Kappaphycus alvarezii, locally known as tambalang, is one of the main products of Mindanao Seaweeds Harvest. It is a red algae considered to be of the largest in the world and grows fast, able to double in size every 15 to 30 days and can grow up to 2 meters tall. It is one of the most important commercial sources of carrageenans, a family of gel-forming, viscosifying polysaccharides. Farming methods affect the character of the carrageenan that can be extracted from the seaweed.
The colors of Kappaphycus alvarezii varies including shiny green, yellow-green, greenish-brown and vanguard, all of which have different patterns and grows under different water parameters.
Different carrageenan types differ in composition and conformation, resulting in a wide range of rheological and functional properties. Carrageenans are used in a variety of commercial applications as gelling, thickening, and stabilizing agents, especially in food products such as frozen desserts, chocolate milk, cottage cheese, whipped cream, instant products, yogurt, jellies, pet foods, and sauces. Aside from these functions, carrageenans are used in pharmaceutical formulations, cosmetics, and industrial applications such as mining.