laminaria are edible. Chlorella and Spirulina are rich in proteins. Thus, they are used as food supplements.
(b) Commercial importance: Agar is used in the preparation of jellies and icecream. It is obtained from Gelidium and Gracilaria. Carrageenin is used as an emulsifier in chocolates, paints, and toothpastes. It is obtained from the red algae.
(c) Medicines: Many red algae such as Corallina are used in treating worm infections.
Economic importance of gymnosperms
(a) Construction purposes: Many conifers such as pine, cedar, etc., are sources of the soft wood used in construction and packing.
(b) Medicinal uses: An anticancer drug Taxol is obtained from Taxus. Many species of Ephedra produce ephedrine, which can be used in the treatment of asthma and bronchitis.
(c) Food source: The seeds of Pinus gerardiana (known as chilgoza) are edible.
(d) Source of resins: Resins are used commercially for manufacturing sealing waxes and water-proof paints. A type of resin known as turpentine is obtained from various species of Pinus.