Fatty acid profile from crude extracts of local sea cucumber Stichopus chloronotus was determined using gas chromatography (GC) technique.
The extracts were prepared separately in methanol, ethanol, phosphate buffer saline (PBS), and distilled water as part of our study to look at the affinity of these solvents in extracting the lipid from sea cucumber. The PBS and distilled water extractions indicate water-soluble components, while the organic fractions are extracted in methanol and ethanol as organic solvents. Furthermore, water extraction is the conventional method practiced in Malaysia. In our analysis the C14:0 (myristic), C16:0 (palmitic), C18:0 (stearic), C18:2 (linoleic), C20:0 (arachidic), and C20:5 (eicosapentaenoic,EPA) were significantly different (p < 0.01) in the four solvent extractions. However, the PBS extraction contained a much higher percentage of EPA (25.69%) compared to 18.89% in ethanol, 7.84% in distilled water, and only 5.83% in methanol, and variances were significantly different (p < 0.01 ). On the other hand, C22:6 (docosahexaenoic acid or DHA) is much higher in water extraction (57.55%), in comparison to the others where only 3.63% in PBS and 1.20% in methanol, and this difference is significant at p < 0.01. No DHA was detected in ethanol extractions. Subsequently, C18:1 (oleic acid) was only detected in PBS (21.98%) and water extraction (7.50%). It is interesting that palmitic acid, C16:() was higher in methanol (20.82%) and ethanol (2.18%), while 12.55% was detected in PBS and only 2.20% in water extraction: and again this was significantly different at p < 0.01. Although our results have shown that all four solvents were different in terms of their ability to extract fatty acids, the major component for tissue repair was well preserved. Probably this is one of the important precocious steps when working with a delicate sea cucumber, in both experimental and/or at the preparative stages. Freshness of the sea cucumber samples is important when undertaking this type of experiment. Finally, we believe that the local sea cucumber S. chloronotus contains all the fatty acids required to play a potential active role in tissue repair.