Investigation of nutritional properties of three species of marine turban snails for human consumption

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Ab Lah, R, Smith, J, Savins, D, Dowell, A, Bucher, D & Benkendorff, K 2016, 'Investigation of nutritional properties of three species of marine turban snails for human consumption', Food Science & Nutrition.

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Turban snails (family Turbinidae) are gastropod molluscs that are harvested for human consumption yet little is known about the nutritional properties of these snails, particularly from Australian waters. This study compares the proximate composition (ash, moisture, protein, and lipid content), fatty acid profiles, mineral, and trace element content of three species of turbinid snails; Turbo militaris, Lunella undulata, andLunella torquata from northern New South Wales, Australia. They were all found to have relatively high protein in their flesh (16.0% to 18.5% of the fresh weight). L. torquata had a significantly higher lipid content (8.5% w/w) than L. undulata (5.2% w/w), whereas T. militaris (5.6% w/w) was not significantly different to either. Analysis with gas chromatography showed there was no significant difference in monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) content, with an average of approximately 14% of the total fatty acids in all three species. However, saturated fatty acids (SFA) were significantly higher in T. militaris (41%), whereas polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) were significantly higher in L. undulata (46%). The ratio of n−3/n−6 fatty acids ranged from 1.1 in T. militaris to 1.4 in L. torquata, which is good for human health and comparable to other high value gastropods. The results indicate that T. militaris, L. undulata, and L. torquata provide a good source of essential elements such as zinc, selenium, and iron. At the location studied, toxic metals and metalloids were below safe recommended standards for human consumption. Overall, this study confirms the suitability of turban snails as a nutritional food for human consumption.