Processing sea cucumbers is a complex process that involves cutting, salting, cooking, smoking and drying. The price of dried sea cucumbers depends on the species, size and quality of the processing. To understand the effects of processing on the composition and nutritional quality of sea cucumbers, the approximate composition of polysaccharides and mineral elements, amino acid profiles and retention values of ready-to-eat (RTE) sea cucumber products were evaluated and compared. The comparison of raw sea cucumber with sea cucumber processed by different methods showed that the basic nutrients, polysaccharides, amino acids and minerals examined in this study, with the exception of zinc and copper, differed significantly depending on the processing method.
The ranges of basic nutrients retained in the TEN-V, the TEN-VS and the TEN-T were 17 to 84%, 4 to 64% and 6 to 72%, respectively. The objective of this work was to investigate the effect of different processing methods, in particular vacuum cooking, on the composition and polysaccharide and mineral and amino acid profiles of sea cucumbers. The total retention values (TRVs) of RTE products were measured to determine the optimal processing method, since high TRVs are related to the conservation of nutrients in sea cucumbers and are economically desirable for sea cucumber producers. If this method is used to process fresh sea cucumbers, the processing cycle of RTE products could be shortened to half a day.
Most sea cucumbers are processed into dry or salty products for easy storage and transportation. To examine how processing affected the selected nutrients, their TRVs were calculated and shown in Figures 2 and 3.To meet growing demand, sea cucumber cultivation technology was developed in China in the 1980s and has matured over the past few decades. The processing of sea cucumbers mainly involves cleaning, gutting, first boiling, salting, second boiling and drying. In conclusion, processing affects the composition and nutritional quality of sea cucumbers. Vacuum cooking is an effective method for preserving nutrients in RTE products.
It is important to understand how different processing methods affect nutrient retention values in order to optimize production processes for maximum efficiency.