SEA CUCUMBER DIVERSITY AND BIOACTIVE POTENTIALS IN TURKEY


Selim G., Arslan Aydoğdu E. Ö., Aslan T.

ANADOLU 14th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON APPLIED SCIENCES, Gaziantep, Turkey, 16 - 18 February 2024, pp.269-280

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Gaziantep
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.269-280
  • Istanbul University Affiliated: Yes

Abstract

The sea cucumber, belonging to the phylum Echinodermata and class Holothuridea, is an invertebrate widely distributed across all oceans and seas globally. Typically inhabiting warm shallow waters adjacent to rigid substrates such as corals and rocks, it is often transported to deeper waters by tidal currents. Notably, sea cucumbers are vital in marine ecosystems as natural recyclers, feeding on dead organic matter, protozoa, diatoms, detritus, and microalgae in the benthic region. Commercial industries exploit only 70 of the approximately 1250 existing species. Eight sea cucumber species have been identified in our country's territorial waters, although they are not preferred as food domestically. Since 1996, these species have been exported, primarily to Asian countries, as fishery feed and in frozen, dried, or salted forms. Sea cucumbers, often called "ocean ginseng" due to their comparable medicinal properties to ginseng, are garnering increased interest for their rich bioactive substances. These substances include over 50 bioactive compounds such as peptides, saponins, phenols, glycoproteins, carotenoids, sterols, amino acids, and fatty acids, alongside a nutrient profile featuring vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3, as well as essential minerals like calcium, manganese, and iron. Research into these valuable substances' medicinal and nutraceutical properties, encompassing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiproliferative, anticoagulant, antifungal, and antiviral effects, is steadily growing. This review aims to provide insights into sea cucumber diversity in Turkey, highlighting their bioactive potentials and elucidating their pharmacological and cosmeceutical benefits.