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Subject: Salt extraction from seaweeds
From: Michael Collins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Michael Collins <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 4 Feb 2002 23:49:12 +0000
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Hello everybody,

I am a post-graduate student of archaeology at University College London and
an active participant in many archaeological discussion groups on the net. I
have a couple of questions that I'm hoping list members here might help
with. The subject is salt production in Irish prehistory and there is some
debate at present as to whether or not seaweeds might have been utilised by
prehistoric communities to obtain salt either directly from the plants
themselves or indirectly via the marine water upon the plant body.

My speciality is not, alas, cell dynamics and such but my own understanding
is that human physiological requirements for salt are not for NaCl itself so
much as for the freed Na ions when the salt is dissociated. My questions
then become:

a) is NaCl concentrated within seaweeds and terrestrial plants at all ?
b) if it is, is the NaCl content of seaweeds higher than that of
terrestrials ?

Presuming that the NaCl content is low to negligible as far as salt
extraction for human use goes, might I ask also

c) is Na itself concentrated within seaweeds and land plants and
d) if it is, what is the general ratio of seaweed Na content to terrestrial
plants Na content ?
e) if Na is relatively concentrated within seaweeds, does this concentration
vary significantly across species ?

Any help with the above would be very much appreciated.

Cheers,

Mike Collins

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