Jellyfish

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Hydrobiologia 451: 11–17, 2001. © 2001 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

11

Jellyfish as food
Y-H. Peggy Hsieh1 , Fui-Ming Leong2 & Jack Rudloe3
of Nutrition & Food Science, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, U.S.A. E-mail: hsiehyp@auburn.edu 2 Perseco Asia Pacific Singapore, Blk 511, Kampong Bahru Road, Unit No 05-03, Keppel Distripark, Singapore 099447 3 GulfSpecimen Marine Laboratories, Inc. P.O. Box 237, Panacea, FL 32346, U.S.A. Key words: jellyfish, fishery, food, health, arthritis
1 Department

Abstract Jellyfish have been exploited commercially by Chinese as an important food for more than a thousand years. Semidried jellyfish represent a multi-million dollar seafood business in Asia. Traditional processing methods involve a multi-phase processingprocedure using a mixture of salt (NaCl) and alum (AlK[SO4 ]2 · 12 H2 O) to reduce the water content, decrease the pH, and firm the texture. Processed jellyfish have a special crunchy and crispy texture. They are then desalted in water before preparing for consumption. Interest in utilizing Stomolophus meleagris L. Agassiz, cannonball jellyfish, from the U. S. as food has increased recently because ofhigh consumer demand in Asia. Desalted ready-to-use (RTU) cannonball jellyfish consists of approximately 95% water and 4–5% protein, which provides a very low caloric value. Cannonball jellyfish collagen has shown a suppressing effect on antigeninduced arthritis in laboratory rats. With the great abundance of cannonball jellyfish in the U. S. coastal waters, turning this jellyfish into value-addedproducts could have tremendous environmental and economicbenefits.

Introduction While jellyfish are shunned by swimmers in most places, several species of scyphozoan jellyfish with mild stings are edible. Edible jellyfish are largely estuarine in nature, aggregating around river mouth drainages and primarily caught from the Indian, Northwest Pacific, and Western Central Pacific Oceans by severalcountries including Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and China (Huang, 1988). Among the edible species Rhopilema esculentum Kishinouye is the most abundant and important species in the Asian jellyfish fishery which represents a multi milliondollar seafood business in Asia (Omori & Nakano, 2001). China is the first country to process jellyfish for human consumption (Morikawa, 1984). Although theChinese have been eating jellyfish for more than a thousand years, the jellyfish industry only recently has become a commercial fishery. Other jellyfish producing countries learned the traditional processing techniques from the northern Chinese with slight modific-

ation. Processing jellyfish in Asia is a low-cost operation that requires little capital but is labor intensive. Distributions of thejellyfish populations are sporadic and seemingly unpredictable in nature. Meterological conditions, currents, water temperature, pressure, salinity and predation may play a significant role in determining the population size (Suelo, 1986). Asian countries are actively developing fisheries management plans in an effort to conserve jellyfish. In both China and Thailand, the government fisheries departmentscontrol the jellyfish season (Rudloe, 1992). During the last several weeks of the season, the governments do not allow catching because the jellyfish are largest and are reproducing. Recently, Australia, India and the U. S. began utilizing their available species to produce jellyfish products for export. Jellyfish enters into commerce from all over the world. However, little information has beenpublished on utilization of jellyfish for human consumption. In the present paper, the processing of edible jellyfish, the nutritional and potential medicinal value of cannonball

12 jellyfish, and the future of jellyfish fishery in the U. S. are briefly addressed. of the cured jellyfish. In China, soda is omitted. Because there are large variations among species, and even with different batches of the...
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