Deriving its name from the Irish word for little rock, carrageenans are extracted from red edible seaweed and are grouped as a family of linear sulfated polysaccharides. Predominantly used in the food industry, carrageenans are added for their thickening, stabilizing, and gelling properties. Dairy and meat products are the most common foods where carrageenans are used as an additive, as they have strong binding capabilities for food proteins. The three main varieties, differing by their degree of sulfation, are kappa-carrageenan (one sulfate per group per disaccharide), iota-carrageenan (two sulfates pg/pd), and lambda-carrageenan (three sulfates pg/pd). People have been harvesting gelatinous extracts of the Chondrus crispus (Irish Moss) seaweed since the 15th century, and is often used as a vegetarian/vegan alternative to gelatin in certain food applications, or to replace gelatin entirely in certain confectionary goods.