Most people have seen algae before—that green, plant-like goo that drifts around just about any place you can find water. An interesting fact is that a very large group of organisms can fall under the term “algae”. Seaweed is a form of marine algae and is among algae's more complex forms.
While they may appear otherwise, algae are not considered to be plants. Algae organisms have a much simpler design, lacking distinct organs that traditional plants have. Typically algae don’t have roots, leaves, phyllids, and some are even unable to perform photosynthesis (the ability to generate nourishment from light).
While algae may appear scientifically fascinating, there’s one thing we can all probably agree on: We wouldn’t want to drink it. Algae are often used to treat wastewater and capture fertilizer from water runoff on farms. Even though its use reduces the need for treating water with harmful chemicals, it can also make its way into our homes' drinking water.
Many nutritionists claim that eating algae and seaweed is actually quite healthy. In fact, seaweed is a common source of food in many Asian cultures. This may be true for algae grown in a more controlled environment; however, the algae grown in treatment plants may carry with it the same toxins that it’s being used to absorb.