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Vietnam succeeds in growing sea grapes
11 | 12 | 2007
The Nha Trang Oceanography Institute has announced it has successfully grown Caulerpa lentilifera, or sea grapes, which can be used as a high-class vegetable.
The production cost for one kilogramme of sea grapes is VND20,000, while the export price may reach several tens of dollars for each kilogramme. Scientists from the Nha Trang Ocenaography said that growing sea grapes can not only bring high profit to growers, but also help cleanse the water environment polluted with organic substances, especially suitable for shrimp hatchery areas.

According to Dr Nguyen Huu Dai, Head of the Sea Plants Division under the Nha Trang Oceanography, the sea grape is the valuable and nutritious source of food, which can provide vitamins A, C and other elements needed for human health, like iron, iodine and calcium.

Mr Dai said that it is very easy to grow sea grapes. They can grow on the sea areas with high salt level, with the muddy and sand soil at the bottom, in the bays or pools out of the wind and with clear water. This kind of grape just can grown at high temperature, and when the temperature is below 22oC, the grapes would not develop.
Sea grapes can be used as a kind of vegetable, which can diversity families’ meals. Meanwhile, the growing of the sea grape can cleanse the environment as it can absorb organic substances. Therefore, scientists hope that the growing of the sea grape will help improve the environment in the shrimp hatchery areas in the central region, where many aquaculture ponds have been left idle due to the polluted water.

Caulerpa lentilifera, also called green caviar or sea grapes, is favourite much in Asian countries like Japan and the Philippines, where it can be used as a kind of vegetable to make salad.

The growing of the sea grapes has become popular in Asian countries. In Japan, Caulerpa lentilifera have been commercially developed in Okinawa.

In Vietnam, Caulerpa lentilifera was discovered in Phu Quy island in Phan Thiet province in 2006 by the scientists from the Nha Trang Oceanography Institute. However, the size of the found Caulerpa lentilifera was small, just equal to 1/3 or ¼ of the one sourced from Japan.

After that, the scientists began growing the sea grape under the framework of the scientific project at the ministry level. In 2006 – 2007, sea grapes have been successfully grown in Cam Ranh, Hon Khoi – Ninh Hoa.

Scientists said that the commercial production cost of the sea grapes is VND20,000/kg. meanwhile, the sea grapes preserved with salt water are selling at $9.9/12gr in Japan, while fresh product is selling at $60-70/kg.

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