Umutgasari

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Umutgasari, or Agar-agar weed is magenta with a bunch of cartilaginous branches like feathers. male and female gametophyte are seperate and carpospore are made from sex production. This carpospore germates to quad-carpospore which again developes into male and female gametophytes, and the generation repeats.

Umutgasari is a perennial and lives throughout the year, but after the breeding season in the summer, the upper part melts away and only the lower part remains, the bud grows again in the next spring. Umutgasari inhabits the East Coast, South coast and Yellow Sea outward but the Southern coast at the East sea has the best quality and largest production. Umutgasari grows on rocks 20 to 30 meters deep on the lower littoral and sublittoral zones of rocky shores. It thrives in an environment with the outer sea facing sandy bottom and good water circulation. A farming method is not yet fully developed. Passive methods of expanding its habitat by throwing rocks into the ocean, blowing up big rocks underwater or weeding out the ocean floor are used at this point. Umutgasari is the main ingredient for Hanchon, or agar. First rinse the umutgasari with fresh water then let it dry out in the sun.

Umu, or Gemidium jelly is made by boiling this dried umutgasari, filtering out the impurities and letting the fluid cool. Umu is usually sliced and used as garnish for refreshing soybean drink during hot summer days. Umu itself is has zero nutritional value and gets discharged from body with feces. freeze-drying Umu turns Umu into Hanchon, or agar. Agar is used for food additives (for confectionery, stewing, dairy products, meat storage), industrial (film, tarpaulins, high-quality printing paper, foaming agent, fiber and finishing lacquer finishing lacquer, · Abrasive paint · lead plating). For agricultural, it is also used as a pesticide, stabilizer for pesticides, and for purification (used to purify brewed products). It is widely used for various cosmetics and medicines, and for academic research.

Hanchon used to be produced only in Korea and Japan exclusively before the ww2, but as the war broke out and hanchon trade stopped, the west developed a chemical agar that produces agar from other read algae plants. although korea still exports large amount of agar, most of high quality agar such as agarose and sepharose for academic research are imported at this point. It was called ‘Umocho (cow hair weed)’ for its resemblance to hair. in other document it’s recorded as ‘Haedongcho (frozen weed) for its solidifying traits. According to ‘Sipwonyukjji’, local residents would cook the umutgasari and make geladium jelly. According to ‘Haedongjukji’, geladium jelly made in the south coast was called Umupo and was presented to the royal palace. Ref : Oh, Young-ju, ‘Dietary Culture and Sustainable Nutrition of Jeju Haenyeo(female divers) 2016’ Due to the expanding bleaching and desertification of the ocean floor and destruction of marine environment, Umutgasari and other seaweed are losing their habitats rapidly.

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Territory

StateSouth Korea
Region

Jeju-do

Other info

Categories

Algae

Nominated by:Jeju Maritime Institute