An agarophyte is a seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...

, typically a red alga, that produces the hydrocolloid agar
Agar or agar-agar is a gelatinous substance derived from a polysaccharide that accumulates in the cell walls of agarophyte red algae. Throughout history into modern times, agar has been chiefly used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia and also as a solid substrate to contain culture medium...

 in its cell wall
Cell wall
The cell wall is the tough, usually flexible but sometimes fairly rigid layer that surrounds some types of cells. It is located outside the cell membrane and provides these cells with structural support and protection, and also acts as a filtering mechanism. A major function of the cell wall is to...

s. This agar can be harvested commercially for use in biological experiments and culturing. In some countries (especially in the developing world), the harvesting of agarophytes, either as natural stocks or a cultivated crop, is of considerable economic importance. Notable genera of commercially exploited agarophytes include Gracilaria
Gracilaria is a genus of red algae notable for its economic importance as an agarophyte, as well as its use as a food for humans and various species of shellfish...

and Gelidium
Gelidium is a genus of thalloid alga comprising 124 species. Its members are known by a number of common names.Recorded common names are tengusa, makusa, genso, niu mau tsai, japansche scheleiachtige mos, steen-or klipbloem, hay tsay, olus marinus, sajur laut, tschintschau, tschoo-hoae, onikusa,...

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