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JellyFish Wafers a Hit in China


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These could be served at a party. Just don't tell them what's in them.

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http://www.bradenton.com/331/story/307769.html

 

Panama City jellyfish getting popular in China

 

By TONY BRIDGES

The News Herald

 

Somewhere in China right now, there's a cannonball jellyfish from the waters off Panama City just waiting to be eaten.

 

Shrimpers trying to stay afloat during the off season have been scooping them out of the gulf by the thousands since September. The gelatinous masses have turned out to be a profitable commodity on the Asian market, once they are processed into crispy protein wafers.

 

"Cannonball is a whole new business to us," said 68-year-old shrimp boat operator Steve Davis. "We used to run from them when we were shrimping because they would fill up the nets. Now we run to 'em."

 

The Panama City operation is run by Roger Newton, owner of Gulf Jellyfish Inc. He was on the dock at the St. Andrews Marina recently, watching crews unload their cannonball catch.

 

He said he has been in the business about seven years, more of them good than not. The cannonballs, rounded, non-stinging jellyfish that can grow to nearly a foot wide, start showing up around September and usually stay about three months, though he never can be certain, Newton said.

"If I could play God, I wouldn't be in the fish business," he said.

 

Davis, from Apalachicola, said the cannonballs seem to move west along the gulf in the fall, with the shrimpers following them from Port St. Joe to Panama City. After 40 years of catching shrimp, he still is learning his way around jellyfish, Davis said.

 

"What we know about them wouldn't fill but about half a page in a one-page book," he said, with a wry grin.

 

But what he does know is that they are a good way to make money, especially at a time when Asian imports are keeping wholesale shrimp prices low. A day's work and about $70 in fuel can bring in $1,000 worth of jellyfish, he said.

 

Two trawlers were busy netting cannonball in the bay within sight of the marina, while another boat was tied up to the dock to unload. A large vacuum hose sucked the jellyfish off the boats sunken deck and delivered them to a conveyor belt, where a crewman with a shovel scooped them into plastic bins.

Though they don't sting, they are slimy, and their mucus-like covering will cause a burning sensation if it gets in your eyes, Davis said.

 

"You can't hardly pick them up. We were going to call that man that's got the dirtiest jobs on television," he said, refering to the Discovery Channel's Mike Rowe.

Another worker with a forklift loaded the bins into a pair of waiting tractor-trailers. The jellyfish go to a processing plant in Georgia, where they are dried out, and the salt is removed. Then, they are packed into 50,000-pound containers for shipping to China and Japan, Newton said.

He retrieved a plastic bag from his truck to show to curious visitors. Inside were three yellowish wafers about 5 inches across.

 

"They're all protein and taste like whatever you put on them," he said.

According to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the dried jellyfish are popular in Asia as salad toppers, or with cooked vegetables. A four-ounce serving contains 30 calories, eight grams of protein and 120 milligrams of sodium.

Researchers also believe the jellyfish might be useful in fighting certain types of arthritis because of the collagen they contain.

Information from: The News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com

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Here is anothe Jellyfish Story that is worth reading

 

http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/sample.cgi/jnp.../np060341b.html

 

Recently, economic and social damage caused by the mass appearance of jellyfish1 has frequently been reported. A typical incident involved damage to power plants located on the coasts, which draw seawater as coolant2 (both thermal and nuclear power plants). Jellyfish accumulate in the tunnel, reducing water flow and causing shutdowns of the plant. Furthermore, in recent years, huge numbers of Nemopilema nomurai, one of the largest jellyfish in the world (diameter of 2 m, weight of 200 kg at maximum), were caught by net fishing in gulf areas of the Sea of Japan. Years of mass appearances of Aurelia aurita, which is the most abundant species found in all the oceans, have been investigated in the Black Sea area.3

 

The effect of global warming may increase the growth and survival rates of jellyfish, and artificial structures built on the coasts may provide a favorable environment for their polyps. Moreover, indiscriminate fishing reduces the number of fish that feed on plankton communities.4 The removal of jellyfish has now become a necessary routine in gulf areas, ports, industrial facilities, and power plants along the coasts. As a result, a huge number of jellyfish bodies are collected and accumulate as waste. Although some trials have attempted to utilize jellyfish waste as fertilizer or food, no real solution has been found to cover the cost of removing jellyfish from the environment. Collagens can be extracted but are not very economically profitable because of their low prices.5 Although various proteins found in jellyfish, such as collagens, have attracted the attention of researchers,6 the existence of glyco-materials is poorly understood. In this report, we present the results of extraction of glyco-materials from jellyfish and the discovery of a new glycoprotein in the mucin family.

 

Qniumucin is a highly polymerized mucin with a well-defined repeating domain and a widely distributed molecular mass. Similarity in the structure is noted for quniumucin and antifreeze proteins19,20 (AFPs) extracted from insects, fish, and plants. One of the simplest structures of AFP to be artificially synthesized21 is the polymer with a tandem repeat of Thr(GalNAc-Gal)-Ala. Accordingly, a similar antifreeze function is also expected for qniumucin from jellyfish.

 

The mass production of qniumucin is possible because a large number of jellyfish can be obtained as waste. Various applications are expected for this substance considering the present commercial use of gastric mucin from porcine stomachs and mucin from bovine submaxillary glands, substitution for human mucus, carriers for drug delivery, components of artificial extracellular matrices, antibiotic reagents, moisture retainers for cosmetic materials, and food additives.

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