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CTSA# 124

Gracilaria Gall Syndrome 

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Most people in Hawaii know Gracilaria tikvahiae, or ogo, as a long, thin, flavorful green seaweed frequently included in poke (raw fish) appetizers. However, few realize that this alga isn’t used only as a tasty ingredient in popular local dishes; G. tikvahiae is also an important producer of phycobillins, a class of photosynthetic pigments employed in a variety of medical and biotechnology applications. Ogo can be grown by farmers in tanks or ponds or harvested after being washed up along the shoreline. But in recent years, Hawaii’s commercial ogo production has been threatened by Gracilaria Gall Syndrome (GGS), an illness that slows or stops growth, reduces shelf-life and disfigures the seaweed, making it difficult to market.
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