Alginate is a natural polysaccharide at levels of 30 to 60% in certain species of brown algae (on a dry weight basis).
Alginate is considered to have dietary fiber properties.
Alginic acid accumulates in brown seaweeds and forms a structural component of the cell walls. This accumulation of alginate also gives flexibility to seaweed and allows the seaweed to withstand tidal forces.
Alginic acid was first isolated and named by a Scottish scientist, Dr. E.C.C. Stanford, in1883. Since then, alginic acid and its derivatives have been utilized as a hydrocolloid in a variety of applications such as food additives, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and textile printing.