JOGJAKARTA (KU) – If you frequently go to the beach, you will often find a variety of algaes attached to coral reefs. The colors are diverse: green, red, or brown. At first glance, it is no different from other coastal wild plants. But in the hands of Biology students of Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Shinta Dewi, green algae (Ulva sp) is processed into chips. It is not just a regular chip, but one which is nutritious for health.
This plant is often found on the south coast of Java. It looks like a green sheet. In Yogyakarta, the Ulva alga is relatively abundant on the coast and often found in Kukup, Grono, Sundak, Krakal and Wediombo beaches.
Starting from the student creativity program, Shinta and her friends investigated this algae. They then invited the community of fishermen living around the Kukup beach to process the Ulva alga into chips. In accordance with its name, this chip is also called Ulva chips.
"Ulva Chips are an innovative chip with Ulva algae as its main ingredient. The background of the chips making is the innovation developed by Japan, which has processed Ulva as a kind of food wrapper," Shinta said on "Research Week "in Grha Sabha Pramana on Wednesday (14/7).
Shinta’s research showed that the nutrient contents of Ulva chips are mineral (2.59 %), fiber (11.5%,) and protein (4.88 %).
Ulva chips processing was conducted by convening a public forum with Mitra Bahari business group located in Kukup Beach Tanjungsari Sub-district, Gunung Kidul regency. Ulva algae utilization certainly improves the farmers’ prosperity around the beach. Currently, crude Ulva is sold for Rp20,000 per kg, while the chips are sold Rp60,000 per kg.
"For a small package of 40 grams, the price is Rp3000," she said. Contacted separately, UGM Biology Lecturer, Ludmila Fitri Untari, M. Sc, said that Ulva algae is indeed nutritious food for anti-cancer and is bio-anthelmintics (natural worm medicine). "It has not been used by people as alternative food. In other countries such as Japan, China and the Philippines, it has been consumed as salad vegetable," Untari said.
According to Untari, although the community have already been asked to cultivate Ulva algae, problems still occur, for example, people do not know how to harvest the algae. "They harvest the algae by pulling it out like leguminous plants, pulling up the roots so the algae does not grow anymore. The plant should be cut, leaving only a few centimeters in order that it can grow again," the Phycology expert said.