E 407a Processed eucheuma seaweed – EU specification

COMMISSION REGULATION (EU) No 231/2012 of 9 March 2012


PES (acronym for processed eucheuma seaweed). The PES obtained from Euchema cottonii is generally called kappa PES and the PES from Euchema spinosum iota PES.


Processed eucheuma seaweed is obtained by aqueous alkaline (KOH) treatment at high temperature of the strains of seaweeds Eucheuma cottonii and Eucheuma spinosum, of the class Rhodophyceae (red seaweeds) followed by fresh water washing to remove impurities and drying to obtain the product. Further purification may be achieved by washing with an alcohol. The alcohols authorised are restricted to methanol, ethanol or propan-2-ol. The product consists chiefly of the potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium sulphate esters of galactose and 3,6-anhydrogalactose polysaccharide. Up to 15 % algal cellulose is also present in the product. The wording processed eucheuma seaweed is reserved to the non hydrolysed or otherwise chemically degraded polymer. Formaldehyde may be present up to a maximum of 5 mg/kg.


Tan to yellowish, coarse to fine powder which is practically odourless


Test for galactose: Passes test

Test for anhydrogalactose: Passes test

Test for sulphate: Passes test

Solubility: Forms cloudy viscous suspensions in water. Insoluble in ethanol for a 1,5 % solution.


Solvent residues Not more than 0,1 % of methanol, ethanol, propan-2-ol, singly or in combination

Viscosity: Not less than 5 mPa.s (1,5 % solution at 75 °C)

Loss on drying: Not more than 12 % (105 °C, 4 hours)

Sulphate: Not less than 15 % and not more than 40 % on the dried basis (as SO 4 )

Ash: Not less than 15 % and not more than 40 % determined on the dried basis at 550 °C

Acid-insoluble ash: Not more than 1 % on the dried basis (insoluble in 10 % hydrochloric acid)

Acid-insoluble matter: Not less than 8 % and not more than 15 % on the dried basis (insoluble in 1 % v/v sulphuric acid)

Low molecular weight carrageenan (Molecular weight fraction below 50 kDa): Not more than 5 %

Arsenic: Not more than 3 mg/kg

Lead: Not more than 5 mg/kg

Mercury: Not more than 1 mg/kg

Cadmium: Not more than 2 mg/kg

Microbiological criteria

Total plate count: Not more than 5 000 colonies per gram

Yeast and moulds: Not more than 300 colonies per gram

Escherichia coli: Absent in 5 g

Salmonella spp.: Absent in 10 g