Compositional Characteristics and Antioxidant Properties of fresh and Processed Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria Frondosa)

Deep Sea Diamond News   •   Novemeber 27, 2019

The antioxidant activity of fresh and rehydrated sea cucumber (Cucumaria Frondosa) samples with/without internal organs was evaluated for the first time. In addition, their proximate, amino acid, and fatty acid compositions were examined. Rehydrated sea cucumber samples in distilled water were prepared from oven-dried products. All samples contained 83-90% moisture but showed a significant difference among groups in their protein and lipid contents. Glutamic acid was the predominant amino acid in sea cucumber, followed by glycine and aspartic acid. Essential amino acids such as leucine and lysine were also present at high levels. The trend for free amino acid was different from that of total amino acids and varied among groups. Lipids in sea cucumber were dominated by eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, C20:5n-3), ranging from 43.2 to 56.7% of the total fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, C22:6n-3) was present at a much lower concentration of 2.0-5.8%. All sea cucumber samples exhibited radical scavenging property against 2,2′-azobis(2-aminopropane) dihydrochloride(AAPH) and 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals, with rehydrated samples, especially those with internal organs, possessing higher antioxidant activity than their fresh counterparts. No correlation existed between radical scavenging capacity and total phenolics content, suggesting that other components, in addition to phenolic compounds, contribute to the antioxidant activity of sea cucumber.

  • Sea cucumbers are cylinder-shaped invertebrates that live in a variety of seafloor habitats from warm tropical waters to cold deep-sea trenches. They are considered to be an important food in the Indo-Pacific region including The Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, and China. China is the largest sea cucumber producer worldwide with sea cucumber farming and ranching being a key part of its aquaculture industry (1). However, sea cucumbers are an underutilized fishery resource in the rest of the world, such as the United States and Canada. More recently, scientific evidence supporting their importance as nutraceuticals and functional foods has attracted growing interest from nutritionists and pharmacologists as well as the general public.
  • Sea cucumber, from a nutritional point of view, is an ideal tonic food with high nutritional value, as it contains a higher level of protein and a lower level of fat than most other foods(1). The body wall of sea cucumber, which consists of insoluble collagen, has been used as a nutrient supplement of hemoto-genesis (2). Sea cucumber protein is rich in lysine, arginine, and tryptophan. The gelatin from sea cucumber is considered to be more valuable than other gelatins because of its characteristic amino acid composition, especially the essential amino acids (1).
  • In summary, it was demonstrated that the proximate, fattyacid, and amino acid compositions of sea cucumbers (wholebody and body wall) vary depending on their processing status.For the first time, sea cucumbers were found to possess anantioxidant property, and this was also affected by processing.Thus, sea cucumbers may be used as a potential food additiveand/or for medicinal purposes. Further work is required to shedlight on the exact chemical nature of the antioxidant componentsof sea cucumbers and to see whether dietary phenolics fromseaweed are retained as such or as metabolites.