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Alginic acid (from Latin alga = seaweed), also known as algin, is an ingredient of brown algae (e.g. Fucus, Ascophyllum species) and some bacteria (e.g. Actinetobacter). Alginic acid, similar to pectins, consists of a chain of 1,4-beta glycosidically linked linked mannuronic acid and guluronic acid. Alginic acid is used in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
Alginic acid in cosmetics: In cosmetic products alginic acid has a binding, masking and viscosity enhancing effect. The salts of alginic acid are called alginates.
Alginic acid as a food additive: In the EU, alginic acid and its sodium, potassium, ammonium and calcium salts are authorised as food additives with the numbers E 400 to E 405 for foodstuffs in general.
Alginic acid in medicine: Alginates are also used in medicine. Calcium alginate dressings are used to treat superficial and deep wounds.