4 years ago

Is there a difference between bêche-de-mer processed from ocean-cultured and wild-harvested sandfish (Holothuria scabra)?

The dried body wall of sea cucumbers, known as bêche-de-mer (BDM), is a luxury food item, exported from most producing countries to S.E. Asian markets. Interest in sea cucumber mariculture has grown and the sandfish (Holothuria scabra) is the major mariculture prospect in the tropical Indo-Pacific. While speculation that pond-cultured sandfish may lose more weight during processing than wild ones has not been confirmed, this is an important issue potentially impacting the profitability of sandfish mariculture. This study presents a unique set of comparison data for similar-sized ocean-cultured (hatchery bred) and wild-harvested sandfish from New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG), that were processed concurrently using the same methods. The following results were obtained for the two groups: recovery rate from fresh whole weight to dried weight was significantly different (5.0±0.2 vs 5.6±0.2%, for ocean-cultured and wild-harvested sandfish, respectively; P =0.047); recovery rate from fresh gutted weight to dried weight was not significantly different (8.8±0.2 vs 9.6±0.3%, P =0.055); ratio of dried to fresh length was not significantly different (52.3±1.2 vs 49.7±1.0%, P =0.099); thickness of the fresh body wall was significantly different (5.6±0.3 vs 6.6±0.3mm; P =0.033); thickness of the dried body wall was not significantly different (2.7±0.1 vs 2.9±0.1mm, P =0.23); collagen content of the dried body wall was not significantly different (94.5±6.4 vs 104.0±9.7mgg1, P =0.422); and ash content of the dried body wall was not significantly different (15.2±1.1 vs 14.0±1.2%, P =0. 404). Although differences between wild and cultured sandfish were found, several key determinants of BDM quality (i.e. recovery rate from fresh gutted weight, dried length ratio, dry body wall thickness and collagen content) were not significantly different between the two groups. Overall, this is reassuring information for sandfish mariculture proponents and augers well for the future of sea ranching in PNG and other areas where this species is cultured. Statement of relevance Increased confidence in the quality of bêche-de-mer from cultured sandfish (Holothuria scabra).

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0044848617319506

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