What does peanut butter have to do with the ocean?

The ingredient that makes peanut butter easier to spread comes from the ocean

VIDEO: Did you know that compounds extracted from species of red algae make peanut butter easier to spread? Many products we eat or use every day depend on things that are found in the ocean. Transcript

When it comes to eating, the ocean provides much more than just seafood. Many of the foods and products found in your local grocery store contain ingredients from the ocean.

For example, peanut butter and toothpaste both contain carrageenan. Carrageenan is a generic term for compounds extracted from species of red algae. Boiling the algae extracts the carrageean, which in turn is used to make peanut butter more spreadable. Carrageenan also gives toothpaste its consistency and is used in other cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and industrial products.

Video Transcript

Did you know that your peanut butter is easier to spread because of an ingredient from the ocean? It's called Carrageenan and it comes from a species of red algae. Carrageenan is also found in toothpaste. Many foods, medicines, cosmetics, and other everyday products depend on things that are found in the ocean. So the next time you enjoy a peanut butter sandwich or brush your teeth, think about how the ocean gives people much more than just seafood and a fun place to take a vacation. Then think about what you can do in return.

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Last updated: 10/26/17
Author: NOAA
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