In Japan, the agar-agar is known as kanten, which means 'sky-cold', and refers to the artisan method of production by natural freezing and thawing.
In this production system, it is taken advantage of the low winter temperatures in mountain areas where this product was manufactured entirely by hand in small conventional plants.
Until recently, the agar-agar was unknown in Spain, but in recent years this ingredient used in Japan for millennia has been introduced here, too. Although it is known to exist since time immemorial, its first appearance in Japan was recorded in 1658 (s. XVII).
It was in 1882 when Robert Koch proved to the scientific community its use as a gelling agent in the preparation of culture media for growth of microorganisms.
The agar-agar production was limited to Japan and, in a lesser extent, in Korea until World War 2, only from the twenties were the first attempts of U.S. cultivations. In Spain, at that time, began a small scale production, as one of the few places in the world where the alga Gelidium occurs naturally.
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