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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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Agar is a hydrocolloid found in red seaweeds, which has been of industrial interest over the last century due to its multiple applications in the food, cosmetic, and medical fields. This polysaccharide, extracted by boiling for several hours, is released from the cell wall of red seaweeds. However, the environmental impact coming from the long processing time and the energy required to reach the targeted processing temperature needs to be reduced. In this study, a response surface methodology was employed to optimize both conventional extraction and ultrasound-assisted extractions. Two different models were successfully obtained (R2 = 0.8773 and R2 = 0.7436, respectively). Additionally, a further re-extraction confirmed that more agar could be extracted. Protein was also successfully co-extracted in the seaweed residues. Optimized conditions were obtained for both the extractions and the re-extraction of the two methods (CE: 6 h, 100 °C; and UAE: 1 h, 100% power). Finally, FT-IR characterization demonstrated that the extracts had a similar spectrum to the commercial agar. Compared to commercial samples, the low gel strength of the agar extracts shows that these extracts might have novel and different potential applications.